The big question for Kansas State fans this week is who will be behind center for tomorrow’s contest against the Missouri Tigers. Sophomore QB Collin Klein got a surprise start last week and performed very well in leading the Wildcats to an easy conference win over the Texas Longhorns. Playing in place of injured senior QB Carson Coffman, Klein ran the option well in accumulating over 120 yards rushing and scoring two touchdowns. What he didn’t do was throw the ball, attempting only four passes for nine yards. With that in mind, Head Coach Bill Snyder will have to decide who to call on this week as the Wildcats look to get back above .500 in the Big 12 and solidify their bowl chances with a seventh victory of the year.
If Snyder turns to Coffman, the Wildcats will present a more balanced offensive attack, despite losing two wide receivers to injury. But whether it’s Coffman or Klein, Kansas State will still rely heavily on senior running back Daniel Thomas. Thomas is second in the Big 12 and seventh in the nation in rushing at over 122 yards per game. The Wildcat’s face a Missouri defense that ranks eighth in the conference against the run allowing 148 yards per game, yet have only allowed seven touchdowns which is tied for fewest in the league. Where this game could be decided may be in the red zone, as the Wildcats have had success scoring on 28 of 30 opportunities which ranks second in the Big 12. Conversely, the Tiger’s defense is quite stingy inside the 20 yard line, having only allowed 14 scores on 25 opportunities while forcing five turnovers.
Missouri is led on defense by sophomore DE Aldon Smith. Smith and the rest of the Tiger D-line will be called upon to bottle up Thomas and the Wildcat running game, regardless of who’s at quarterback. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the last time they faced a running attack like Kansas State’s, they gave up 328 yards on 47 attempts to Nebraska’s Roy Helu, Jr. In fact, Missouri’s defense hasn’t been the same since their last victory, a 36-27 win over Oklahoma almost three weeks ago. If the Wildcats start the more mobile Klein at quarterback, the question becomes will they attack the Missouri defense in the same way as they went after Texas, which was primarily on the ground? Or will Snyder turn to Coffman, who seems to have recovered from a nagging ankle injury, and try to be more balanced on offense? Either way, the Wildcats could still be in for a long day if they can’t slow Missouri’s high-powered offense, which is looking to get back on track after an “off-day” last week against Texas Tech. Bottom line, it’s Senior Day in Columbia and the Wildcat’s haven’t had much success on the road this year, with the exception of a 59-7 blowout win over the hapless Kansas Jayhawks.
Missouri – 42
Kansas State – 27
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.