Here is everything you need to know about the Wildcats upcoming game in our Kansas State at Vanderbilt preview.
Date: September 16th, 2017 | 6:30 P.M. CT | Vanderbilt Stadium (Nashville, TN)
Radio: IMG Sports Network/ Sirius XM Channel 200
QB Kyle Shurmur
Kyle is the best quarterback Vandy has had since head coach Derek Mason has taken over back in 2014. He is averaging 249 passing yards per game and has thrown seven touchdowns to zero interceptions so far on the young season. Shurmur has completed 76.1% of his passes and has looked sharp thus far.
RB Ralph Webb
Webb is the so called “engine” of this gritty offense. Everything that Vandy does on offense will most likely run through him. He has 37 carries for 108 yards and 2 scores in his first two games and will look to step up big for his team come Saturday.
ILB Emmanuel Smith/OLB Charles Wright
I couldn’t pick just one so I went with the two best linebackers on this defense. ILB Emmanuel Smith will be the tone setter on Saturday while OLB Charles Wright has been red hot in his first two games with 4.5 TFLs. Both guys will have their work cut out for them facing a run heavy, physical offense like Kansas State.
Kansas State Wildcats
QB Jesse Ertz
Jesse Ertz is just as much part of the run game as anyone else is on this offense. While he has been averaging 255 passing yards per game, he has also rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts. He also has completed 70.1 % of his passes and will be a key factor in this game.
RB Alex Barnes
What good is a run heavy team without a solid running back? Therefore, Alex Barnes will be on everyone’s radar on Saturday because he is the feature back in this offense. So far Alex has rushed for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 attempts this season.
DT Will Geary
I know what you are thinking “A defensive tackle? Really?” Yes, really. Look, Vanderbilt is going to run the football until the cows come home and who better to be on the frontlines trying to disrupt that than Will Geary? He will be responsible for keeping the linebackers free and clogging up some of those running lanes.
Battle of the Trenches
When it comes down to it, both teams want to run the pigskin as much as possible. This is who these teams are and the difference between these two teams doing that will be played out in the trenches. While you may not find it that exciting on TV, these guys will be battling it out pound for pound up front. This is going to be a smash mouth, tighten up your chin strap type game. It’s going to be the KSU defensive line vs the Vanderbilt offense line and vice versa. If you love more of the NFL style game, this matchup will suit you perfectly.
KSU Wide Receivers
To me, this could be where Kansas State separates themselves from Vanderbilt on offense. Yes, this is a run first team but don’t let that fool you because they do have some weapons on the outside. Both Bryon Pringle and Isaiah Harris have over 100 yards receiving and Isaiah Zuber isn’t too far behind. Throw in Dominique Heath and this group will be a tough test for the Vandy secondary. Anyone one of these guys can take it the distance with the ball in their hands especially Bryon Pringle.
Kansas State 28, Vanderbilt 17
This will be a hard-nosed football game and while the winner may have some cuts and bruises, the taste of victory will help heal those wounds. Both teams will struggle a bit offensively due to the defenses in this one but there is something that will put the Wildcats on top, the receivers. Like I mentioned in my key storylines, Kansas State has some nice pieces on the outside and with the Vandy defense leaning heavily on the run, one of these four guys are due for a big game. My guess would be Bryon Pringle or Isaiah Zuber. Also, don’t sleep on the legs of QB Jesse Ertz in this one.