What you need to know for K-State’s matchup against Mississippi State

Alex Delton, a junior quarterback, runs down the field past the Coyotes defense towards a first down play on Sept. 1. K-State Football takes on Mississippi State this Saturday at home. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Who will be K-State’s quarterback?

After fighting for the starting job all offseason, neither Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson separated themselves for the starting quarterback job. Both played a decent amount of time against South Dakota.

Thompson started and finished the game, completing eight-of-14 passes for 61 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added 58 yards rushing.

Delton went 5-for-14 through the air, with 91 yards and an interception. He accumulated 78 yards on the ground.

Head coach Bill Snyder said he feels the battle is still tight between the two.

“Both of them did some decent things and both of them struggled and made mistakes,” Snyder said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Both of them are going to make a significant difference in the outcome of our football season. It is still one game at a time, and we have to improve things.”

Will K-State play both quarterbacks for the whole game in such a big-time matchup?

K-State’s offensive line versus Mississippi State’s defensive line

The Wildcats returned their entire starting offensive line from 2017. Despite that, it looked vulnerable at times against South Dakota.

This Saturday, Dalton Risner, senior offensive tackle and team captain, and company will line up against two NFL prospects in Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat and nose guard Jeffery Simmons.

A year ago, Sweat finished with an SEC-leading 10.5 sacks along with 15.5 tackles for loss. In the season-opener against Stephen F. Austin, Sweat grabbed six total tackles, 3.5 for loss and two sacks.

Simmons comes into 2018 as a preseason All-American and the top defensive tackle prospect in the country, according to Pro Football Focus. Against Stephen F. Austin last week, he had 3.5 tackles for loss.

Risner said he realizes it won’t be easy but is up for the challenge.

“They’re just athletic players,” Risner said. “They’re athletic and they’re big players. They work hard, extremely hard out there on the field, but they’re bigger than most of the guys that they play, and they’re faster and more athletic than most of the guys they play. They’re great football players, and I’m excited to get the opportunity to play great NFL prospect players like that.”

Nick Fitzgerald’s first season action

After being suspended for a violation of team rules, Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is set to make his first start of 2018.

Sophomore Keytaon Thompson thrived in Fitzgerald’s absence, amassing 473 yards (364 passing, 109 rushing) of total offense and seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rushing). Despite that, head coach Joe Moorhead is going with the veteran Fitzgerald against K-State.

Last season, Fitzgerald completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 1,782 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also a force on the ground, rushing 984 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Fitzgerald has 2,486 career rushing yards, which is fourth all-time for an SEC quarterback, and he is just 461 yards short of Tim Tebow’s record.

I’m Jarrett Whitson, the sports editor this semester. I’m from Blue Rapids, KS, a town of just over 1,000 people about 40 miles north of Manhattan. I’m a junior in Public Relations, and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. I love playing and talking about sports— especially college football