Finally! After an off-season that saw a seismic shift in the college football landscape, we can finally stop talking about conference realignment and focus all our attention to the game between the white lines. It’s game day at last.
Kansas State takes the field tonight against Southeast Missouri at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM, and the game can be seen on ESPN+/Big 12 Now. The game will also be available on radio via KStateSports.com. This is the first ever meeting of the two programs.
All the stories around this game revolve around how Kansas State will respond to sky-high expectations a year after winning the Big 12. Head coach Chris Klieman has insisted that there will be no looking ahead. The team’s primary focus is on itself, on improving every day, on finding out who is the next man up.
The players have been waiting a long time to take the field in an actual game, and along the way they have fought the rigors of camp, including scorching temperatures, as well as their own nervous anticipation and various other distractions. But now it’s finally time to put it all together, and “tee it up against somebody else,” as quarterback Will Howard notes.
Howard went on record earlier this week, telling everyone that the Wildcats would like to score 50 points a game this season. If this sounds unusually cocky to long-time observers of the program, consider for a moment that Howard’s lofty claim actually comes from offensive coordinator Collin Klein! (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle)
Speaking of quarterbacks, the backup situation remains uncertain (Robinett, Eagle). Klieman has not tipped his hand about whether sophomore Jake Rubley or true freshman Avery Johnson will play behind Howard, but it’s likely that both players will see the field against SEMO. (Arne Green, Topeka Capital-Journal)
Questions also abound at running back, a position with a bit of a vacuum now that Deuce Vaughn suits up for the Dallas Cowboys. Luckily, there’s enough depth in that position to set most worries to rest. The Wildcats will probably go to a committee approach with four different players toting the rock. Redshirt sophomore DJ Giddens and Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward are probably going to get most of the carries, but expect to see a lot of JC transfer Anthony Frias and freshman Joe Jackson too.
While Kansas State is a massive favorite to win this game according to ESPN, a number of key players on the depth chart may be sitting this one out with injuries, including Christian Duffie (OL), Uso Seumalo (DT), Daniel Green (LB), and Seth Porter (WR), all game-time decisions at this point. On a brighter note, a number of other players appear to be recovered from injuries and will be able to contribute right away.
As always, since Kansas State doesn’t play until later tonight, this is your open thread for all of today’s other games. A full listing of games is available HERE.
Go Cats! Win the dang day!