There is a malaise over the Kansas State fanbase. Slow starts in the last few years have created discontent, and the 1-1 start to 2018 has not helped that any.
And what’s worse is how that 1-1 start has happened. A come-from-behind victory over an FCS team, even a playoff team, is nothing to get excited about, and then all the issues that were exposed in the loss to Mississippi St. has created a lot of dissension in the ranks.
So this game may not be critical, but the Wildcats need a strong showing against an 0-2 UTSA team that would be, in most seasons, and walk-over victory. The Cats have issues on offense and defense, and need to get plenty of things worked out today before heading to Morgantown next week to face one of the two best teams in the Big 12 (currently).
There is no question now, Skylar Thompson is the starting QB. That’s some good news, and hopefully he got far more of the starters reps in practice than he had been getting. Alex Barnes was a lone bright spot on offense last week, and the bruising back should have no problem against UTSA. But those two can only shine if the offensive line plays like it did to end the 2017 season, and not like it has to start the 2018 season.
Over on defense, the LB’s were exposed, particularly in the middle. Will Geary covered up a lot of problems be being a Man-Bear in the middle of the line, and his replacement(s) have not been able to give the linebackers time to make adjustments, time they desperately need. The defensive backs looked far improved, though MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald helped them out with plenty of poor throws, but starting strong safety Denzel Goolsby is out with an injury. The defense is losing a leader when it needs him the most.
K-State isn’t likely to light up the scoreboard today, but it needs to win comfortably. The offense needs to keep the ball moving and avoid 3-and-outs and turnovers. It needs to put up more than one touchdown, preferably three or four. And the defense, aided by the offense giving them some rest by staying on the field, needs to yield fewer yards and scores than it did against South Dakota.
Opinion time: A win by two scores or less should be considered failure at this point, at least if you are a fan hoping for a successful season. This game should not be in doubt. This team needs to build some momentum today if it hopes to compete with West Virginia next week, and in the Big 12 early on. I think we’re all tired of waiting until October to see winning football.
We’ve got a mid-afternoon, 3pm CDT, kickoff today, so you should have plenty of time to get yourself prepared for this one, and still have time to get some sleep tonight after celebrating a victory. So during your pre-game, be sure and check out TB’s Kicking the Tires preview of today’s match-up, plus AMS has your How to Watch details, with odds and ticket info.
Today’s contest can be seen nationally on FSN with Mark Followill (play-by-play), Brian Baldinger (analyst), and Lesley McCaslin (sidelines) on the call. You should also be able to stream the game at Fox Sports Go or on the Fox Sports Go app.
If you can’t connect get to a TV, or you don’t have FSN, the game can be heard across the 39-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst), and Matt Walters (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also be on Sirius channel 106, XM Channel 210, and available on the TuneIn app. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, and Twitter updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage from K-State Athletics.