A Week 2 clash between Miami and Kansas State is one of the more intriguing matchups in college football in this young season.
Behind starting quarterback Collin Klein, Kansas State has aspirations to win the Big 12 this season and comes into this game ranked 22nd. Behind a young roster that will likely be highlighted by a number of freshmen playing on Saturday, Miami is hoping to secure a bowl bid this season.
Certainly, these are programs at different places. Add in the fact that the game is in Manhattan, and it's hard to bet against K-State in this one. Still, this is Miami we're talking about—there is no shortage of talent on this roster, young or not.
Let's take a closer look at this Big 12 versus ACC showdown.
When: Saturday, September 8 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas
Listen: 560 WQAM (Miami), Sirius 94 and 136
Betting Line: Kansas State (-7), according to Bet Online
Miami Injuries (via USA Today)
LB Gionni Paul, Knee, Questionable
DL Curtis Porter, Appendix, Questionable
LB Raphael Kirby, Leg, Out Indefinitely
OL Seantrel Henderson, Concussion, Out Indefinitely
Kansas State Injuries (via USA Today)
TE Andre McDonald, Personal Reasons, Questionable
What's At Stake
While neither team is a legitimate national championship contender, both have the opportunity to keep the dream alive after Week 1 wins.
If nothing else, for two teams with bowl aspirations this year, an added win on the schedule is one more step toward bowl eligibility. Kansas State should have little trouble qualifying for a bowl, but for Miami it will certainly be a taller order.
Miami Player to Watch: The Front Seven
Last week, I noted a young Miami secondary would be the key against Boston College. That unit promptly allowed BC quarterback Chase Rettig to throw for 441 yards, though the Hurricanes still came away with the win.
This week, it will be the front seven that will be severely tested. Kansas State has one of the top rushing attacks in the country and racked up 324 rushing yards a week ago against Missouri State. The Canes will have their hands full with quarterback Collin Klein and running backs John Hubert, Daniel Sams and Angelo Pease.
Kansas State is going to run, run, run. If the Miami front seven isn't up to the task, they will find themselves on the field for far too long on Saturday.
Kansas State Player to Watch: Collin Klein, Quarterback
Just in case you missed the above section, let me reiterate the key point as it pertains to Klein: A young Miami secondary allowed 441 passing yards last weekend against Boston College.
I know K-State makes their money running the ball, but if Klein can keep the Canes from stacking the box by beating Miami through the air, the running attack will be all the more effective. A balanced attack could be too much for a young Miami defense to handle.
What They're Saying
Bill Snyder on his team avoiding complacency and the defense stepping it up (via Michael Baldwin of NewsOK.com):
“Miami not having what some might consider not as experienced a football team as last year I don't think enters into it,” Snyder said. “Complacency, if you have it, is perhaps taking some things for granted, not of Miami, but taking your own performance for granted. That's always a concern.”
The Wildcats allowed only nine points on three fields in a win over Missouri State but K-State failed to record a sack and surrendered 418 yards.
“Defensively we have to be a better three-and-out team,” Snyder said. “Those are hard to come by, I understand that... That's one thing we have to be better at which constitutes not giving up drives. But we were efficient in the red zone defensively.”
Key Matchup: The Miami Rushing Attack Against the Kansas State Front Seven
We know that Kansas State will have success running the ball. Few teams have completely shut down that attack in recent memory. But the real test will be whether Miami can run the ball as well and play a bit of ball-control football themselves.
The Hurricanes rushed for 208 yards last week with Davon "Duke" Johnson highlighting the attack with 125 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. If they can get a few big plays from Duke and mix it up with the steady running of Mike James, the passing attack may open up for junior quarterback Stephen Morris.
Kansas State comes into this game as a ranked team with aspirations to win the Big 12 championship. Miami would be happy to play in a bowl this season. In the end, a more seasoned Kansas State side will run the ball at will and control the clock. Kansas State wins, 28-17.
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