Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Kansas State vs. Bowling Green preview and prediction.
11 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Manhattan, Kansas, Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson)
Fun Fact: These teams have only met once in their history and it was a 58-0 win by Kansas State on September, 27th, 1997.
Spread (open): Kansas State -23
RB Andrew Clair
Kansas State’s defensive weakness remains in the running game compared to the passing game. That means Clair will have to get going first and open things up for the passing game. Clair opened the season with 14 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown against Morgan State. He’s a veteran who has more than 1,500 career rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. If Bowling Green has a chance at an upset, Clair must have a big day.
LB Kholbe Coleman
In the season opener, Coleman picked up right where he left off in 2018 when he was third on the team with 70 tackles. Last week he finished with five tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry against Morgan State.
RB James Gilbert
James Gilbert is the Ball State transfer who was projected to be the starting running back for most of the offseason in Manhattan, but there’s always questions about a player moving to a new program and making the jump to a Power 5 school. Granted he was not playing Power 5 competition, but Gilbert could not have had a better start to his K-State career last week with a team-best 18 carries and 115 yards with one touchdown. For a team that piled up 361 rushing yards, it was Gilbert leading the charge, and expect more of that this week.
LB Da’Quan Patton
Patton picked up right where he left off last season where he was the team’s leading tackler (70). He led the team with five this past week in the season opener. He’s in his last season of college football and has become one of, if not the, leader on the defensive side for Chris Klieman. Expect him to be all over the field on Saturday.
Bowling Green needs to stop the run. K-State ripped off 58 carries for 361 yards, averaging over six yards per carry against Nicholls. The Falcons need to force the Wildcats to beat them through the air, which was not a strong suit of theirs last season. In 2018, Bowling Green had the worst rushing defense in the MAC, giving up over 280 rushing yards per game, As good as K-State QB Skylar Thompson looked last week, which should scare Bowling Green even further, that’s still their best bet to try and pull off an upset of this size.
The Wildcats need to disrupt the Bowling Green backfield as quickly and as much as possible. Bring the blitz and let the new QB Darius Wade beat you. Wade comes to Bowling Green from Boston College and is replacing Jarrett Doege, who transfered to WVU. He played sparingly at Boston College, leading the team to wins over Louisville, Syracuse and UConn in 2017, but didn’t play last season when he transferred to Delaware. He had a good start to the season last week against Morgan State with three touchdowns, but this K-State defense is a different animal. For a guy who’s seen live bullets just a handful of times the past two years, if K-State can confuse him early and force a turnover or two, the route will be on.
Kansas State 41, Bowling Green 17
Chris Klieman got exactly what he needed last week: a huge and exciting win in front of a home crowd that is very appreciative for everything Bill Snyder did for this program, but seemed ready for some new and fresh blood. Klieman provided all of that and more. I expect more of the same this week as Skylar Thompson’s confidence continues to build thanks to Courtney Messingham’s play calling, the Wildcats pound away at the worst rushing defense in the MAC last season, and the defense overwhelms Wade & Co. as the Klieman tenure goes to 2-0 ahead of a big game at Mississippi State.
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