Kansas State Wildcats (1-0) AT Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (1-0)
Battle in the Bayou
Cajun Field - Lafayette, La.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 - 6 PM CST
I don't normally do this sort of thing in blog posts, but since today is a day etched on every American's heart, I just want to take a moment and remember what happened eight years ago.
It's hard to believe it's been that long since Dr. Frank Tracz stood before me and 350 other members of the Pride of Wildcat Land to tell us the game that weekend had been postponed. I remember an awkward moment when he was talking and an airplane passed by overhead; everyone looked nervously toward the sky, because all air traffic had been grounded and it must have been a military plane.
Of course, we were scheduled to play a different team from Louisiana that weekend, the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. Although we later made the game up, I never will forget the awkward feeling of the home opener being delayed until Sept. 22 - by far the latest opening date in K-State football history - nor the "patriotic Powercat" T-shirts we wore when that first game finally arrived.
Anyhow, no matter what you are doing today, please take a moment to remember the men and women who died that day, and all the men and women who have died since in far-off lands to help keep us safe. Compared to that, postponing a football game is a minor inconvenience.
And once you've done that, feel free to begin getting psyched up for another action-packed Saturday of pigskin entertainment.
After the jump, I'll preview the match-up with Saturday's opponent: the Irate Acadian Descendants of the Louisiana Purchase.
Yay! Real stats! Adios, evil triple-digit numbers from 2008!
Carson Coffman (14 of 27, 182 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Brandon Banks (7 catches, 67 yards)
Daniel Thomas (23 carries, 104 yards)
Keithen Valentine (11 carries, 89 yards)
Chris Masson (18 of 24, 283 yards, 2 TD)
Louis Lee (4 catches, 86 yards)
Undrea Sails (19 carries, 114 yards, 1 TD)
Richie Falgout (4 of 4, 4 TD, 30 catches, 344 yards)
*career stats; special thanks to Panjandrum for digging this guy up
K-State (30) > ULL (34)
ULL (13) > K-State (74)
ULL (15) > K-State (48)
ULL (22) > K-State (68)
K-State (58) > ULL (61)
Pass Efficiency Defense
K-State (3) > ULL (74)
K-State (25) > ULL (81)
K-State (52) > ULL (57)
ULL (1) > K-State (102)
ULL (28) > K-State (35)
ULL (93) > K-State (99)
ULL (27) > K-State (78)
K-State (14) > ULL (89)
ULL (4) > K-State (64)
Clearly, it's still too early to read much into our season statistics and statistical rankings, but it sure is nice to see that ugly 117 turn into a beautiful 25, isn't it? Enjoy it while it lasts...
We've discussed most of the keys for K-State in our Midweek QB feature, so I'll simply reiterate that the essential elements for a Wildcat victory are avoiding turnovers and boneheaded special teams plays. Getting better production from our quarterback, whoever that ends up being, would be a nice bonus.
I look for Daniel Thomas to have another solid game, and I think Keithen Valentine will play extremely well in front of his friends and family, too. It would be nice to see Lamark Brown get his first catch of the season, but I'm not holding my breath. I think a week of looking at the UMass film will help Bill Snyder get this offense back on track, and I expect to see us eschew some of the vanilla this week in favor of a little razzle-dazzle to secure the win.
On defense, it will be interesting to see if we can get any more of a consistent pass rush than we did last week. Also, it remains to be seen how bad Troy Butler's injury is and what that might mean for the configuration of the defense. If he is unable to play, I think that could open the window of opportunity for Courtney Herndon to step back into a leading role on this defense.
Louisiana doesn't have any individual players as dangerous as Michael Desormeaux or Tyrell Fenroy, both of whom graduated after last season, but the Ragin' Cajuns appear to have more balance this year. They also return an offensive line with 113 starts, second-most in the nation. Keep an eye on starting RB Undrea Sails, who suffered a clavicle injury last week but is expected to play. Also worth watching is Ritchie Falgout, the King of the Trick Play.
And don't forget about Louisiana's 12th man in this game: the swampy, humid climate. Southern weather promises to be a wild card in the truest sense, and after an unseasonably cool August, one wonders how our players will fare as the game winds down, especially given their propensity to crap out late in games last year.
Prediction: Kansas State 39, Louisiana 26
BracketCat's Projected Starters
QB: Carson Coffman
FB: Braden Wilson
RB: Daniel Thomas
K: Josh Cherry
P: Ryan Doerr
R: Brandon Banks, Daniel Thomas
Elsewhere in the Big 12...
Houston, Rice and UTEP? What is this, Southwest Conference Reunion Week?
Other than woeful Iowa State, I like the conference's chances this week... although tonight's Colorado game looks a little dicey. I know Houston is everyone's popular upset pick, but don't sleep on Bowling Green, rated tops in the MAC by Jeff Sagarin.
Oh, and never forget the old standby: How do you get rid of a pesky Jayhawk? UTEP on it!
With any luck, Todd Reesing will be mistaken for a large chicken, abducted by some Mexican bandits, cooked in a stew and digested with a cheap tequila chaser. It's probably how the Hobbit would want to go, after all: swallowed by a rough man after being marinated in alcohol. Ba-zing!
Colorado at Toledo (Friday)
Buffaloes 35, Rockets 32
Iowa at Iowa State
Hawkeyes 29, Cyclones 22
Arkansas State at #22 Nebraska
Cornhuskers 44, Red Wolves 17
#2 Texas at Wyoming
Longhorns 33, Cowboys 13
Houston at #5 Oklahoma State
Cowboys 30, Cougars 11
Rice at Texas Tech
Red Raiders 38, Owls 17
Bowling Green at #25 Missouri
Tigers 30, Falcons 12
Idaho State at #13 Oklahoma
Sooners 51, Bengals 9
#24 Kansas at UTEP
Jayhawks 37, Miners 25
All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.