Texas vs. Kansas State: Wildcats Won't Choke Away Big 12 Title Chances
The Big 12 title will be on the line this Saturday when Texas and Kansas State faceoff at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Kansas State was on its way to national title berth until the Baylor Bears shredded the Wildcats in mid-November. This win would secure the Wildcats a Big 12 title, and after the embarrassing showing against Baylor, they won’t choke for a second time.
Bill Snyder had his team on a tear to begin the year, and he knows how to return this Kansas State squad to midseason form. Here are the five ways that the Wildcats will secure the Big 12 title on Saturday.
Collin Klein Returns to Heisman Form
Collin Klein is licking his chops to hit the field for his final home game against Texas this Saturday. The Texas defense is the No.103 unit against the run in the country this season having issues stopping virtually every offense it has faced.
The Longhorns give up an average of 201.55 yards a game on the ground, making a perfect scenario for Klein to walk into a huge performance.
Klein has already rushed for 787 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season. Expect those numbers to grow exponentially in front of the home crowd on Saturday.
Longhorns Will Struggle to Find Offense
Texas has faced numerous issues on both sides of the ball this year, but the offense has been the most obvious problem for the Longhorns. Quarterback controversy has filled the sideline all season with injuries assisting the rotation at the position.
The ground game has been especially stagnant, only producing 183 yards a game and landing at the No. 43 position nationally. Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron are the team’s leading rushers, gaining a little over 50 yards a game through 12 games this season.
The Longhorns have been able to mount a modest scoring offensive ranking—they are the No. 20 team in scoring offense—but they have not faced a defense as smothering as the Wildcats unit.
This will be a long game for the Longhorns if they get in a scoring showdown.
Quarterback Woes Haunt Texas
Texas has struggled to find offensive consistency this season with most problems stemming from the quarterback position. Case McCoy and David Ash have battled back and forth for the position, with Ash taking the starting role over early this year.
Ash has battled injuries and has taken a back seat to Case McCoy at times this year, but this week against Kansas State McCoy will get his first start since 2011.
McCoy is completing over 66 percent of his passes this fall, but his limited exposure to game time this year is a concern. This debut is coming at the wrong time for McCoy. This is a huge stage, and it won’t likely be a favorable one for McCoy to get his first start on in 2012.
Injuries Mount for Longhorns
The Longhorns were expected to field one of the best defensive units this season anchored by their star defensive ends Jackson Jefcoat and Alex Okafor.
Jeffcoat was lost to injury by the Oklahoma game when he ruptured his right pectoral muscle. Alex Okafor has been off and on all season with nagging injuries, and most recently he is pushing through an ankle injury that may sideline him for this game.
When the two defenders are in they are an imposing force, but without them the Longhorns struggle to create pressure. If the Longhorns can’t find a way to seal the peremiter and stop the Kansas State ground game, they will struggle.
In addition to the defenders, Marquise Goodwin is questionable.
Texas Secondary is Porous
The Texas secondary is one of the most porous in the country. It has assisted the Longhorns in surrendering 63 points to Oklahoma, 48 to West Virginia and 50 to Baylor.
While they are the No. 39 passing defense in the country, quarterbacks are earning a 133.23 efficiency rating against them, placing them at No. 62 in the country.
Collin Klein has a season rating of 155 and has tossed 14 touchdowns this year.
He has guided the Wildcats offense to 2,306 passing yards this year. This team will struggle to stop the dual-threat option that will come with Klein. Expect another 40-plus-point game in Manhattan.