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KICKING THE TIRES: The University of Massachusetts (Amherst)


Kansas State Wildcats (0-0) VS. Massachusetts Minutemen (0-0)

K-State Family Reunion
Bill Snyder Family Stadium - Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 - 6:10 PM CST

no television



Yeah, baby! Football is back, and so is "Kicking the Tires" - BracketCat style.

Normally, these will show up on Fridays, but I needed one last "countdown to kickoff" post and, c'mon, there's a learning curve to this stuff, ya know?

Click the jump for everything relevant I could find on our opponent, the Minutepersons of Massachusetts (which wasn't much, I must admit).



Carson Coffman (25 of 41, 282 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)

Brandon Banks (67 catches, 1,049 yards, 9 TD)

Lamark Brown (118 carries, 412 yards, 5 TD)

Wild Card**
Daniel Thomas (103 carries, 618 yards, 6 TD)



Scott Woodward (9 of 19, 97 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT)

Victor Cruz (71 catches, 1,064 yards, 6 TD)

Tony Nelson (243 carries, 1,325 yards, 12 TD)

Wild Card***
Kyle Havens (301.7 YPG, 27 TD, 13 INT)


*returning leaders from 2008
**JUCO stats from 2007
***JUCO stats from 2007/2008



Rushing Offense
UMass (58) > K-State (76)

Passing Offense
K-State (19) > UMass (26)

Total Offense
UMass (33) > K-State (34)

Scoring Offense
K-State (19) > UMass (37)

Rushing Defense
UMass (102) > K-State (112)

Pass Efficiency Defense
UMass (77) > K-State (95)

Total Defense
UMass (72) > K-State (117)

Scoring Defense
UMass (71) > K-State (110)

Net Punting
UMass (33) > K-State (105)

Punt Returns
K-State (28) > UMass (102)

Kickoff Returns
K-State (24) > UMass (111)

Turnover Margin
UMass (92) > K-State (94)

Pass Defense
UMass (18) > K-State (106)

Passing Efficiency
UMass (23) > K-State (36)


*2008 national rankings (UMass rankings are FCS)



I'll keep this brief because most of the above statistics are meaningless, given that they're a year old.

The key thing to keep in mind is that UMass has some decent skill players. Cruz and Nelson put up some legit numbers. Even against FCS competition, they had better statistical seasons than any player on our roster, new or returning. The big question mark will be the play of new starting QB Kyle Havens, fresh out of a California JUCO only to be welcomed by a stadium full of 50,000 screaming, purple-clad fans.

For K-State, the question mark is defense, defense, defense. Are we going to be any better? How much will (reportedly) injuries to Brandon Harold, Daniel Calvin and Kadero Terrell set us back? Can John Houlik tackle something other than air? You get the idea.

That's it in a nutshell. This is a game we should win, but that doesn't mean it is one we will win - not if we show up and play like crap. Call me a Debbie Downer, but I have a weird feeling our defensive depth and inexperience in Snyder's system are going to be exposed by a couple of senior playmakers from a Top 25 FCS program. Of course, I hope the Cats prove me wrong, but make no mistake - any victory, even a one-point victory, will be a huge step forward tonight.

Prediction: Kansas State 34, Massachusetts 30


BracketCat's Projected Starters

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

WR: Brandon Banks, Lamark Brown
TE: Jeron Mastrud
OL: Nick Stringer, Zach Kendall, Trevor Viers, Wade Weibert, Clyde Aufner

DL: Eric Childs, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, Raphael Guidry, Grant Valentine
LB: John Houlik, Alex Hrebec
DB: Joshua Moore, Emmanuel Lamur, Tysyn Hartman, Courtney Herndon, David Garrett

K: Josh Cherry
P: Ryan Doerr
R: Brandon Banks, Daniel Thomas


Elsewhere in the Big 12...

I'll be honest - formatting the rest of this beast was time-consuming enough for one night. I think I will hold off on any detailed analysis until I see the other league teams play a game, or at least glance at a box score. But here's some totally unscientific predictions:

Baylor at Wake Forest
Demon Deacons 36, Bears 21

Georgia at Oklahoma State
Bulldogs 20, Cowboys 17

Missouri at Illinois (St. Louis)
Tigers 28, Fighting Illini 17

New Mexico at Texas A&M
Aggies 33, Lobos 27

UL Monroe at Texas
Longhorns 45, Warhawks 9

BYU at Oklahoma (Dallas)
Sooners 19, Cougars 8

North Dakota at Texas Tech
Red Raiders 51, Fighting Sioux 16

Florida Atlantic at Nebraska
Cornhuskers 42, Owls 21

Northern Colorado at Kansas
Jayhawks 61, Bears 20

Colorado State at Colorado (Sunday)
Buffaloes 36, Rams 29

And of course, Iowa State already beat North Dakota State 34-17... not that anyone noticed.


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