Kansas State Wildcats

Four Keys to Success for K-State vs. South Dakota

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K-State football opens the 2022 football season against South Dakota this Saturday at 6:00 PM in Manhattan. The Coyotes are members of the Missouri Valley Conference of the FCS and made the FCS playoffs last season, so they are a solid program. Regardless of that, if K-State shows up and plays well, they should take care of business and get the victory.

I still have some questions about this team, and I am hoping some of them will be answered during the game on Saturday. Here are four things I would like to see from K-State against South Dakota.

 

1.) Adrian Martinez plays well and has zero turnovers

Martinez threw 30 interceptions and lost 18 fumbles in his 39 games playing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. That is an average of 1.23 turnovers per game. If K-State is to be successful this season and perhaps contend for a spot in the Big 12 championship game, Martinez cannot turn the ball over at that rate. Watching an error-free game from Martinez will make me feel considerably better about how this season might play out.

2.) Productive backup running back(s)

Losing Joe Ervin and Jacardia Wright to the transfer portal after last season was quite a bummer, but Chris Klieman thinks that redshirt freshman DJ Giddens out of Junction City and JUCO transfer Anthony Frias will be able to fill in quite admirably as backup running backs to Deuce Vaughn. The running back position on the team is a definite strength with a healthy Vaughn in the backfield, but it becomes a huge question mark should he have to miss time due to injury. I will be paying close attention to the backup running backs on Saturday.

 

3.) A stout defense

The K-State defense could be one of the better defenses in the Big 12 this year. Led by Felix Aniduke-Uzomah, Daniel Green, Julius Brents, Eli Huggins, and the return of Khalid Duke, I look for this group to set the tone early and shut down South Dakota. The starting defensive unit should not give up more than 10 points to the Coyotes.

4.) Aggressive offensive playcalling

We have a very small sample size with Collin Klein as K-State’s offensive coordinator, watching him call plays against LSU in the Texas Bowl. The Wildcats racked up 42 points and 442 yards of offense in the game and looked great doing it. I look at it this way. Almost anyone is an upgrade over Courtney Messingham as K-State’s offensive coordinator. Klein will likely have some growing pains and make some mistakes as he grows into the role, but I am excited to see what he can do calling plays. We will hopefully not see any “three runs up the middle, three and out, and punt” offensive possessions with Collin Klein running the show. If all four of these things happen on Saturday, K-State will comfortably win the game. I am thinking maybe a score of 40 to 13. Could it be closer? Sure, but I don’t think it will be.

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