Know Your Opponent: Elite talent coming for battle in Manhattan

0
323
Then-freshman quarterback Will Howard tries to run past defense during the game on December 5, 2020 game against Texas. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

No. 13 Kansas State (6-2) (4-1)

The Wildcats’ recent performance has inspired hope in K-State fans which has not been felt in quite some time. After the 48-0 demolition of the then-ranked No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys, K-State received their highest ranking since 2014 thanks to junior quarterback Will Howard. Replacing the injured Adrian Martinez, Howard threw for 296 yards and scored four touchdowns in the shutout victory. His presence the past two games has added a new element to the offense while showcasing the ability of his wide receivers on the perimeter. As the team marches toward the final stretch of games, one question remains. Who will start against Texas and beyond: Adrian Martinez or Will Howard?

No. 24 Texas (5-3) (3-2)

The Longhorns started off the season looking to play as one of the top teams in the Big 12 but have recently struggled with their play, especially in their past two games. Their 22nd ranked scoring offense in the FBS is led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, wide receiver Xavier Worthy and superstar running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson has consistently performed as one of the best athletes in football, while Ewers and Worthy haven’t played to expectation lately. Ewers failed to reach 200 passing yards in a narrow 24-21 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones three weeks ago. The team followed up the close win by blowing a 14-point lead to Oklahoma State which included only 3 second-half points and three Ewers interceptions. Even after entering a bad stretch, the Longhorns still have the ability to play up to the level of whoever they face on the field.

 

Matchup to Watch: Bijan Robinson vs. K-State linebackers

Robinson comes into the matchup running for 920 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns followed up by 280 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in the season. He has managed to run for over 100 yards in the past six games, and has collected 10 total touchdowns. The hype around Robinson is on par to that of Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson in their college days. At 6’0, 220 pounds, his combination of power and speed, followed by his vision and agility make him nearly the perfect running back prospect. Robinson has even starred as a receiver, coming down with tough contested catches when given the chance. The linebacking core for the Wildcats are the next team to try to bring down the future first round pick.

The linebackers for K-State do not have nearly as much hype as Robinson, but have made a mark this year as well. Former walk-on senior Austin Moore has led the charge with 55 total tackles on the year, leading the team. Senior Nick Allen has received more playing time due to the injuries of sophomore Beau Palmer and senior Daniel Green, recording 18 total tackles in the past two games. Following Allen is freshman Jake Clifton who switched to middle linebacker and has flashed potential to be an impactful player for the defense. The trio must make sure to keep Robinson contained. Green may return in the game to provide more assistance in this tough endeavor.

 

Key Players

K-State: 

Safety Josh Hayes

Running Back Deuce Vaughn

Texas:

Linebacker Jaylan Ford

Wide Receiver Jordan Whittington

 

Prediction: K-State 37-27

Advertisement