HCS Op-Ed: K-State battles for the Big 12 title and playoff spot

With four games remaining this season the Wildcats are atop the Big 12 Conference standings with a 5-0 record against conference opponents.

Since their Sept. 18 loss to Auburn, the Wildcats have been on a roll, winning five straight games. On Saturday, the Cats travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU with eyes on the Big 12 title and a spot in the playoff.

Jake Waters has played a lead role in the Wildcat’s success this season. As a very accurate passer, Waters has brought a prominent passing attack to K-State which has been a week point for the team in previous seasons. It has been exciting to watch his progression from last season as he has become an elite quarterback in the Big 12. The leadership that Waters has brought this season is just what the Cats needed.

In order for the Wildcats to have a chance at defeating TCU Waters will need to continue his consistent play from the quarterback position. It is also crucial that the Wildcat defense makes some key stops against the talented TCU offense. TCU currently ranks second nationally in points per game with 48. Horned Frog quarterback Trevone Boykin has been impressive to say the least. Boykin only threw for seven touchdowns last year, but he has already thrown 22 this season.

I will be looking for senior defensive end Ryan Mueller to put some pressure on Boykin. The secondary of the Wildcats will need to slow down a TCU passing game that can put up points in a flash. Junior defensive back Morgan Burns could provide the much needed spark for the K-State defense as he has picked off three passes this season.

There are several key factors that the Wildcats need to focus on in order to defeat the Horned Frogs. The Wildcats will need to find a way to force TCU to run the football. The K-State defense has shown all year that they know how to stop the run, and made a statement against Auburn. Time management will also be key for the Wildcats. Bill Snyder’s teams have been one of the best in time of possession over the past few seasons. The longer the Cats can hold on to the football and keep Boykin on the sideline the better off they will be.

Not only is the Big 12 title on the line for K-State, but a potential spot in the four team playoff could be up for grabs as well. A loss at this point will basically eliminate the Wildcat’s playoff hopes. Regardless of who wins the Big 12 it will be interesting to see how the selection committee views the conference. If the Cats can find a way to run the table, I believe that they have a great chance to make the playoff. It won’t be an easy feat, but the Wildcats are in prime position to make a run at history.

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