Big 12 Previews

Kansas State vs. Kansas: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Kansas

Here is everything you need to know about our upcoming Big 12 match up in our Kansas State vs. Kansas preview and prediction.

Game Info

11:00 a.m. CST; Saturday, October 24th, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas; Bill Snyder Family Stadium

TV: FOX Sports 1 (Eric Collins, Ben Leber)

Radio: Jayhawk Radio Network (Brian Hanni); K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson); Sirius 98, XM 200

Spread: Kansas State -18

Fun Fact: Kansas State and Kansas are an even 27-27-3 when playing in Manhattan. But KU leads the overall series 66-46-5.

 

Key Players

Kansas State Wildcats

RB Deuce Vaughn

As if K-State shouldn’t put more pressure on the true freshman running back, the Wildcats will likely need to the rest of the way since Will Howard is taking over for Skylar Thompson the rest of the season at QB. Vaughn has been one of the most explosive players in the Big 12 this season. He’s a dual-threat player, ranking ninth in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game and is fifth in receiving yards per game. He’s fourth in the Big 12 in all purpose yards as well (129.2 per game).

DE Wyatt Hubert

Hubert was a First-Team All-Big 12 selection in 2019 and is not off to a red hot start in the stat sheet, but he’s still been very effective with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks on the season. The junior from Topeka ranks 13th nationally among active players in career sacks per game (0.48), while he is 14th in tackles for loss per game (0.88). Hubert also had a blocked field goal two weeks ago against TCU.

Kansas Jayhawks

Who is at QB?

Miles Kendrick was not good in last week’s loss at West Virginia. But the question is: who’s the best answer? Freshman Jalon Daniels is dealing with an injury and it’s not expected that he will be back this week. So then does Les Miles roll with Kendrick or does Thomas MacVittie get another look. At this point, I’d give MacVittie a shot. But it’s not clear if he is healthy either after suffering a shoulder injury against Coastal Carolina in the season opener. The point is, we have no idea what KU is doing at QB, the problem is, I’m not sure KU has any idea what it’s doing at QB either.

LB/Safety Davon Ferguson

Ferguson is KU’s leader on the defensive side of the ball and is coming off a solid game with 9 tackles (7 solo, 2 assisted) at West Virginia. Through three conference games, he’s tied for fifth in the Big 12 with 8.3 tackles per game. He had 10 tackles against Oklahoma State and will be needed in the box, blitzing and possibly in some pass protection against K-State this weekend.

 

Key Storylines

Kansas State Wildcats

If you look at things like passing offense, rushing offense, passing defense and rushing defense, Kansas State isn’t going to light up the stat sheet. They’re in the bottom half of the conference in most of those categories. But what they are is incredibly efficient. K-State leads the Big 12 in turnover margin at +7 and have only lost the ball once this year (an interception). Meantime, KU is tied for last in the Big 12 at -4 in turnover margin, with five interceptions, one fumble and only two takeaways in four games. If Kansas State keeps this trend going, they’ll be in very good shape on Saturday.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks need to get a running game going, which is going to be even harder to do with Pooka Williams opting out of the rest of the season. K-State actually ranks eight in the Big 12 in rushing defense. So considering how weak the passing game has been for KU, let’s see if a steady rushing attack can get any traction on Saturday. Expect to see RB Velton Gardner to carry the load. The sophomore from Dallas actually leads the team with 247 rushing yards and two scores. It’s the offense now on your shoulders, young man.

Prediction

Kansas State 38, Kansas 14

The other thing that Kansas State has been very good at this season is the red zone, where they’re first in the Big 12 in red zone efficiency on offense and rank second in red zone defense. Kansas ranks eighth in red zone offense and 10th in red zone defense. Throw in the uncertainty at QB for KU, while the Jayhawks are coming off a long road trip to WVU and the Wildcats have been resting at home, and I see the Wildcats, behind freshman QB Will Howard who had an extra week to learn the playbook, rolling to a comfortable win.

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