After almost overcoming ridiculous adversity last weekend in Stillwater, K-State is looking to stir up a little home cooking as they welcome the second ranked TCU Horned Frogs for their first home conference game of the season.
The Wildcats, led by senior quarterback turned wide receiver turned fifth-string quarterback Kody Cook almost pulled off the upset against No. 20 Oklahoma State by the score of 34-36.
In Manhattan these days, Bill Snyder Family Stadium has started to look more like a hospital than a football stadium will the amount of injuries the Wildcats have had to deal with.
Those injuries led to Cook taking over the mantle after starter Joe Hubener left on what appeared to be a rough hit to the head.
Needless to say, the direness of the amount of injuries on both sides of the ball has left a very seasoned coaching staff grasping at straws for another situation in their career similar to this one.
“I cannot say that I have,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said of having seen any situation like this in his career. “I do not know if it has happened any place, but we have certainly set the standard for it, have we not?”
That injury bug goes further than just at the quarterback position. K-State has had several wide receivers go down in a game this season in addition to a kicker, a safety and possibly a cornerback.
With the influx of injuries, the Wildcats seem prepared to dip into their young talent even more with 24 total freshman and sophomores having seen playing time in the first four games to help Snyder find answers to compete with a very good TCU team.
“Well, we have worked a number of young guys that are freshmen – first year freshmen – into our team periods,” Snyder said. “So, consequently, we have prepared guys if indeed we were to have some of the issues that we are having right now. It is certainly a possibility. We have a number of guys on both sides of the ball prepared if we have to.”
They’ll have to be prepared as TCU will be the highest ranked opponent that K-State has seen in Manhattan since No. 2 Oklahoma in 2004.
K-State under Snyder has not had much luck against teams of that caliber, racking up an 0-3 record against top-two opponents in 24 seasons.
According to K-State, however, the daunting challenge that awaits them seems more like an opportunity and less like a threat.
“You want to get into these types of games because you want to prove yourself,” Hubener said. “You cannot prove yourself playing against the 122nd ranked team, you need these opportunities against quality programs where you can come out and shock the world. If we come in and get an upset on Saturday, then that is huge and it really says something about this team. We want these type of opportunities.”
TCU is an offensive powerhouse, having a quarterback who ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards in Trevone Boykin, and a wide receiver who ranks second in the nation in receiving yards in Josh Doctson.
K-State fans will also remember Aaron Green who lit up the Wildcats last season in Fort Worth, running for 171 yards and one touchdown including a backbreaking 65 yard touchdown run after K-State had whittled the Frogs lead down to two possessions. Green has racked up 504 yards and six touchdowns so far this season.
“Yesterday we watched a lot of film on them and saw what kind of talent they have around the ball,” junior linebacker Will Davis said. “We had a good practice yesterday defensively, so we had a good start to the week and things are looking good. It is just a matter of getting better and looking to improve.”
K-State’s defense, though, has been fairly impressive, especially with ranking third in the country in stopping the run but 116th in defending the pass, averaging out to 51st total in the nation.
This K-State defense will have it’s hands full with everything TCU has to offer, but Wildcat players expect an edge from the raucous fans that will pack Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday.
“We just have to prepare well this week, and they are coming into our home stadium,” sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee said. “We always have that advantage. Maybe the home field advantage will knock off some of those big-time plays because they will not be able to communicate as well and they will not be on the same page at times.”
Kickoff between TCU and the Wildcats is set for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.