The Week Ahead: Kansas State expected to roll against lowly Massachusetts

Kansas State is a 39-point favorite against Massachusetts. It should get plenty of opportunities to celebrate another win on Saturday.

Kansas State addressed several areas of concern during a 48-27 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend.

It should be able to get totally right against Massachusetts on Saturday.

The Minutemen are coming off a shutout-loss at Wisconsin and a home loss to Maine, a Football Championship Subdivision opponent. Wildcats football coach Bill Snyder likes to get his backups on the field during nonconference games. K-State should be able to build a nice lead and get plenty of new faces out there in this one. The better it plays, the earlier it can begin looking ahead to its Big 12 opener at Texas.

Here is a look at everything else you need to know about the week ahead:

The Game
K-State will go for its first winning streak of the season against Massachusetts at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The game will only be available on K-StateHD.TV. Tickets are sold out.

The Opponent
Much like K-State’s last opponent, Massachusetts has a very solid nickname. I mean, if you can’t support the Minutemen — a group of soldiers who fought for American freedom during the Revolutionary War and literally prepared for battle in a minute — then you’re doing it wrong. That is about the only good thing you can say about the UMass football program right now, though. It is off to a 0-2 start and just lost 24-14 at home to Maine. This might be the worst FBS team out there. It currently ranks 118th in total offense and 119th in total defense.

Last week, it allowed more than 500 yards to Maine and held the ball for just over 22 minutes. Massachusetts should play right into Bill Snyder’s hands.

Players and coaches aren’t allowed to take things for granted, but K-State fans should expect a blowout victory. The Wildcats are favored by 39.

Link to the past
Perhaps the most interesting thing about UMass is that it was the first team Snyder coached against after coming out of retirement in 2009. K-State barely won that game 21-17, and Snyder thought so little of the effort that he wrote a letter of apology to the student body the following week.

UMass was a FCS team back then, but it was an above-average FCS team. Oddly, it enters this game looking much worse now that it is a FBS member.

Depth Chart Update
There is only one change on K-State’s depth chart this week, and it is subtle that a friend made fun of me for simply pointing it out on Twitter. Jack Cantele, who was already obviously the starting kicker, is no longer listed as a co-starter with Matthew McCrane. The job belongs solely to him.

Good rankings, bad rankings
K-State is off to a strong start and a horrible start in two different statistical categories. On the good side, the Wildcats rank first nationally in punt returns. Tramaine Thompson, the newest Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, is a big reason why. He is averaging 47 yards per return. On the bad side, the Wildcats rank 108th nationally in rushing yards. They are averaging 95 yards per game.

Two quarterback system
Snyder wants to make two things clear about the two-quarteraback system he used against Louisiana-Lafayette.

1. Jake Waters is the team’s starting quarterback.

2. Daniel Sams will continue to replace him whenever the situation warrants.

“The bottom line is that you have two fine players and they are very confident in the things that they do,” Snyder said. “When one of them is out on the field there are some things you are missing out of your offense. Both of them performed well enough to be our quarterback.”

Links
– CBS Sports stats guru Jerry Palm doesn’t think much of K-State football right now. He predicts they will miss a bowl game in his latest bowl projections.

– ESPN.com thinks the Wildcats will reach a bowl game, with one analyst predicting the Pinstripe Bowl and another predicting the Holiday Bowl.

– Snyder, as he often does, wrote a letter to North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen to congratulate him for a good game two weeks ago. The note was posted on Twitter, and has since become an Internet hit.

– UMass players were distraught following their loss to Maine.


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E-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com
Twitter: @KellisRobinett