College Football Preview: The 2014 Kansas State Wildcats
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2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Kansas State Wildcats finished 8-5 and reached a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season. While the Wildcats weren’t able to win double-digit games for a third straight year, they did win a bowl game for the first time since 2002. Head coach Bill Snyder has proven once again that Kansas State is a program that should be taken seriously in the Big 12. The Wildcats have now won 29 games in the last three seasons and ended last year winning six of their last seven games. It’ll be interesting to see what this year holds.
Offense: Jake Waters did a wonderful job in replacing Collin Klein, and he’s returning for his senior season. Last year, Waters completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns. Waters also carved up the Michigan Wolverines defense in the bowl game for three touchdowns and 271 yards. Waters will also have much of last year’s offensive line protecting him, while Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton hold down the fort at wide receiver. The one issue with Kansas State’s offense is at running back with John Hubert no longer on the team. Last year, it was Hubert and a group of quarterbacks who led the way in rushing yards. Senior DeMarcus Robinson will finally get his chance to shine.
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Defense: Last year nobody knew what to expect from a Kansas State defense that pretty much lost the entire starting unit. This year, the Wildcats enter the season with one of the best pass rushers in the Big 12 in Ryan Mueller. Mueller racked up 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackled for loss last season and will be the centerpiece behind a promising, young KS defense. Jonathan Truman is another experienced player who will lead a young group of linebackers, while Randall Evans provides starting experience in the defensive backfield. Besides those few guys, Kansas State is extremely young on the defensive side of the ball. But don’t let that fool you, as D'Vonta Derricott, Terrell Clinkscales and Colborn Couchman are all going to make big time splashes this season with their above-average skill sets. This defense has the pieces in place to be one of the best in the conference, it just needs some leadership.
Special Teams: Jack Cantele returns at kicker after making 11 of his 13 field goal attempts last season. The Wildcats, however, will need to find a replacement for punter Mark Krause.
Outlook: The Wildcats have proven that they’re a team that’s going to fight until the end and usually wins when everybody least expects it. We’ll find out just how good Kansas State can be when it takes on Auburn in the first month of the season. On paper, Kansas State has what it takes to make a decent run at a Big 12 title, especially if the defense can rise to the occasion once again. Watch this Kansas State team closely because it will continue to turn some heads.