What we’ve learned so far about K-State

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Junior quarterback Joe Hubener looks for receivers during the Louisiana Tech football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Sep. 19, 2015. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

The Wildcats are 3-0, as the college football season reaches the quarter pole. So, what have we learned about this team that entered the season with questions all over the place?

1. Joe Hubener is the guy and will be the guy from here on out

After the crazy quarterback race that lasted from the spring into fall camps, it was the biggest question being asked. Now, we have the answer in Joe Hubener. Now Hubener isn’t anywhere close to Michigan State’s Connor Cook or USC’s Cody Kessler, but he’s what K-State has as of right now; with true freshman Alex Delton sitting out with a knee injury and only one other QB sitting on the depth chart, it’s the Joe Hubener show from here on out.

2. The Big 12 will be tougher than anticipated

We knew going into the season that the Big 12 would be tough, especially with the death march that the Wildcats begin to encounter next week starting at Oklahoma State. In the time that K-State has become 3-0, a few other teams have put some impressive wins together as well. West Virginia is currently undefeated and so is Texas Tech, who recently gave the Big 12 its second straight win in as many weeks over an SEC school by defeating Arkansas Saturday. So, don’t be surprised if the apparent “Death March” for the Wildcats is extended a few weeks.

3. The secondary play will determine how this season goes

Entering next week’s conference opener, the Wildcats are currently without All-Big 12 standout senior safety Dante Barnett who is out with an injured shoulder. The secondary has shifted around with guys like senior safety Nate Jackson and sophomore safety Kaleb Prewett getting extended playing time.

Last Saturday the Louisiana Tech offense led by Florida transfer Jeff Driskel put up over 300 yards passing against this secondary. With TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield coming to Manhattan over the next few weeks, if that trend continues the Wildcats will be entering the month of November facing an uphill climb.

4. The future is now

They’re young, unproven and the future of K-State football. Redshirt freshman running back Justin Silmon, sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee and redshirt freshman wide receiver Dominique Heath have made a huge impact with their plays this season, and Wildcat fans should be happy they will be around for a few more seasons. Silmon’s impact on a struggling offense has grown from the season opening game against South Dakota to this past weekend against Louisiana Tech where he gained 114 yards on the ground, making him the first K-State running back to do so since John Hubert’s last game in the 2013 season. Dominique Heath has stepped up in the return game along with contributions as a receiver.

However, the biggest impact may be from sophomore Elijah Lee, whose play has improved each game. Lee had his best game yet this past weekend against Louisiana Tech. With 12 tackles and two sacks, including a game-saving sack of the Bulldogs’ QB, Lee along with the other young Wildcats give this team a bright future.

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