KANSAS STATE PREVIEW: Mountaineer Rewind

Ed Zurga

This should be a somewhat similar deal as last week, with two exceptions...it's in Stillwater, and the Wildcats are bringing Tyler Lockett. The Cowboys can't afford to create any extra heroes for the opponent this week.

Last week it was the mad scientist and Squinky.

This week it's the old man with two weeks to plan.

Bill Snyder brings to town a version of Kansas State that we've not seen in quite a while. Not a tremendous threat on the ground, and Tyler Lockett carries the load through the air.

So far this season the Wildcats are 58%-42% run to pass. Against Texas they were 56%-44% run to pass, which is not much of a deviation given they played from behind the entire game.

When KState runs, there's a 40% chance it will be John Hubert. He's only averaging 15 carries/gm and 4.1 ypc (59.5 ypg). He was slightly less productive in Austin, going 12 for 41. If it's not Hubert, then its a 42% chance that it's Waters or Sams. When Sams is in the game, if you play anything but the run you've lost your mind, with the gifted rusher having thrown only 4 passes all season, and none against Texas.

Jake Waters is a capable passer, completing 67% of his attempts. Lockett is the primary target, pulling in 13 of Waters' 19 completions against UT. Out of 275 passing yards in Austin, 237 of it went to the gifted receiver who seems to have been in Manhattan forever. For the season, Lockett has accounted for 41% of the Wildcats' receptions (29/70). Only two other receivers have more than 10 (Tramaine Thompson-13...Curry Sexton-12).

Snyder's crew has always been effective on special teams, and this season is no different. Lockett is always dangerous on kick returns, although he is only averaging 23 yds per attempt with a long of 40. He has burned the Cowboys in the past. Tramaine Thompson has been very effective handling punt return duties, tallying 34 yds/return, with a long of 79 (not a TD). He returned his only attempt vs Texas for 40 yards. Mark Krause is averaging 42.1 yds/punt, while Jack Cantele is the team's second leading scorer on 3-3 FG's (long of 42) and 16-17 PAT's. On 23 kickoffs, he's only produced 6 touchbacks, so OSU will have some opportunities IF WE ALLOW KANSAS STATE TO SCORE. While punting 14 times this season, the Wildcats have only allowed 4 returns, albeit for 20 yds/ret.

Do I dare mention that part of OSU's game? To be fair, Kip Smith has been really solid outside of those two shanks, and kick coverage has been pretty good. Not gonna talk about the doink...

Kansas State is currently -5 in TOM (-3 vs Texas). The Cowboys are +3, but were -1 vs West Virginia. I had to look at this twice, but the Wildcats haven't recovered a fumble yet this season and have logged only 4 interceptions. For a team not taking the ball away, it is not good news that the OSU offense just handed over 3 TO's to the Mountaineers. You know the Cowboys, who hadn't surrendered an offensive turnover prior to Morgantown, will be focused on ball security this week.

Of the top 7 tacklers on defense, the only person who ISN'T a LB or DB is DE Ryan Mueller, who is 6th with 20 tackles, but leads the team in TFL at 5.5 and has 2 sacks. Still not big numbers. After that, the next closest d-lineman is Chaquil Reed with 13 tackles (2.5 TFL and 1 sack). As a team, they have logged 27 TFL's and 7 sacks (6 & 1 vs Texas). Comparatively speaking, OSU has gone 28-8 (5-1 vs WV). Of the top 7 tacklers for the Pokes, only 2 are DB's.

Logical thought would would dictate that OSU should attack the middle of the line in the running game and compliment with play-action passing, while KState should come out throwing.

Based on the circumstances, I really don't know where to go with this game. I would expect OSU to come out fired up and much sharper than last week at home. However, Snyder has had two weeks to prepare for a team that has definitely shown weaknesses, and once again he has a squad designed to win ugly if they win at all.

However, minus the soft coconut that is David Ash's head and Tyler Lockett's one man show, Texas might have demolished Kansas State. Two 2nd half turnovers derailed what might have been an upset in Austin.

Who knows...Kansas State isn't scary and OSU has been inconsistent offensively and are once again last in the conference in pass defense, although they are 4th in pass defense efficiency. I would only say this...if the Cowboys don't make fairly easy work of the Wildcats in Stillwater, AS A PRESEASON CONFERENCE FAVORITE SHOULD, the rest of the season could be a train wreck. There will be lots of pressure on Yurcich to call a better game, and also on Walsh to show better decision making and a better arm. The line needs to show they can exert their will on anything other than a 2nd grade flag football team. If KState spends a lot of time in OSU's backfield, it's gonna be a long day. The defense is facing another mobile passing QB in Waters, so they need to not lose containment like they did so often against WV. Penalties need to be limited.

The other part of this is Snyder. Texas couldn't stop me walking backwards, yet the Wildcats came out passing. Now they face the best front seven in the Big 12 against the run. Sams will probably start and they won't throw a pass in the first quarter.

Like I said...who knows...

GO POKES!!!


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