Coming off an impressive 31-22 victory over UCLA last week, the Kansas State Wildcats look to build on that effort against the Missouri State Bears this Saturday at The Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Cats, led by running back and All-American candidate Daniel Thomas, used a punishing ground game to wear down the Bruins and put the game away in the final minute. Conversely, the passing game was for the most part, non-existent. Against Missouri State this weekend that should change as the Bears surrendered over 300 yards through the air last week in a 31-9 victory over Eastern Kentucky.
K-State’s Legendary Head Coach Bill Snyder is known for an extensive playbook which had to be opened up somewhat against UCLA. Coach Snyder should be able to scale that back this week to a certain extent and concentrate on getting QB Carson Coffman more comfortable in the pocket in passing situations. Thomas will get his share of carries, but if the Wildcats can build a lead in the first half, look for reserve RB William Powell to see the field more and give Thomas a rest. But again, while the running game should roll along, this week should be about working out the kinks in the Wildcat air attack. Coffman made mistakes against the Bruins last week, including a fumbled snap which led to an easy UCLA touchdown one play later. The Cats have a strong, yet underrated group of wide receivers, and it will be up to Coffman to regain the confidence necessary to get the ball to them. This is the week to do it, as the Wildcats will start Big 12 play next Saturday against Iowa State and the offense has to have more balance if they’re going to have any success this year.
Defensively, look for the Wildcats to pick up where they left off last weekend with a strong pass rush led by DE Brandon Harold. Harold was disruptive against the Bruins and will need to put that same kind of pressure on Bears senior QB Cody Kirby, who has accounted for over 6,000 yards and 60 touchdowns in his career at MSU. On the ground, the Bears did have some success last week featuring an offensive line with plenty of size and athletic ability. But this week is a different story, as K-State will pack the line and force Missouri State to go to the air and make a somewhat “untested” Bear wide receiving corps beat them. On special teams, Kansas State saw the emergence of sophomore PK Anthony Cantele, who made his only field goal attempt of 35 yards and consistently sent his kickoffs into the end zone. Where the Cats had problems was tackling on kickoffs, so expected Coach Snyder to have addressed that in practice this week.
On paper, the Wildcats should be able to roll this weekend and win comfortably against the under-sized Bears. But stranger things can happen, just ask the University of Kansas Jayhawks after their embarrassing loss to North Dakota State, a co-member with MSU in the Division 1-AA Missouri Valley Conference. Consider that a wake-up call for Kansas State and what could have been considered a “letdown” game will not happen. Bill Snyder will make sure of that.
Kansas State – 38
Missouri State – 13
About the Author
Written by Chad Craghead
A 1988 graduate from Wichita State University, Chad has followed WSU as well as Kansas State athletics for over 30 years, along with being a lifelong Boston Red Sox and L.A./St. Louis Rams fan.