With an undefeated season still intact, the Kansas State Wildcats turn their attention to the Golden Knights of Central Florida on Saturday at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats will look to slow down a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback in freshman Jeff Godfrey. Godfrey has thrown for over 300 yards and touchdown, along with rushing for just over 100 yards and two scores for Central Florida on the young season. He’s the type of quarterback that Head Coach Bill Snyder would love to have in Manhattan, having coached the likes of past great Wildcat signal callers Michael Bishop and Ell Roberson. Kansas State’s defense will attempt to contain the young freshman in the pocket and force some quick decisions that could hopefully lead to a turnover or two. Last week at North Carolina State, the Knights committed five turnovers, yet despite that, rallied late in the fourth quarter to only lose 28-21. The Wildcat defense hasn’t shown great ability up to this point in the season to consistently slow down opposing offenses, either on the ground or through the air. Unless this under-achieving unit can begin to put some pieces of the puzzle together this week, look for Central Florida to hang around and keep the game closer than it should be.
On offense, the Wildcats will continue to move the ball on the ground with All-American candidate RB Daniel Thomas. Thomas has led this ground attack that ranks 11th nationally at over 260 yards per game and at times can look nearly unstoppable. Central Florida will look to counter by bringing an extra player or two up to the line in an attempt to slow Thomas down and force Kansas State into long yardage situations. This would play into the Knights strength, as their secondary ranks 12th in the nation, allowing only 133 yards per game. This contest could very well come down to Wildcat quarterback Carson Coffman’s ability to avoid the costly turnover, which has plagued him on a couple of occasions already this year. Coffman will be asked to simply manage the game and let his star running back control it.
With the highly-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers coming to Manhattan in a couple of weeks, this Central Florida contest had all the makings of a trap game, but not anymore. After defeating the likes of UCLA and Iowa State, the Wildcats should prepare for the Knights as their stiffest test yet. If Godfrey is allowed to escape from the pocket and make plays with his feet, this “bend but don’t break” Wildcat defense could be in for a long afternoon. While on the other side of the ball, if the Knights can successfully put Kansas State in long passing situations by slowing Thomas and the Wildcat running attack, then this game could be a lot closer than originally expected. Having said all that, look for Thomas to wear Central Florida down late in the game. The Knight’s front seven has quickness but isn’t very big and shouldn’t present much of a challenge even if they put eight or nine in the box in an attempt to slow down the big K-State back. Finally, the capacity crowd on Saturday will be loud, so look for the Central Florida freshman quarterback to make just enough mistakes for Kansas State to capitalize on and move the Wildcats to 4-0 on the year.
Kansas State – 27
Central Florida – 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.