Game-by-game predictions for K-State football

D.J. Reed, sophomore defensive back, celebrates after a tackle against KU during the Wildcats game at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 26, 2016. (File photo by Evert Nelson | Collegian Media Group)

Another football season is upon us, and here are some predictions about how the Kansas State Wildcats will do this year.

Sept. 2: University of Central Arkansas

K-State starts off its season with a bang against Central Arkansas. The Wildcats dominate from the opening kickoff and never look back. Offense and special teams will find a way to get touchdowns to go along with a shutout from the defense.

Final score: K-State: 55, Central Arkansas: 0

Bold prediction: Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon each have over 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Sept. 9: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

In week two, K-State will look a little more human, but will have no problem with UNC Charlotte. The defense allows its first points of the year, but it won’t matter as Jesse Ertz leads the Wildcat offense to an easy win.

Final score: K-State: 41, UNC Charlotte: 10

Bold prediction: Reggie Walker records three sacks.

Sept. 12: Vanderbilt University

K-State gets its first season test and first road test all in one. The Vanderbilt Commodores are a big step up from their previous two games, but Bill Snyder will have his Wildcats ready. Vanderbilt should be 2-0 coming into the game, but will go home 2-1. Byron Pringle puts on a superstar performance, electrifying on both offense and special teams. Vanderbilt scores late to keep it close, but the Wildcats finish non-conference play 3-0.

Final score: K-State: 27, Vanderbilt: 21

Bold prediction: Pringle racks up over 150 receiving yards to go along with over 100 return yards.

Sept. 30: Baylor University

Matt Rhule takes over at Baylor following the turmoil in the Art Briles era. Rhule’s team shows progress, but will take a few years to get things rolling. Baylor’s offense will be good, but not as good as the K-State defense. Barnes, much like last year, will have a great day for the Wildcats, leading the team to a 1-0 start in conference play.

Final score: K-State: 35, Baylor: 17

Bold prediction: Barnes finds the end zone three times on the ground and once through the air.

Oct. 7: University of Texas at Austin

Charlie Strong is out in Austin, Texas, and Tom Herman is in. Herman, like at Houston, will find success with the Texas Longhorns, but it will take a few years before he can bring the Longhorns to the national pedestal. Texas lost All-American running back D’Onta Foreman, but quarterback Shane Buechele is gearing up for a big sophomore season. The K-State secondary will give Buechele a big test early in the season. The Wildcat offense will turn its wheels a few times, but put up plenty of points to earn the victory.

Final score: K-State: 31, Texas: 21

Bold prediction: The Wildcat defense picks off Buechele four times.

Oct. 14: Texas Christian University

With the Oklahoma Sooners waiting next week, some could call this a trap game. Bill Snyder will have his team ready to play against a well-coached Gary Patterson team. Patterson, a former assistant coach under Snyder, will have a few wrinkles himself that will give the Wildcats a few problems, but the apprentice will not be able to out-coach the teacher this time. Ertz leads the Wildcat offense to victory with a late touchdown to ice the game.

Final score: K-State: 48, TCU: 34

Bold prediction: Ertz puts himself in the national spotlight with a six-touchdown game.

Oct. 21: University of Oklahoma

If the Wildcats want to get to the Big 12 Championship game, getting a win against the Oklahoma Sooners would play a large part in accomplishing that goal. K-State won’t have to deal with the two-headed attack of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, or the likes of receiver Dede Westbrook, but quarterback Baker Mayfield is back, and that could be all the Sooners need. A new face will be on the OU sideline as Lincoln Reilly takes over for Bob Stoops after his retirement. With all that said, the Wildcats will beat the Sooners in Manhattan for the first time since 1996.

Final score: K-State: 34, OU: 21

Bold prediction: The Wildcat defense holds Mayfield to under 300 total yards and two touchdowns.

Oct. 28: University of Kansas

I will give credit where credit is due: David Beaty has his Kansas Jayhawks improving year by year. After a first year with no wins, Beaty’s team won two games last year. Are the Jayhawks going to make it to a bowl game? Absolutely not. But is Beaty’s team going to compete in a lot more games this year? Probably. Regardless of what kind of year KU has, there’s no getting around the fact that the Wildcats will embarrass the Jayhawks, and KU will be our “little brother” for at least one more year.

Final score: K-State: 52, KU: 7

Bold prediction: K-State dominates special teams, returning a punt and kick for a touchdown.

Nov. 4: Texas Tech University

Patrick Mahomes has moved on to bigger and better things, leaving a big hole in the TTU Red Raider offense. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense will still be high-flying, but defense will yet again be a big letdown for the Red Raiders. K-State will own the state of Texas for back-to-back years.

Final score: K-State: 44, TTU: 20

Bold prediction: D.J. Reed has two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown for the second straight year against TTU.

Nov. 11: West Virginia University

Last year in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Wildcats let one get away, falling 17-16. K-State will use that as motivation this year and come out firing on all cylinders. Transfer quarterback Will Grier isn’t able to finish the game, as the Wildcat defense forces Will to go along with a high-powered offense.

Final score: K-State: 45, WVU: 14

Bold prediction: The K-State defense collects five sacks as a team and forces four turnovers.

Nov. 18: Oklahoma State University

OU is heads. OSU is tails. Flip a coin, and that is the biggest game of the year for K-State. Whenever these two teams get together in Stillwater, Oklahoma, it is always a close ballgame. The OSU Cowboys have won the last five matchups in Stillwater, but each game has been a dogfight, with final scores being 36-34, 33-29, 52-45, 41-39 and 38-34. This will be another close game, but again Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Mike Gundy’s mullet will be too much for the Wildcats, ending their quest for a perfect season.

Final score: K-State: 35, OSU: 38

Bold prediction: Ertz throws for two touchdowns and rushes for three.

Nov. 25: Iowa State University

On Senior Day, the Wildcats will look to send the seniors out in style against ISU and Matt Campbell, who is in his second year as head coach of the Cyclones. The last time these two teams met, the Wildcats needed a miracle to win and got one, winning on a last-second field goal by Jack Cantele. This year, Wildcat fans won’t need to hold their breath for nearly as long, as the Wildcats will have no problem with the Cyclones.

Final score: K-State: 45, ISU: 13

Bold prediction: Matthew McCrane booms a field goal of over 55 yards.

In the end, the Wildcats will finish a terrific season 11-1. This is only a prediction, however. Who knows what could really happen?