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Q&A With The Enemy - Kansas State

I spoke with Jon Morse of Bring On The Cats, SB Nation's Kansas State site, about the Wildcats this year and if he thinks The Wizard can pull a win out this weekend in Stillwater.

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

1) Who is Joe Hubener? What do you know about him as a quarterback after the first few games and why should OSU be scared? He hasn't thrown an interception yet, does that streak continue?

Well, we sure hope so. Hubener, as you're surely aware, is a walk-on who had never started a ga--

Excuse me. Half my staff are now glaring at me and fingering their holsters.

The truth is that while Hubener had never started a game at quarterback prior to San Antonio, he played plenty of quarterback in high school and had seen quite a bit of action backing up Jake Waters last year. Hubener was not the starting quarterback in high school because he was too good an athlete to be wasted there, which is a statement which doesn't make sense to folks who assume your quarterback is the best player on the field. Hubener WAS the best player at Cheney; his coaches just felt he was more of a weapon at wideout.

As for what he is now, he's a decent runner -- not Collin Klein, but certainly reminiscent of him at times. Of course, with K-State's QB1 and QB3 out with injuries, he's not getting as may designed running plays now. As a passer, he fires lasers, and sometimes his receivers have trouble hanging on to them. But he's thrown numerous balls this year that zipped right through defenders, and the fact that he's not yet been picked off is sort of a clue that it's deliberate.

In fact, he's hardly had any passes broken up by defenders, period. His incompletions have mostly been either drops or balls that he's thrown at the receivers' feet. He needs to work on his elevation, especially on short passes. Long passes don't seem to be any problem at all. He makes good decisions, reads through his progressions very quickly and intelligently. He's not an All-American quarterback, but there's a segment of the Wildcat fanbase who will tell you he could be -- if not for the problems at receiver and on the offensive line.

2) What is the KSU identity this year? How good is this team?

We have absolutely no idea yet. Oklahoma State will be our first real data point. Early in the season, everything was a seeming disaster, despite winning the first two games by a combined score of 64-3. The running game was simply not working, the offensive line looked really bad, and the receivers couldn't catch Ebola in Liberia. But things actually improved on each of those fronts even as the competition got tougher. Part of that was coaching decisions, and I'll get to that in a moment. Part of it was just growth.

3) Who is the guy to watch on each side of the ball?

Offensively, the unsung hero so far has been walk-on running back Justin Silmon. He was used sparingly in the first two games, largely because according to Bill Snyder there were "technical issues preventing him" from being the featured back. We suspect he's worked those out, because Silmon got the vast majority of the carries against Louisiana Tech and became K-State's first 100-yard rusher since John Hubert rolled over Michigan in the 2013 BW3 Bowl.

There are several guys to watch out for on defense. Travis Britz is a demon on the defensive line. Elijah Lee and Will Davis have been rock-solid in the middle, and both of them have created havoc in opposition backfields this season. Cornerback Danzel McDaniel will lay a receiver out. Cleanly.

4) After needing three overtimes to beat LA Tech, but beat UTSA 30-3, what do you know about this team?

They're resilient. I think K-State was damaged during the Louisiana Tech game because the defensive scheme was "stop Kenneth Dixon", which left Jeff Driskel free to beat himself. It took sixty minutes and two overtimes for it to finally happen, but it did; K-State won that game because in the third overtime Driskel threw four passes and not one of them was catchable. The offensive staff has also been maddening, but they seem to have started to figure out what they're working with and making adjustments.

5) Is the run defense actually good or just a product of playing some bad teams?

It's good. It's really good. As I noted, Driskel was allowed to roam free somewhat, but Dixon IS a good back, and he was completely shut down except for one play in which he broke free for 35 yards.

6) ESPN has OSU at a 8.5 point favorite and an O/U of 50. What's your prediction on the game? Does KSU win for the first time in Stillwater since 1999?

God, I have no idea. As you can tell from everything I've said, this week is actually the turning point of the season. I've been saying for a couple of weeks now that this team looks like it will either go 10-2 or 5-7. K-State could shred the Cowboys. They could get blown out. It could be close. We just don't know yet, and this is the date we've had circled for several months now. If you had to ask me to pick the game, I'd take the Cowboys, although the bye week will probably at least give K-State the chance to keep it close. But -- spoiler alert -- I ain't betting on this one. (Unless it's to take the over.)