The Wildcats used to own Texas, but over the last decade, the Longhorns have quietly put that behind them, and inexplicably, Texas has somehow won five straight games against Kansas State. But this might be the game that ends that streak.
This is Kansas State’s third-straight game against a ranked opponent and present yet another opportunity to shine in a primetime game. The team has rebounded well after losses this year, but it remains to be seen how the Wildcats respond to success. Will the confidence and swagger shown against Oklahoma State be in evidence again tonight?
A lot will depend on who is under center in this game. As Drew Schneider notes here, Collin Klein has shown a lot of faith in Will Howard, crafting plays that take advantage of Howard’s particular skills and what the opposing defense is giving them. Meanwhile, a healthy Adrian Martinez would make the offense less of a quick strike unit, but not necessarily less successful. Klein has said this will be a game-time decision, but if Martinez is healthy, expect to see 9AM play the entire game.
The Kansas State defense has been swarming and opportunistic for much of the season, and currently leads the Big 12 in both interceptions and sacks, and is just behind Iowa State in total defense. If the offense can put together a great first half, expect the defense to put their stamp on the game in the second to ensure victory.
Of course, much of that depends on how Texas plays tonight. The Longhorns have been a bit schizophrenic, and are much in need of a win over a ranked team. They looked fantastic against Alabama in a close loss, but also sloppy in losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It’s hard to know what to expect, but this much is known: RB Bijan Robinson is terrific and currently leads the Big 12 just ahead of our own Deuce Vaughn, and Texas is no slouch on defense. Unusually, Texas is ahead of the Wildcats on special teams, though it would be nice if Kansas State could return a punt for a touchdown against Texas, for old times’ sake.
The Vegas line (-3) currently favors Texas in this game, but prognosticators seem to think Kansas State has the edge. This is also the outlook at Burnt Orange Nation, but honestly, I think they’re doing that reverse hex thing and I don’t trust their deliberate pessimism.
Go Cats, win the dang day!
(This is your all-day open thread, so feel free to leave whatever comments you want, esp. if I accidentally referred to Texas as A&M or something).