Breaking Down the Horns
Try and find a weakness on the Texas Longhorns depth chart. It's almost impossible, as the No. 4-ranked team in the country is simply loaded with playmakers.
Texas (9-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12 Conference) comes into Bill Snyder Family Stadium with one of the most balanced attacks in the country, and it will be on display Saturday night when the Wildcats (6-4, 3-3 Big 12) play host to the Longhorns at 7 p.m. The offense puts up 39.2 points per game, which is fifth in the nation, and it is third in the conference with 409.7 yards per game.
Texas' defense is also extremely talented. The Longhorns have the second best rush defense in the country, allowing only 45.1 yards rushing per game. The defense has also only allowed three rushing touchdowns all season.
The defense isn't completely flawless, and it suffers in pass defense. During Big 12 play, the Longhorns are last in the conference in pass defense, allowing 295.8 yards per game.
Freshman quarterback Colt McCoy has taken over as the leader of the team after Vince Young went to the National Football League last year. He has thrown for 2,051 yards this year and has 27 touchdowns. He is also second in the country in pass efficiency.
K-State football coach Ron Prince said McCoy is one of the best quarterbacks the Wildcats have faced this season, but one reason for his success is because of the numerous threats he has to throw and hand the ball off to.
"He has a really fine option in No. 4 (wide receiver Limas Sweed). I don't know if we faced someone quite like this wide receiver. It puts you in a dilemma. If you try to do too many things to double-cover him, their running game is significant enough to really hurt you.
Between the quarterback being very accurate and poised, having an option that most people can't defend one-on-one, and a running game that can hurt you if you don't have eight people in the box, that explains why this team is where they are statistically."
Sweed averages 71 yards receiving per game during conference play, and he has 10 touchdowns through 10 games.
The running back tandem of Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young average a combined 117.3 yards per game.
Together, they have punched the ball into the endzone nine times. Charles alone is third in the conference with his 75.3 yards on the ground per game.
"Texas' offense is really good. After watching them on film, they deserve all the props and pubs that they're getting," defensive tackle Quintin Echols said.
"It's just up to us as a defense to work hard in practice all week and put a game plan together to stop them. I don't think anybody on our team is intimidated by them. We are a big-time team, and it's time for us to show that."
The defense is anchored by defensive end Tim Crowder, who is second in sacks with 5.5 during conference play. He is third in the Big 12 with 12 tackles for loss and he also has added 15 quarterback pressures.
"They have a defensive end, No. 80 (Crowder), who is in an elite nature. By himself, he could wreck the game," Prince said. "They've got a number of players like this on the roster. This team is very impressive on tape, very well coached."
Most of those other game changers are in the secondary.
Cornerback Aaron Ross leads this experienced bunch, and he is tied for first during conference play with his four interceptions. The two safeties are twin brothers Michael and Marcus Griffin. Michael is the better player statistically, and he is right behind Ross with his three interceptions during Big 12 play. He also averages 7.2 tackles per game, which is the sixth best in the conference among defensive backs.
"After watching them on tape, I definitely think they are some of the biggest and strongest guys we've faced all year," offensive lineman Logan Robinson said.
"We've played teams that have really good defensive ends or a really good linebacker, but this is a good team all around. They've got good players at every position and it's just something that we have to concentrate on for our practices and for the game."
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