Fiesta Bowl Preview: When K-State Has The Ball

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Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports /

When K-State opts to receive the ball and Tyler Lockett returns the kickoff to the 50 yard line, the team will have options. Only Bill Snyder knows for sure which route the team will take, but it’s likely to look something like this: run, run, run, pass pass, run, pass, run, pass, pass, random number generator. K-State is a team built to run, but capable of the deep strike if the defense isn’t paying attention, and a seemingly erratic collection of play calls is the best way for the Wildcats to exploit these options.

While Snyder is a proponent of balance, he’s not afraid of calling 75 percent runs if that’s what the Silver Fox believes gives the team the best chance to win. The question is how Oregon lines up on the other side of the ball. While K-State averaged 263 yards rushing through the first five games fo the season, it only accrued 154 yards per game during the final seven. What was the cause for such a precipitous drop? According to running back John Hubert, defenses got sick of affording rushing yards. “As we got deep into the season, teams started playing a lot of eight in the box to slow down our running game,” Hubert said.

If Oregon opts to go with eight up front – and there’s a decent chance they’ll try at some point – Collin Klein is more than capable of airing it out. While K-State was second to last in the Big 12 in passing yards, much of that was due to the team’s emphasis on running. When Klein did throw, he completed 66 percent of his passes, with 9.2 yards/attempt. With 15 touchdowns to only seven interceptions, he achieved a passer rating of 156.1 – a number skewed down by the three picks Klein threw against Baylor in the ‘concussion hangover’ game.