The start of the 2018 has been...underwhelming. Not that it wasn’t expected — many predicted Kansas State would be 2-2 at this point of the season — it’s how the Wildcats have gotten here that has most fans uninspired. A lackluster win to start the season and two blowout losses have left little confidence in this year’s version of the SnyderCats.
But that means nothing today. The Texas Longhorns are in town, and there is something about Manhattan that has stymied the burnt orange bovines again and again. Dating back to
the dark ages 1927, the first time the two teams played in Manhattan, the Longhorns have managed just one win in eight trips to the Little Apple. And overall, K-State is one of the few teams in the nation with a winning record against Texas, holding a 10-8 all-time advantage. To their credit, the Longhorns have made a comeback at home lately, winning each of their last three against the Wildcats in Austin, but they just can’t get over the hump on the road.
Lets hope that it stays that way today.
The Longhorns will face something different today than the Wildcats first four opponents. Alex Delton is expected to trot out first at QB today, replacing starter Skylar Thompson behind center. Delton came in against the Longhorns last year after starter Jesse Ertz was injured, and managed to keep the Wildcats in the game with a touchdown run in the third quarter and another to keep the overtime period going. Delton went just 2-5 for 30 yards through the air that night, but grabbed 79 yards on 12 carries and 2 TD’s on the ground, leading the Wildcats in rushing on the night. You would be safe to assume that Bill Snyder is hoping for more of the same from the junior signal caller in today’s contest.
Keeping it on the ground might not be a bad strategy for the Wildcats. The break-out star for the Longhorns has been freshman safety Caden Sterns, who snagged 2 interceptions against TCU and helped lead a unit that held TCU QB Shawn Robinson to a QBR of just 37.0, his lowest output of the season.
One thing going for the Wildcats today is that offensive coordinator Tim Beck is not making the trip up north after being hospitalized with an infection (get well soon, Coach Beck!). While that won’t be a major blow to play-calling, Texas head coach Tom Herman has called plays in games as late as last year’s bowl victory, it could cause enough change-up on the sidelines to keep the Longhorns off balance for a while. That’s good news for a Wildcat defense that has been okay, but has been sub-par at preventing “successful” first and second down plays against Power 5 competition.
Until proven otherwise, expect K-State to win the game today. It may not be pretty, but as long as the Wizard is still on the sideline, expect the expected.
We’ve got a mid-afternoon, 2:30pm CDT, kickoff today, and it will be cool and rainy in the Little Apple. So while you’re keeping yourself warm during your pre-game, be sure and check out TB’s Kicking the Tires preview of today’s match-up.
Today’s contest can be seen nationally on on FS1 with Tim Brando (play-by-play), Spencer Tillman (analyst), and Holly Sonders (sidelines) on the call. You should also be able to stream the game at FoxSportsGo.com or on the FoxSportsGo app.
If you can’t get to a TV, or you don’t get FS1, 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 200, 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.