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KICKING THE TIRES: Missouri State University


Missouri State Bears (1-0) AT Kansas State Wildcats (1-0)

Band Day | Postgame Fireworks
Bill Snyder Family Stadium — Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 — 6:10 PM CST

no television

From Bruins to Bears: Click the jump for a preview of our upcoming FCS victim (knock on wood to avoid a KU-like pratfall)...

Key Players

Kansas State

Carson Coffman (11 of 16, 66 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT)

Brodrick Smith (3 catches, 14 yards, 1 TD)

Daniel Thomas (28 carries, 234 yards, 2 TD)

Wild Cards
Anthony Cantele (1-1 FG, 5-5 PAT, 4-6 touchbacks)
Brandon Harold
(5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FF)
Terrance Sweeney (3 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBU

Missouri State

Cody Kirby (15 of 25, 199 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT)

Jermaine Saffold (4 catches, 67 yards, 1 TD)

Chris Douglas (10 carries, 128 yards, 1 TD)

Wild Card
Antoine Wilkinson (9 tackles, 3 TFL)

Key Stats

Rushing Offense
Kansas State (8) > Missouri State (28*)

Passing Offense
Missouri State (38*) > Kansas State (107)

Total Offense
Missouri State (32*) > Kansas State (63)

Scoring Offense
Missouri State (27*) > Kansas State (48)

Rushing Defense
Missouri State (7*) > Kansas State (81)

Pass Efficiency Defense
Kansas State (13) > Missouri State (23*)

Total Defense
Missouri State (46*) > Kansas State (51)

Scoring Defense
Missouri State (21*) > Kansas State (61)

Net Punting
Kansas State (40) > Missouri State (76*)

Punt Returns
Kansas State (26) > Missouri State (33*)

Kickoff Returns
Kansas State (32) > Missouri State (99*)

Turnover Margin
Missouri State (11*) > Kansas State (25)

Pass Defense
Kansas State (30) > Missouri State (82*)

Passing Efficiency
Missouri State (32*) > Kansas State (70)

*FCS rankings


I imagine this will become a theme this season: K-State is better at running the ball than its opponent this week, but said opponent is a better passing team. Does that sound at all familiar?

It's hard to compare teams after just one game and even harder when they each play at different levels of competition.

But it's pretty clear to me from looking at the overall statistics that K-State's rushing game should provide a huge challenge for the Bears (duh), even though they have one of the stoutest (so far) rush defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Meanwhile, Missouri State has proven to be an effective passing team, which is way more than the Wildcats can say at this point. But now Bears quarterback Cody Kirby will have to do it against K-State's fearsome secondary, which ranks 13th in the nation in pass efficiency defense and disrupted countless passes last week against UCLA.

Turnover margin appears to be fairly even thus far, but you have to like the bigger, more physical team that's playing at home when breaking the tie on this one.

If K-State has an area where it can blow the game open and expose the difference in depth between the two rosters, it's special teams. We're significantly better in punting, punt returns and kick returns, and Anthony Cantele stepped up out of nowhere to be our best kicker since Brooks Rossman.

Expect Tramaine Thompson to begin making a name for himself with at least one significant punt return. William Powell showed enough speed on his long touchdown run to be a threatening weapon on kick return duties, as well.

K-State needs to put this game away early in order to keep Daniel Thomas rested, help Carson Coffman gain some confidence in the passing game and give the reserves plenty of playing time, in order to develop depth and give Bill Snyder a long, hard look at the underbelly of the roster. Games like these are how programs are built, slowly but surely.

Prediction: Kansas State 41, Missouri State 17

BracketCat's Projected Starters

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

WR: Brodrick Smith, Aubrey Quarles, Tramaine Thompson
TE: Travis Tannahill
OL: Manase Foketi, Zach Kendall, Wade Weibert, Kenneth Mayfield, Zach Hanson

DL: Brandon Harold, Prizell Brown, Ray Kibble, Antonio Felder
LB: Alex Hrebec, Jarell Childs
DB: Troy Butler, Terrance Sweeney, David Garrett, Tysyn Hartman, Emmanuel Lamur

K: Anthony Cantele
P: Ryan Doerr
R: William Powell, Tramaine Thompson

Elsewhere in the Big 12...

I wrote these prophetic words last week: "Even KU should have no trouble with what's easily the worst team on its schedule."

That's why I don't go to Vegas. Anyhow, things don't get any easier this week. Georgia Tech would have been an overwhelming favorite to repeat as ACC champion if a few key players had not left early for the NFL draft. Despite that, the Yellow Jackets should win comfortably with their pass-light, triple-option attack.

Nebraska showed some potential defensive weaknesses last week, but this won't be the game in which they are exposed — Idaho lost a lot from last year's bowl team, including four of five offensive line starters. Meanwhile, I think Colorado might make it closer than some expect against Cal, but the Buffs still will to their future conference mates.

Likewise, Iowa State should fall to its in-state rival yet again, and while everyone is predicting a shootout in Norman, I think both defenses have something to prove and could make life hard for the opposing quarterbacks. Unlike Oklahoma, Florida State doesn't really have a running game, and that one-dimensionality will be its undoing.

Missouri will win in a laugher, but expect Texas to struggle with mournful Wyoming much as it did last season in Laramie. And yes, although Buffalo probably will lose at Baylor, Turner Gill might find himself wishing he still was with his old team by the time Paul Johnson gets done with him.

Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech all should net uninspiring wins over crappy non-BCS teams. Call me when these two finally play someone with a pulse, mkay?

Georgia Tech at Kansas (FSN)
Yellow Jackets 37, Jayhawks 21

Idaho at Nebraska (FSN PPV)
Cornhuskers 32, Vandals 17

Colorado at California (FSN)
Golden Bears 20, Buffaloes 16

Iowa State at Iowa (ABC)
Hawkeyes 25, Cyclones 20

Florida State at Oklahoma (ABC)
Sooners 21, Seminoles 17

McNeese State at Missouri (FSN PPV)
Tigers 61, Cowboys 14

Wyoming at Texas (FSN)
Longhorns 37, Cowboys 10

Buffalo at Baylor (FCS)
Bears 34, Bulls 28

Louisiana Tech at Texas A&M
Aggies 34, Bulldogs 23

Troy at Oklahoma State
Cowboys 28, Trojans 14

Texas Tech at New Mexico (The Mtn.)
Red Raiders 37, Lobos 21

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