Preview: Kansas State vs. Eastern Kentucky

2 Sep

On Saturday evening, Bill Snyder Family Stadium will teem with over 50,000 fans for its 2011 season opener. Kansas State hosts the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, predicted to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference after achieving a 6-5 record last season. In addition to the overarching fact that Kansas State is an FBS school, Eastern Kentucky is an FCS school, and Eastern Kentucky has not defeated an FBS school since 1985, here are a few numbers that clarify the Colonels as serious underdogs.

  • 10 – Eastern Kentucky has not had a season opening win in a decade. Six of those losses came on the road.
  • 4 – Of 20 games played against FBS schools, the Colonels have won four.
  • 0 – The Colonels have not played a single game against a Big 12 team.
  • 49 – Last time the Wildcats played an Ohio Valley Conference school, the game ended with 49 points on the Kansas State side of the board and seven on the side of Tennessee Tech.
As if these historical deficiencies were not condemning enough, there is also the issue of injuries. Wide receiver Orlandus Harris, who was second in the league in receiving yards last season, sustained an injury prior to fall camp and is expected to miss the entire season. Even more detrimental might be the unavailability of quarterback T.J. Pryor, who injured his hand in a preseason scrimmage less than two weeks ago. Because Pryor is out, Eastern Kentucky is expected to start one of two true freshmen: Jared McClain or Travis Carlyle.
Despite all that, Kansas State players are not taking the Colonels lightly. Here’s what a few of them had to say earlier this week.
“Preparing for the first game of the season is always difficult because you’re looking at things that they did last year, and they have new personnel, maybe new coaching staffs here and there. First games are always tough to prepare for. And then when you hear some of their best players are out, so that adds a little bit more mystery of what their plan is and how they plan on attacking the game. But they will have a plan, and we’ve got to be prepared to make adjustments for it.” – Safety Tysyn Hartman

“They’re going to come ready to win, and they’re going to play hard, and we’re going to need to, just like any game, execute to win because winning football games is not easy. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing – what division, what conference, it really doesn’t matter. If you do not come to play, come ready to execute, then you’re going to be in trouble.” – Quarterback Collin Klein

“We’re expecting a very good game. Eastern Kentucky is a very good team. They are a really, really sound fundamentally team, and it’ll be a great opening game for us to see where we’re at, see where we’ve came from and see improvements that we’ve got to make. Any team can lose any given day, so we’ve just got to go out and play it as a conference game, as we would anybody else.” – Offensive lineman B.J. Finney
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