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Under The Hood: Kansas State Wildcats

Time to get to know Saturday evenings opponent with a look under the hood at the Kansas State Wildcats. Analysis to follow statistical overview:

Illinois State - W, 24-23
Florida Atlantic - W, 45-0
Marshall - W, 23-7
Louisville - L, 24-6
@Baylor - L, 17-3
Oklahoma State - W, 31-27
Nebraska - L, 21-3
@Missouri - L, 41-21
Iowa State - W, 31-10
@ Colorado - W, 34-21

Margin of victory: +17 points

Their opponents have a combined record of 31-39 record against Division 1 teams for the season. As another rough guide, Jeff Sagarin rates their schedule as the 64th toughest in Division 1 football.

How is Kansas State performing statistically? Below are tables of the Wilcats' season totals, with national rank in parentheses.

Kansas State By The Numbers: Defense

The next, final, step, is to put those numbers into context. The following chart shows the national rank in total offense and total defense for each of Kansas State's 2006 opponents. Illinois State, a Div 1AA team, is excluded.

Kansas State's Opponents' Positional Ranks
Kansas State By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
132.5 (68) 4.48 (30) 13 (49) 190.3 (66) 6.1 (94) 6 (107) 98.61 (112) 322.8 (78) 22.1 (74)
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD Total Defense Scoring Defense
133.1 (56) 3.75 (56) 7 (30) 194.4 (55) 6.5 (41) 15 (86) 327.5 (59) 19.1 (39)
Total Offense Rank Opponent Total Defense Rank
Florida Atlantic
Oklahoma St
Iowa State

So, how's it look for Texas Saturday night?

Pretty good. Kansas State isn't really excellent in any one category, though their pass defense at home (opponent QB rating of 117.6) this season has been noticably better than their pass defense on the road (opponent QB rating of 145.3). Opponents have run the ball reasonably well on Kansas State in both road and home games.

The Wildcats do commit to running the football, and do it pretty well. Perhaps most encouragingly, they ran for 262 yards against Missouri on the road three weeks ago. Wildcat optimists will also note that freshman Josh Freeman had his best game of the season last week in Boulder, in which he completed 15 of his first 16 passes, and 22 of 26 overall (2 TDs, 0 INT).

Still, there doesn't look like much hope for Kansas State in this one. No team has really blown out the Wildcats this year, and the Wildcats do own an impressive win over Oklahoma State, but a win over Texas on Saturday night would be as big an upset as we've seen in college football this season.

For Texas, there appear to be numerous weaknesses to attack. There's certainly room to run, though teams have enjoyed the most scoring success through the air (15 TDs allowed by the Wildcat defense). Might Colt McCoy have another big week? The forecast in Manhattan for Saturday night calls for mild weather, with temperatures in the 40s, so who knows? One wonders if Colt's not "due" for a bad game at some point, but he's shown no signs of slowing down. If he's feeling good again Saturday night, it'll be another long game for Kansas State.

One thing we'll all be watching closely is the Texas run game, which has plateaued in recent weeks. The Wildcats are an average run stopping team, but Texas should easily gain 150-200 yards on the ground if they stick with it. All eyes on Jamaal and Selvin Saturday night.

[Previous "Under The Hood" Articles: Wisconsin, Rutgers]