With all the questions and controversy last week surrounding K-State’s starting quarterback situation, head coach Chris Klieman pulled a fast one on the fans and media by starting both Will Howard and Avery Johnson in K-State’s 41-3 victory over TCU. Will Howard started behind center in the shotgun. Avery Johnson lined up as slot receiver, went in motion, and Howard took the snap and handed it off to him for a gain of a few yards. Howard led the first drive for a touchdown, and K-State never looked back. Howard and Johnson alternated series, and it worked brilliantly. K-State outgained TCU 587 yards to 300 yards in the game, 343 to 113 in rushing yards. I expect to see much more of the same against the Houston Cougars this Saturday.
In a statistic that I found mind-blowing, both of K-State’s quarterbacks were in the top six in the country in quarterback rating for Week 8. Will Howard was the No. 2 quarterback with a rating of 97.6, and Avery Johnson was the No. 6 quarterback with a rating of 91.6. To qualify for the list a quarterback must play at least 20 snaps in a game. It was quite an offensive performance that K-State put on against TCU. Can they keep the momentum going against Houston?
I looked at the offensive and defensive statistics of both teams and found some discrepancies that may help predict how this game will play out. First, I’ll analyze what K-State needs to do when they have the ball.
K-State is 13th in the country in total offense, averaging 474.7 yards per game. They are also 3rd in rushing offense (232.7 yards per game) and 56th in passing offense (242 yards per game).
Houston’s total defense is 111th in the country, giving up 419.3 yards per game on average. They are 90th in rush defense (159.1 yards per game) and 115th in pass defense (260.1 yards per game.)
What does this tell me? We will be watching one of the best offenses in the country playing against one of the worst defenses. More specifically, one of the best-rushing offenses against one of the worst rushing defenses. K-State should be able to run the ball at will against Houston’s defense. Running the ball sounds like a recipe for success to me.
What about when Houston has the ball? The Cougars are ranked 55th in the country in total offense, averaging 407.9 yards per game. They are 106th in rushing offense (116.9 yards per game) and 21st in passing offense (291 yards per game).
K-State has the number 56 defense in the country, giving up 363.1 yards per game. They are 23rd in rushing defense (108.9 yards per game) and 110th in pass defense (254.3 yards per game.)
We’re also going to see one of the best passing offenses in the country against one of the worst pass defenses in the country. Houston should be able to move the ball effectively through the air. It’s a good thing K-State cornerback Will Lee is expected to be back at full strength. They’ll need him.
K-State will try to control the game on the ground, while Houston will throw it around the yard. Which strategy will work? I’ll go with the run game and controlling the clock, which K-State should be able to do.
I also found an interesting tidbit about common opponents. Comparing scores against common opponents isn’t an exact science, and you can’t always glean a lot from it, but I think I can in this case. Both Houston and K-State have played TCU and Texas Tech. TCU and Texas Tech both beat Houston by at least three touchdowns.
TCU 36, Houston 13
Texas Tech 49, Houston 28
Houston got blown out by both TCU and Texas Tech, and K-State blew out both of those teams. The closest margin was 17 points against Tech.
K-State 41, TCU 3
K-State 38, Texas Tech 21
The point spread has K-State favored by 17.5 points. I think K-State covers, and it will be a high-scoring affair.