Week 9: Texas at Kansas State

    Texas (3-4) at Kansas State (5-1) Oct. 25, 12:00, ESPN Here’s The Deal: Now Kansas State has its moment to shine. After beating Oklahoma, and with the

    October 24, 2014

    Texas (3-4) at Kansas State (5-1) Oct. 25, 12:00, ESPN 

    Here’s The Deal: Now Kansas State has its moment to shine. After beating Oklahoma, and with the lone loss to Auburn, there’s a chance for the Wildcats to start making lots and lots of noise in the playoff race if they can take care of business at home against Texas and Oklahoma State before going into the brutal finishing kick. With three road games in the final four – going to TCU, West Virginia and Baylor – any loss in The Family Stadium would probably be a deathblow to any title chances. But KSU is playing great with the offense efficient and effective and the run defense doing a phenomenal job. This team is the real deal, but that all changes if it can’t get by a struggling, but improving, Texas. 

    The Longhorns are all about 2015, needing to use the rest of this year to gear up and prepare for when Charlie Strong should have more of his guys in the right spots, but that doesn’t mean a bowl appearance would be anything to blow off. It’s been a rough year for the offense, and the defense went bye-bye last week against Iowa State, but QB Tyrone Swoopes is improving and close calls against both UCLA and Oklahoma were relatively encouraging. Consistency is the big problem with the team yet to play the same game two weeks in a row, but again, this is a feeling out process in a transition year. A win over a hot Kansas State team, though, would quickly change the realistic goals for the second half of the season. 

    Just the 15th time the two Big 12ers have met, the Longhorns won last year – and the first showdown in 1913 – but lost the previous four meetings going back to 2003. 

    Why Texas Might Win: The secondary has been terrific – at least until last week. Even when the pass defense has struggled, it makes up for the problems with big plays coming up with two picks last week despite allowing 345 yards and three scores to Iowa State. Kansas State doesn’t have a big-time passing game, but it pushes the ball deep and it’s ultra-efficient, while the Longhorns are 12th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. On the other side, the Longhorns appear to have found something with the improvement of Swoopes over the last two games – they aren’t the offensive pushovers they were early in the year. 

    Why Kansas State Might Win: There’s a ton of talent on the Longhorn defensive front, but it’s struggling against the teams that can run – for the most part. It did a decent job against Oklahoma, but had allowed more than 200 yards against BYU, UCLA and Baylor while giving up four touchdown runs over the last three weeks. The Kansas State ground game stalled a bit too much against Oklahoma, and it didn’t work against Auburn, but it’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the year with 19 touchdowns – it’s effective when it has to be. The Wildcat run defense has been terrific, not allowing 200 yards in any game and giving up just four touchdowns – Texas is going to have to throw to win. 

    Who To Watch Out For: When will it be time to start giving some love and respect to Kansas State QB Jake Waters? He’s not going to come within 50 miles of the All-Big 12 team with Bryce Petty, Trevone Boykin and Bryce Petty coming up with huge seasons, but he leads the Wildcats in rushing – 371 yards and seven scores – and he’s throwing well, completing 65% of his passes for 1,431 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions. He won’t be a dangerous rushing threat, and he’s not going to bomb away for 400 yards, but he’s been over 200 yards in every game and has yet to throw an interception in Big 12 play. Last year he threw for 275 yards and ran for 26 yards and a score in the loss to Texas, but he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. This time around, he’s in more command of the attack. 

    What’s Going To Happen: Kansas State will come up with a strong defensive effort and will win the turnover margin by at least two. Waters and the offense will take control early and will coast through the second half. 

    Prediction: Kansas State 34 … Texas 20 
    Line: Kansas State -10 o/u: 49 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Dumb and Dumber To – 1: Manhattan Love Story … 3 

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