It has been over 240 days since the Kansas State football team defeated UCLA in the Cactus Bowl. The wait will finally come to an end on Saturday when K-State hosts the University of South Dakota.
The Wildcats returned 14 total starters from 2017, including all five starters on the offensive line.
Despite that security, the quarterback question still looms.
Redshirt junior Alex Delton and redshirt sophomore Skylar Thompson have both been working with the starting offense to see who will start at quarterback for the Wildcats on Saturday.
In a press conference on Tuesday, head coach Bill Snyder said that both will play against South Dakota, but there is not a set limit for either quarterback.
“Obviously we need to put a starter on the field, but if the decision goes much longer it will probably be based on the situation,” Snyder said.
Snyder said that both quarterbacks will get a decent amount of playing time, but as of now, the competition is very close between the two.
New offensive coordinator Andre Coleman will be working with some young receivers.
Senior wide receiver Zach Reuter said that the mindset of the team has changed from last year.
“We were too excited about the potential we had last year, but potential doesn’t mean anything unless you can put it on the field,” Reuter said. “So this season we know what happens when you go into a game thinking like that.”
Junior wide receiver Dalton Schoen said that he thinks K-State can “spread the ball around and get a lot of guys involved and get everybody going.”
Schoen emphasized the importance of keeping “the 1-0 mentality” and taking it one game at a time.
“The fact that we are not picked very highly helps us play with a chip on our shoulder,” senior starting linebacker Sam Sizelove said.
Sizelove said he is excited about this team because it has “both the experience and young talent, and it will be fun to see what these young guys can do.”
K-State is returning several key players including starters Reggie Walker, Kendall Adams and Denzel Goolsby.
There is plenty of experience on the defensive side of the ball, but some of these guys, including all of the linebackers, will be taking over the starting jobs.
As far as special teams, the Wildcats have to replace both of the returners. Snyder announced on Tuesday that Duke Shelley and Isaiah Zuber will be the kick returners this season.
The special teams will be replacing the kicker, punter and long snapper for the first time since 1999.
Blake Lynch will be responsible for all of the place-kicking responsibilities, Andrew Hicks will be the starting punter and David Tullis will take over as long snapper.
The South Dakota Coyotes are based out of the Missouri Valley Conference; the Coyotes placed fifth in the conference and made the FCS playoff.
Snyder said that “South Dakota appears to be a well-disciplined team and will execute their assignments.”
The Wildcats are 4-0 against the Coyotes and last met on Sept. 5, 2015, in Manhattan, where K-State defeated South Dakota 34-0.
Under Snyder, the Wildcats are 23-3 in season openers are 24-2 in home debuts.
The game starts at 6:10 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It will be live streamed on ESPN3 and on the K-State Sports Network.