K-State football sees opportunity in matchup with Mississippi State

Skylar Thompson, a sophomore quarterback, passes the ball to a Wildcat reciever towards a first down play at last Saturday's home game against South Dakota. K-State football takes on Mississippi State this Saturday at home. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State Wildcats will host their first ranked opponent of the 2018 season on Saturday in the SEC vs. Big 12 matchup against No. 18 Mississippi State.

There is always a particular air of excitement when playing a ranked opponent, but to head coach Bill Snyder, it’s just another game.

Snyder said that the matchup is just the second ballgame of the season and rankings can change dramatically.

Specifically on the topic of ranked opponent Mississippi State, Snyder said “you don’t have to tell me Mississippi State is ranked to tell me they’re a good football team.”

Junior quarterback Alex Delton said a matchup versus a ranked opponent brings excitement to the game.

“It gives us that extra motivation to show the nation and the conference what we’re really capable of doing,” Delton said. “Obviously Mississippi State is a great team and they are going to bring their game, but our focus right now is to get better.”

The last time the Wildcats hosted a team from the SEC in Manhattan in 2014, K-State lost to Auburn 20-14. The Wildcats have also lost their last nine home games against top 25 opponents.

Delton said the Wildcats have “something to prove” after nearly being upset by South Dakota on Saturday.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us,” Delton said. “The opportunity is going to be a huge game for us. We knew this in the summer and we have a good game plan set up for them.”

After a three-fumble week against South Dakota, running back Alex Barnes said that the Bulldogs are a “top 20 team, very athletic, SEC defense, hard hitters. They’ve got it all as we are really going to have to pride ourselves on our preparation.”

Playing a big non-conference game provides a new challenge and junior defensive lineman Jordan Mittie said that “it’s another challenge for us against an SEC offensive line that is going to be a lot different.”

Mittie said he is not feeling any nerves leading up to the game against a ranked opponent:

“At my last school [Texas State] I took a ton of snaps against quality teams,” Mittie said. “We played at Arkansas, at Houston when they were No. 6, so I think I’ll be ready.”