Last time out was a bit of a surprise. The Kansas State Wildcats took control of the game against Stanford from the beginning, asserting their will on defense with a new look, and move the ball as needed on offense without needing to dig too deep into the playbook. It was a great surprise.
Even more surprisingly, today’s game could be a bigger challenge. Sure, Southern Illinois doesn’t have a roster littered with P5 talent and potential future NFL Draft picks, but as Wildcat fans (and the K-State coaching staff) are well aware, good FCS teams are very, very dangerous. And the Salukis are pretty decent.
Not only do they play in the loaded Missouri Valley Football Conference with the likes of North Dakota State, South Dakota State, North Dakota, and Northern Iowa, the Salukis are one of the top teams in that conference and in the nation. They were picked to finish 4th in the MVFC preseason, but ranked #7 nationally before the season started (behind SDSU at #3, NDSU at #4, and ahead of NoDak at #8). Yeah, they should be good.
And seeing what teams behind them in the standings did to Big 12 teams last weekend should be another warning. Sure, Iowa State hung on the beat UNI (5th in the preseason MVFC poll), Oklahoma State eventually beat Missouri State (6th), and KU managed to not lose to South Dakota (8th). But the MVFC teams made the Big 12 schools work pretty hard for those victories. And SIU is expected to be better.
If the Wildcats who arrived in Arlington last week made it back home for this weekend, it’s a game K-State should win easily enough for reserves to see action late. But if the Cats are caught unaware even a little, the Salukis could just make it out of Manhattan with quite the pelt on their belt, or at least make things really ugly.
We’ve got the evening game today, with an 6pm CT kickoff from Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium being streamed for a national audience on ESPN+ with Courtney Lyle (play-by-play), Brandon Weeden (analyst), and Shane Sparks (sidelines) on the call.
If for some reason you don’t subscribe to ESPN+, or just don’t want to
give those greedy bastards more of your money, 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 XM Channel 389, and available on the The Varsity Network app. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, and Twitter updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage.