The Kansas State football team is about to have its biggest test of the season with a Tennessee road matchup against Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt has gotten off to a 2-0 start this year. In week one, the Commodores won 28-6 on the road at Middle Tennessee State, and last week they shut out Alabama A&M at home 42-0.
One player the Wildcat defense will definitely be focused on is junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur. He has thrown seven touchdowns this year to go along with zero interceptions. Shurmur has also been incredibly accurate, completing 35 of his 46 passing attempts, a 76.1 percent completion rate.
Head K-State football coach Bill Snyder has been impressed with Shurmur this year.
“Shurmur is a young guy that really plays within himself, I think, quite well,” Snyder said in K-State’s weekly press conference. “He is accurate; he can put the ball where it needs to go. They do not try to reinvent the wheel in regards to what he does.”
Sophomore wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb has been a spark plug for Vanderbilt, as he has three receiving touchdowns on just four catches.
K-State’s offense has stayed consistent in its two wins to start the season, scoring 55 points in both wins over the University of Central Arkansas and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Senior quarterback Jesse Ertz, like Shurmur, has been on fire to start the season. Ertz has thrown for 511 yards in the two games with four touchdowns. The senior has also added 111 yards on the ground with one score.
Sophomore Alex Barnes leads the team in rushing with 128 yards, and he is tied for the team lead with junior Dalvin Warmack with two rushing touchdowns each. After not playing in either of the team’s first two games, junior running back Justin Silmon is expected to see playing time against Vanderbilt.
The Wildcats have had a number of receivers make an impact. Sophomores Isaiah Harris, Dalton Schoen and Isaiah Zuber and junior Byron Pringle have each caught a touchdown pass this year. Harris leads the team with 138 yards, while Zuber leads the team in catches with nine.
Senior defensive back Brogan Barry is excited about the opportunity to play an SEC team this weekend.
“You definitely see things and hear things about the conference and the caliber of teams,” Barry said. “We know the bowl game definitely was not a fluke. If people want to say it is, then we’ll have to go prove it, but I think there is no need to prove it.”
The Wildcats and Commodores will kick off in Nashville, Tennessee, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be seen on ESPNU.