KICKING THE TIRES: The University of California (Los Angeles)

KansasStateLeftUCLARight

Kansas State Wildcats (1-1) AT UCLA Bruins (2-0)

Rumble in the Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, Calif.
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 - 7:28 PM PST

FSN

 

Click the jump for a preview of Slick Rick's boys...

KEY PLAYERS

 

K-State

Passing
Carson Coffman (27 of 52, 360 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT)

Receiving
Brandon Banks (10 catches, 100 yards)

Rushing
Daniel Thomas (50 carries, 240 yards, 1 TD)

Wild Card
Jeron Mastrud (6 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD)

 

UCLA

Passing
Kevin Prince (29 of 52, 277 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT)

Receiving
Terrence Austin (7 catches, 46 yards, 1 TD)

Rushing
Johnathan Franklin (29 carries, 123 yards, 1 TD)

Wild Card
Richard Brehaut (2 of 2, 39 yards)

 

KEY STATS

Rushing Offense
K-State (28) > UCLA (88)

Passing Offense
K-State (82) > UCLA (99)

Total Offense
K-State (55) > UCLA (103)

Scoring Offense
UCLA (67) > K-State (97)

Rushing Defense
UCLA (30) > K-State (48)

Pass Efficiency Defense
UCLA (7) > K-State (10)

Total Defense
UCLA (27) > K-State (29)

Scoring Defense
UCLA (33) > K-State (43)

Net Punting
UCLA (58) > K-State (103)

Punt Returns
UCLA (34) > K-State (39)

Kickoff Returns
UCLA (12) > K-State (98)

Turnover Margin
UCLA (15) > K-State (59)

Pass Defense
K-State (23) > UCLA (37)

Passing Efficiency
K-State (87) > UCLA (93)

 

Analysis

This match-up is like the ultimate example of the irresistible force versus the immovable object. If Daniel Thomas is the force, then UCLA's defense is the object. Or vice versa.

Simply put, K-State has a better overall offense than UCLA - as hard as that is to believe - and the injury to Kevin Prince should only render the Bruins more impotent on that side of the ball. True freshman Richard Brehaut probably will be starting his first collegiate game and attempting only his third collegiate pass, and while I expect that the former Elite 11 quarterback will settle down and do well this season, he could be in for a rough start against a defense that is looking increasingly Mobbish with each passing game.

Speaking of passing games, ours frankly sucks. If you watched last Saturday's game on ESPN360, you already know that. If you didn't, be glad. There's even talk that Thomas may start at QB, which probably could only be an improvement over what we've seen. And the really scary thing is that UCLA is even better than us on defense, especially considering they played (and won) in hostile Neyland Stadium and we played (and lost) on anemic Cajun Field.

The X-factor in this game - which likely figures to be a close, defensive battle - could be special teams, and that doesn't bode well for the Cats, who have been uncharacteristically (for either Prince or Snyder) bad on that side of the ball. The really distressing thing to me isn't the kicking game (I think Josh Cherry eventually will settle down and be a decent kicker for us, and hell, he's due to finally hit one); it's the lack of ANYTHING in the return game. We seem to have no blocking or speed back there, and when you're struggling to score as it is, having a good return game can be the difference between victory and defeat. Just ask Darren Sproles and the San Diego Chargers.

So as usual, the keys to victory for the Wildcats are the same as always: be sound in the kicking game, protect the damn ball, don't beat yourselves, and let the defense and the running backs win it. Will this be the week this young team finally learns the lesson and begins to apply it? Tune into Fox Sports Net at 9:30 Central time to find out...

Prediction: UCLA 30, Kansas State 16

 

BracketCat's Projected Starters

QB: Carson Coffman
FB: Braden Wilson
RB: Daniel Thomas

WR: Brandon Banks, Attrail Snipes
TE: Jeron Mastrud
OL: Nick Stringer, Zach Kendall, Wade Weibert, Colten Freeze, Clyde Aufner

DL: Daniel Calvin, Antonio Felder, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, Raphael Guidry
LB: John Houlik, Ulla Pomele
DB: Troy Butler, David Garrett, Tysyn Hartman, Emmanuel Lamur, Joshua Moore

K: Josh Cherry
P: Ryan Doerr
R: Brandon Banks, Tysyn Hartman

 

Elsewhere in the Big 12...

This week, I like Bill Self over Mike Krzyzewski, the Sooners over the Golden Showers (but the Golden Showers over the Cyclones), and the Aggies to beat the Aggies.

I'm also not yet buying the Great Nebraska Resurgence, but I think Colorado collects possibly its only win of the season in a Western shootout.

Hey, Okie Lite... watch out, I hear those Conference USA teams can be tricky.

And of course, all eyes will be tuned to Austin tomorrow night to see if the Longhorns can avenge their one loss from last year. Strangely, I expect Captain Potts and his scurvy crew to capsize in a fairly low-scoring game, based mainly on the fact that most games this year have been lower-scoring affairs than the "experts" have predicted.

 

Duke at #22 Kansas (Versus)
Jayhawks 31, Blue Devils 23

Furman at #25 Missouri (FSN PPV)
Tigers 43, Paladins 14

Tulsa at #12 Oklahoma (FSN)
Sooners 20, Golden Hurricane 13

#19 Nebraska at #13 Virginia Tech (ABC)
Hokies 22, Cornhuskers 14

Wyoming at Colorado
Buffaloes 35, Cowboys 34

Connecticut at Baylor
Bears 24, Huskies 20

Utah State at Texas A&M
Texas A&M Aggies 35, Utah State Aggies 20

Rice at #16 Oklahoma State
Cowboys 41, Owls 15

Iowa State at Kent State
Golden Flashes 38, Cyclones 36

Texas Tech at #2 Texas
Longhorns 23, Red Raiders 16

 

All helmet images are courtesy of The Helmet Project. Check it out - it's pretty cool.

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