Bill Snyder's Wildcats shouldn't have a problem with the Missouri State Bears in Manhattan on Sept. 1, 2012, when the two teams open their respective college football seasons.
The FCS Bears return several key players, but from a team that won just two games in 2011. Still, players play every game for a reason, and every game is worth watching.
Here are a few individual matchups from Kansas State's home-opener contest that are at least worth noting.
Kierra Harris/Ashton Glaser vs. Kansas State Linebackers
Harris vs. Glaser makes for an interesting battle by itself for the starting quarterback gig. Harris, an athletic sophomore whose shown plenty of promise, has the benefit of an offense that caters to his strenght. Glaser, the junior Missouri Tiger transfer, has a bigger arm and the momentum from one last spring game as a Tiger.
If the defensive line can take care of business up front against the ground game, it won't matter which Bear quarterback plays. Watch captain and Nagurski watch list linebacker Arthur Brown and his underrated linbacker corps drop into coverage, blitz, and make life miserable from sideline to sideline for the opposing signal caller.
Marvell Saffold/Julian Burton vs. Allen Chapman
Nagurski watchlist corner Nigel Malone can take care of default No. 1 receiver Cadarrius Dotson, no problem.
On the other side of the field, Saffold, brother of former Bear and current Cleveland Brown prospect Jermaine Saffold, and return-man Burton each have very good speed at receiver.
Cornerback Chapman has position competition in senior corner Kip Daily, and can't have any mishaps in game one.
Sybhrian Berry vs. Chris Harper
The undersized Berry (5' 9", 180 pounds) is a moderately talented corner facing a large (6' 1", 229 pounds), underrated receiver in Harper. Expect Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein to pick on Berry early and see how the junior corner responds before turning to receivers Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett on the other half of the field.
Mike Crutcher/Andrew Beisel vs. John Hubert/Collin Klein
Barring an average defensive end in Martin Montgomery, Missouri State's defensive line lacks size, talent and depth. That means Beisel, a sophomore inside linebacker, and Crutcher, a safety, will have to stand up to the Wildcat rushing attack.
Beisel and Crutcher had impressive freshman seasons, notching 84 and 83 tackles, respectively, making them No. 1 and 2 on the team in that category. Facing Oregon last season gave these youngsters a taste of an excellent college run game, but they've probably never faced an offense that can pound and eat clock like Kansas State's can.
After last season's scare against Eastern Kentucky, expect Kansas State to come out of the gates with a little more fire in 2012. These individual battles may be the highlights of a contest that may be all but over by halftime.
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