Know Your Enemy: Kansas State

Know Your Enemy: Kansas State
Photo: Peter G. Aiken

Photo: Peter G. Aiken

4-0 seems so much different than 3-1. A loss to Texas in Austin, while not utterly crippling, would have been pretty discouraging for the Cowboys, who are still searching for their place in this year’s Big 12 hierarchy. Texas players, coaches, and fans objected to the officiating, but a Big 12 supervisor said he was “generally pleased with how the game was worked.” Now OSU must look towards Bill Snyder and the Kansas State Wildcats.

K-State is 3-0 for the first time since 2012. However, conference play isn’t making it easy on the Wildcats: their next three opponents—OSU, TCU, and OU—are ranked and undefeated so far. The Wildcats are coming off a bye week so rest and injuries won’t play a huge factor. Quarterback Joe Hubener hasn’t thrown an interception in his 67 pass attempts so far this season. The former walk-on wasn’t even a starter in high school: he played receiver, defensive back, and tight end. Hubener has notched 585 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air so far. He’s also the team’s second leading rusher, earning 105 yards on the ground so far. K-State’s leading rusher is Tulsa Union product Justin Silmon, who has 210 yards through 3 games, breaking out for 110 in triple overtime against Lousiana Tech. Recievers Kody Cook, Deante Burton, and Dominique Heath are all nice targets for Hubener, combining for 4 touchdowns and 393 receiving yards.

The Wildcats have arguably one of the best front sevens in the Big 12. They have 12 sacks through just three games, and are allowing only 2.4 yards per carry. Mike Gundy thinks Kansas State could “very well be the best front we’ve seen up to this point.” The Wildcats’ defense ranks 1st in rushing defense, 2nd in scoring defense, and 3rd in total defense in the Big 12. They do, however, rank 7th in passing defense, which OSU will surely try to exploit.

After an almost disastrous triple-overtime thriller against Lousiana Tech, the Wildcats needed a bye week to rest and shore up their issues. Bill Snyder thinks they did exactly that: “We wanted to be able to get a little bit of rest and I think that was accomplished. We put a great deal of attention on some of the issues we’ve had. A substantial amount of improvement has been made in those areas.” Will the Cowboys be riding high after their emotional victory, or will Snyder and the Wildcats get the best of the Cowboys in Stillwater?

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