Fans of Kansas State will never forget last weekend's 53-50 victory over Texas A&M in a four-overtime marathon.
"I am so proud of everyone for hanging together and playing tough," said Kansas State QB Collin Klein after the thrilling win. "Coach (Bill) Snyder instilled in us from day one that we have to do that. We really carried that out today."
The Wildcats are now 8-2 overall and own a 5-2 record versus Big 12 competition. Meanwhile, Texas has played one fewer game and is 6-3 on the season, including an even 3-3 versus league foes. The Longhorns put forth a miserable offensive effort last weekend in a 17-5 loss to Missouri on the road, and that showing was surprising considering the fact that Mack Brown's crew had racked up 95 points in the previous two outings combined.
"Obviously their defense played much better than our offense," said Brown after the 12-point loss. "I thought our offense didn't play well throughout the day, and I thought that was evident."
With regard to the all-time series between these two teams, Kansas State holds a narrow 6-5 edge.
Kansas State is a run-first football team, and it was difficult to find holes against the tough Texas A&M defense last week. The Wildcats finished with just 130 rushing yards on 52 attempts, for an average of 2.5 ypc, but they did score six rushing TDs to go along with a passing TD by Klein. The versatile signal caller rushed for 103 yards and five scores on 35 carries while passing for 281 yards, a tremendous all-around effort.
"There are no words to explain Collin," says K-State WR Tramaine Thompson of Klein. "He is our team leader and is very tough."
Overall this season, Kansas State is generating 35.0 ppg despite a modest output of 364.1 total ypg. The Wildcats average more than 200 ypg on the ground, and 30 of their 40 offensive TDs have been of the rushing variety. Klein has already rushed for 1,009 yards and 24 TDs while passing for 1,504 yards and 10 scores. If not for Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Klein could very well earn Big 12 Player of the Year honors. The top wideout for the Wildcats is Chris Harper, who has notched 37 catches for 509 yards and four TDs.
The Wildcats certainly could have played better defensively against Texas A&M, as the Aggies were able to rack up 482 yards and six touchdowns. K-State yielded 6.3 yards per rushing attempt, but the club was able to hold the Aggies to 7.8 yards per pass completion, an extremely low average.
Opponents are scoring 29.8 ppg against Kansas State, which is permitting 410.7 total ypg. The Wildcats have been solid against the run, permitting just 3.8 yards per attempt, but they are being victimized for nearly 300 passing yards per game and have surrendered 22 TDs through the air. One of the top defenders on the roster is Arthur Brown, who has 78 total tackles and 5.5 TFL to his credit. Nigel Malone has been tremendous as well, notching seven interceptions.
Texas has been hit hard by injury, and things got worse last weekend when all- purpose threat Foswhitt Whittaker suffered a knee injury that ended his season.
"He's our leader," said Brown of Whittaker. "Fozzy's done so well and had such a great year, we hate to see him get hurt."
Fellow tailback Malcolm Brown is dealing with a toe injury, and it is unclear if he will be on the field this weekend. The Longhorns finished the Missouri game with only 13 first downs and 247 total yards. Neither David Ash, who took the majority of the snaps, or Case McCoy was effective under center.
Texas is scoring 31.1 ppg this season while gaining 416.0 total ypg, but the offense has been wildly inconsistent. McCoy has been far more effective and efficient than Ash, but neither is a big-time playmaker. There is a lack of explosive options on the outside, as Mike Davis has just one touchdown despite 33 catches and Jaxon Shipley is banged up a bit right now. Brown has rushed for 635 yards and five TDs, so he will be missed if he can't go on Saturday.
It is unfortunate that the Texas offense played so poorly last week because the defense performed well enough to win. The Longhorns yielded just 338 total yards and held the Tigers to 3.4 yards per rushing attempt. Unfortunately, the effort went unrewarded.
Foes are generating 21.0 ppg against Texas, which is permitting 313.8 total ypg. The Longhorns are yielding just 3.5 yards per rushing attempt overall as well as 9.8 yards per pass completion, solid numbers by most standards. Still, their sack total of 16 is rather modest, and seven interceptions through nine games won't scare anyone.