Preview: KSU vs. Texas A&M

12 Nov

Today two Big 12 teams on 2-game losing streaks meet at Bill Snyder Family Stadium to try and get their seasons back on track.

After seven straight wins, the Wildcats have been through the crucible with perhaps two of the more difficult back-to-back opponents in college football – Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The first was an ugly blowout at home, the second was as close as they come in Stillwater. Texas A&M’s last two losses came against Oklahoma and Missouri – the latter in overtime.

Athlon Sports picked the Wildcats (7-2) to finish 8th in the Big 12. It picked Texas A&M (5-4) to finish 2nd.

When you look at these teams from a national perspective, both have numerically some of the absolute worst pass defenses in the country. Of course, the Aggies are one of those pass-happy teams that the Wildcats have faced so often recently. The Wildcats took huge strides toward a legitimate passing game last weekend, but they have quite a way to go. In addition, there have been rumors (none confirmed) that freshman wide receiver Tyler Lockett – who amassed 315 all-purpose yards for KSU against OSU – might be injured and therefore out for this game and possibly more.

Both teams are much better equipped when it comes to rushing offense and rushing defense, though Kansas State probably has a slight edge in both. Quarterback Collin Klein will take it upon himself to make sure of that.

Bottom line, the Wildcats have learned quite a bit in the past two weeks. Here’s what they need to do to win today.

  • Keep OSU’s offense off the field. Cornerback Nigel Malone said the secondary is improving, even if high-octane offenses have obscured that development with their crazy numbers. Still, if time of possession is on the Wildcats’ side, it would be helpful – especially since Texas A&M has a more balanced offense than some of these other Big 12 teams. That said, with the way the Wildcats have struggled against the pass, the Aggies may pass more than usual.
  • Hold onto the football. The Wildcats have been pretty good about limiting turnovers this season, but against Oklahoma State they had several. This cannot happen. It’s a simple, fundamental thing, but you cannot ignore it.
  • Be tricky. Some of KSU’s biggest gains happened when the Wildcats ran misdirections for Lockett. I don’t know if the team has other players it is comfortable running that with or not, but it would definitely be a benefit to get the Aggies off balance by doing something unexpected.

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