With Kansas State holding an edge in every category in today’s 6 p.m. kickoff against Kent State, we’re once going with an abbreviated preview. Here are five things to watch:
1. If you watched the Wildcats two weeks ago, you’ve got to be interested in how Kansas State’s offensive line performs today. Together, K-State’s front five had very little success against Eastern Kentucky and coaches have since made changes to the lineup. Nick Puetz and Colten Freeze are in at guard, and B.J. Finney has switched to center. Eastern Kentucky’s defensive line confused K-State blockers by shifting a lot before the snap. That shouldn’t surprise K-State this time around. With tougher opponents looming, K-State needs to have an improved effort up front.
2. How will John Hubert handle life as K-State’s top running back? He rushed for 91 yards last week while splitting time with Angelo Pease and Bryce Brown. He may still split time with those two ball-carriers today, but he should receive the bulk of the carries. Can he turn in another good effort and cement himself as K-State’s first option? Or will Pease or Brown challenge him?
3. Jordan Voelker, Meshak Williams and the rest of K-State’s defensive line got off to a great start two weeks ago by continually pressuring Eastern Kentucky in the backfield. What will they show today for an encore?
4. Holding on to the football will be key for K-State today. It lost four fumbles and threw an interception in its opener. That can’t happen again. The interception came from Klein on a long pass. It didn’t end up hurting K-State that much, and it wasn’t that big of a mistake. But the fumbles, all four of them, will drive any coach mad. The Wildcats surely spent much of their bye week stressing the importance of ball control. We’ll see the results of that work today.
5. K-State will play its second straight game in front of a sellout crowd today. Will that excitement help get the Wildcats going quickly after an early week off.
Prediction: Kansas State 28, Kent State 10.