When K-State takes the field against Texas tomorrow, Vegas oddsmakers are predicting that 58 points will be scored, and Texas will triumph by about six points (ranges from five to seven on most sites). That equals out to a score of 32-26 when the clock hits zero. Are the Wildcats to be held to 26 points? If history (both years past as well as the last two weeks) is any indication, Daniel Sams (or whoever gets the starting nod) will do much more damage than that.
We start with the basic premise: Texas has struggled defending the zone read recently. What does K-State do well? Hahahaha. After three games of seeing Jake Waters start while Daniel Sams has seen increased playing time in each contest, this may be his first start as Texas has a nasty secondary that’s difficult to throw against, but looks ill-equipped to stop mobile signal callers from running or pitching the ball.
What state is the K-State offensive line in? Because that’s the key to the running game establishing itself. Despite looking solid against lowly UMass, the performance has been far from consistent this year – they’re allowing pressure on Jake Waters and failing to open up regular holes in the run game. Right guard Keenan Taylor is listed as a starter again on this week’s depth chart, implying Boston Stiverson will miss his fourth straight game with an injury. Sams can create his own opportunities, but will still need help.
On special teams, Tyler Lockett gets his first return for a touchdown. Teams have refused to kick to him all year – North Dakota State was actually squid kicking the entire game because the Bison were afraid to give him an opportunity. Tramaine Thompson had a touchdown return against Louisiana-Lafayette, but that opportunity happened when the Cajuns kicked the ball to the opposite sideline – and Lockett was still instrumental in that score with an essential block. However, Texas won’t be afraid to kick it his way. The Longhorn ego is too big. They have second and third-stringers playing special teams that would start for Massachusetts. They will believe in themselves enough to test K-State’s return game. And Lockett and Thompson will punishe them while demonstrating why they’re the best return duo in the nation.
So that’s seven quick points, 19 to go. As discussed yesterday, Texas is facing more injuries than the Wildcats at this stage in the season, and doesn’t have the most cohesive unit. Plus, it’s looking like David Ash may not be ready to play tomorrow, which means Case McCoy is good for throwing at least one interception. That’s probably true even with Ash starting, as Ty Zimmerman refuses to be ignored and Kip Daily is looking increasingly impressive. Daily had two picks last week, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Ryan Mueller tips a ball into the air Saturday, Daily naps it out of the air and returns it for another score. That’s 14 points I’m calling for the Wildcats before the offense even takes the field.
Maybe Texas addresses all the deficiencies it’s displayed the past two weekends. I doubt it. They allowed 550 rushing yards against BYU! That’s a flukey number, but too big to not be at least partially the result of underlying issues. Then Ole Miss rolled up 44 points on Mack Brown while averaging six yards per carry with 272 total rushing yards. Sams breaks at least one long touchdown in this one. John Hubert punches in another following a long drive. Those two scores definitely happen, totalling 28 and already surpassing Vegas’s prediction. Beyond that, I think Zach Trujillo has been looking great and finds himself left alone for a 25 yard touchdown reception sometime in the third quarter. And that’s your sum total, as the coaching staff apparently doesn’t opt for kick field goals anymore.
I’d like to say K-State will roll up five rushing touchdowns, but I’m still not sold that the offensive line is ready to resemble its dominant 2012 version. Texas has to make some sort of improvement. But three offensive touchdowns is reasonable. One on special teams and another from the defense I
want need expect. That’s 35 points. Go ahead, give Texas the 32 points Vegas predicts. That’s a three point victory in Austin for the Wildcats and a 1-0 start to Big 12 play. Calling it. K-State (still) owns Texas. Time to go collect rent.