K-State offense aims to improve against Florida Atlantic

Then-junior running back Charles Jones carries the ball on Nov. 14, 2015, at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (File Photo by Rodney Dimick | The Collegian)

Kansas State’s last 100-yard rusher was quarterback Joe Hubener, last season against Baylor in week 10. The game before that, against Texas, was the last time a K-State running back recorded 100 yards in a game.

The opportunity for the Wildcats to improve their rushing attack, and their offense as a whole, appears to be Saturday against Florida Atlantic. The Owls have struggled on defense this year especially in their last game, a 38-10 loss to Miami.

K-State should be excited to face a team that allows 500 yards of offense a game, 211 of those on the ground.

Sophomore running back Justin Silmon said he’s disappointed in the performance against Stanford, but expects improvement this week.

“It was a struggle,” Silmon said. “We didn’t score till the fourth quarter. It just wasn’t clean. We played hard, but we didn’t play to the best of our abilities. I’m proud of everybody, and we’ll get it fixed.”

The struggle in the running game wasn’t as much on short yardage situations but on the inability to break off long runs. Silmon thinks if the Wildcats can start executing better, they can make some big plays.

“I feel like if we execute and we run hard, we can break some big runs against whoever we play,” Silmon said. “So it’s up to us to make the best of our opportunities.”

The Owls struggle on defense but have some weapons on offense the Wildcats will need to be aware of. Sophomore quarterback Jason Driskel leads the Owl offense. If his name sounds familiar, its because his brother, former Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel, took the Wildcats into triple overtime a year ago.

Head coach Bill Snyder is aware of Jason’s abilities.

“Last year we were able to play against his brother (Jeff), and he is a very fine quarterback,” Snyder said. “(Jason) presents some problems because he is a good scrambler as well. He is a good-sized young guy, good strength, large lower body, and he can stay on his feet.”

Jason isn’t the only talented player Florida Atlantic boasts, junior running back Gregory Howell Jr. has 203 yards on the ground and is capable of breaking a big run, as he had one for 38 yards against Miami. And junior wide receiver Kalib Woods is a talented receiver; he recorded 121 yards against Miami.

Senior linebacker Charmeachealle Moore said the players are aware of the Owls’ weapons.

“They have weapons,” Moore said. “Their quarterback is good, their running back is good, their wide receivers are good; you can’t sleep on ’em. Like coach said, we’ve got to be assignment sound and we can’t give up big plays. That’s what beat us last game so we’ve got to eliminate giving up big plays.”

K-State and Florida Atlantic will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

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