Entering the last game of the nonconference schedule, the Wildcats face another up-tempo foe in Louisiana Tech, but it’s the K-State offense that might be one of the biggest questions.
With their defense among the nation’s best, especially in rushing defense, the offense has yet to match the efficiency of the defense. The Wildcats rank 65th in offensive efficiency with a 52.3 rating while the defense sits at 76.9. Although junior quarterback Joe Hubener said he is pleased with the effort from special teams, he feels that when it comes to red zone chances the Wildcats should be doing much more.
“As far as red zone offense, that is definitely something that we need to improve,” Hubener said. “We are kicking way too many field goals. We are making them, and our kickers are doing a great job. What has set us back has been some penalties that have hurt us in the red zone. We get down in there and we have a penalty and that just makes it that much harder. Once you get in there, it is tight with that little field position to work with.”
One thing that has worked on offense is the running game. Last week against UTSA, the Wildcats complied over 175 yards of rushing on offense. The trio of Justin Silmon, Dalvin Warmack and Winston Dimel combined for 98 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. 40 of those yards came from Silmon, who saw significant playing time.
“He is doing well,” head coach Bill Snyder said, “Like I said last week, there are things to become a complete player that he has to do, but he is doing as well, if not better, than anyone else that we have. He is making progress. He learns well. He played well. Yeah, he is doing fine.”
On the other side of the football, the Wildcat rush defense ranks eighth in the country, holding opponents to 49 yards on the ground per contest so far in 2015.
That will be tested as they go up against Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon who ranks eighth in the nation in rushing with 274 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
“Their running back, Dixon, has half a million yards or whatever it is,” Snyder said. “Obviously, he is a very, very fine player. He can make that cut and make you miss, so getting him out in space makes him a difficult guy to tackle, and he can run hard to go along with it. As we played last week, they are kind of an upperclassmen-filled team. They got a couple of freshmen that will be in starting roles, but by in large, they are a junior and senior-laden team. So, they have experience in the system.”
The Wildcats lead the all time series with the Bulldogs with a 2-1 advantage. The last time these two teams met was 2001, and K-State won 40-7. The last victory by the Bulldogs was a 31-28 triumph back in 1988.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.