The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000) -- Manhattan, Kansas. Television: FOX Sports 1. Home Record: Louisiana 0-0, K-State 0-1. Away Record: Louisiana 0-1, K-State 0-0. Neutral Record: Louisiana 0-0, K-State 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 0-0, K-State 0-0. Series Record: Kansas State leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns and the Kansas State Wildcats both attempt to move past setbacks in their respective season openers, as the squads meet in a non-conference matchup on Saturday evening at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
Louisiana had the unenviable task of starting the season with a difficult SEC road test, traveling to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas. It lost handily, 34-14, thus snapping the four-game win streak it ended the 2012 campaign on.
Kansas State's start to the new season was extremely disappointing considering its great success a year ago, when it went 11-2 and earned a berth to the Fiesta Bowl. The Wildcats opened up at home against two-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State, and they were defeated, 24-21, snapping their 20-game, season-opening win streak in the process.
Kansas State leads the all-time series with Louisiana, 3-1, although the Cajuns won the last matchup in September of 2009, 17-15.
The Ragin' Cajuns had one of the Sun Belt Conference's most successful offenses a season ago, scoring nearly 35 points per game while racking up 443.6 yards per outing, but it struggled out of the gate against the Razorbacks with a meager 274 total yards.
In his first career season-opening start, Terrance Broadway underwhelmed. The junior signal caller managed to complete just 15-of-28 pass attempts for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Broadway is one of the Sun Belt's top dual-threat quarterbacks, but he was sacked three times by the Razorbacks and finished with -1 rushing yards.
Broadway's rushing total on 13 attempts certainly weighed down the team's yards per carry (2.7), but tailback Alonzo Harris had a solid start to the season despite the setback, gaining 56 yards on 10 attempts with a two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Tight end Jacob Maxwell emerged as Broadway's top option in the passing game, hauling down six balls for 77 yards (both career highs) with a touchdown. Jamal Robinson collected 33 yards on four receptions and is expected to be a big factor going forward.
Louisiana's defense had its hands full with the Razorbacks, allowing 522 total yards in the loss. The unit returned just three starters from last year's squad and is expected to struggle keeping points off the board once again in 2013.
The defense was on the field for more than 37 minutes, which allowed Justin Anderson (14 tackles) and Sean Thomas (13 tackles) to rack up plenty of stops. Anderson also recorded half a sack (along with Dominique Tovell), and Trevence Patt forced a fumble in a defensive effort that wasn't completely devoid of promise.
Kansas State surely expected a bit of a drop-off offensively following the departure of Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, but the unit really came out flat in the opener, scoring just 21 points and tallying 321 total yards. Klein's experience and leadership was also noticeably absent on third down (2- of-10).
Jake Waters, Klein's replacement under center, actually had a solid outing throwing the ball in his first career start, going 21-of-29 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, but he also tossed a pair of interceptions, which proved to be costly in the end.
Both Tyler Lockett (seven receptions, 113 yards, TD) and Tramaine Thompson (six receptions, 108 yards, TD) were outstanding. It was the first time since 2008 that the Wildcats had two 100-yard receivers in the same game.
While the aerial attack was clicking, the run game was rather lackluster, as the team netted just 41 yards on 23 carries (1.8 ypc). John Hubert led the way with 23 yards, while backup quarterback Daniel Sams scored on a 17-yard run in the third quarter.
Even though NDSU is an FCS powerhouse, K-State cannot be pleased with its defensive effort in the opener. It held the Bison to a respectable 380 total yards, but allowed them to convert 10-of-17 third down attempts and 1-of-1 fourth downs.
Blake Slaughter had a solid opener with 10 tackles and a pair of sacks, while fellow linebacker Jonathan Truman also posted 10 stops. Defensive end Ryan Mueller tallied three tackles for loss and a sack, while Dante Barnett intercepted a pass in the third quarter, which led to a touchdown on the Wildcats' ensuing possession.
Kansas State is clearly not the same team it was a season ago, but it's also not as bad as it showed last week. Losing back-to-back home games against non- conference opponents is unheard of for this program, and you can bet Bill Snyder will have his squad ready to play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 31, Louisiana 21
09/04 10:42:08 ET