The Week Ahead: K-State hopes for sixth straight win over struggling Texas

Kansas State and Texas are teams heading in opposite directions.

The Wildcats have bounced back well from an opening loss with back-to-back wins and seem to have their running game back on track just in time for the start of Big 12 play.

The Longhorns have lost back-to-back games in embarrassing fashion (they let BYU and Mississippi combine for more than 800 rushing yards) and it seems like everyone and their dog is calling for longtime coach Mack Brown to resign.

It would seem as though K-State is catching Texas at the right time. There is one amazing soap-opera going down in Austin right now. But maybe this is the week the Longhorns figure out how to defend the zone read. Las Vegas oddsmakers clearly think that much is possible, as they have made Texas a four-point favorite.

One thing is for sure: This is a very important game for both teams. The winner will start the Big 12 season with a victory and pick up valuable momentum heading into important stretches. The loser will need to climb out of a hole. K-State has shown progress in its past two games, but the Wildcats don’t have much room for error at 2-1 with a trip to Oklahoma State up next. Texas is already in a world of hurt at 1-2. You have to wonder if players would quit on Brown after another loss.

Here is a look at everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 37, UMass 7

Kansas State’s 37-7 victory over Massachusetts went as expected. The Wildcats were heavy favorites, and they trounced the lowly Minutemen in a game that was never close in the second half.

There were good plays. There were bad plays. You could take this game in a number of different ways.

For now, let’s just focus on the most pertinent question: Is K-State ready for its Big 12 opener against Texas?

On one hand, the Wildcats could use some work on defense. And Jake Waters needs to stop throwing interceptions. On the other hand, what’s going on in Austin right now is a soap-opera. The Longhorns are coming off back-to-back brutal losses and the fan base is furious. Coming off back-to-back wins, the Wildcats are in much better shape.

Again, you could answer the question in a number of different ways.

Here is what K-State coach Bill Snyder said Saturday night: “We need to get a whole lot better real quick. Real quick. Texas is good. I understand they are going through some tough times, but don’t dare underestimate the University of Texas. They will be a handful for anybody.”

And with that, here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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K-State’s best unsung summer players

By now, it’s pretty obvious that players such as Tysyn Hartman, Arthur Brown and Collin Klein are excelling at Kansas State’s voluntary summer workouts. All three have been voted captains by their teammates, and all three were invited to Dallas for Big 12 Media Days by coach Bill Snyder.

But what about the players further down the depth chart? What about some newcomers? Who came into the offseason flying under the radar (excuse the cliche) but now has a chance to turn a few heads during games?

I asked those questions earlier this week, and came away with a handful of answers.

On the offensive line … “A lot of guys are working hard up front,” said Klein, a junior quarterback. “Clyde Aufner, B.J. Finney, Colten Freeze, I could go on and on.”

Aufner started eight games a year ago at tackle and as a senior should be one of the leaders on K-State’s line. Finney received great reviews from teammates at the end of spring practices. I will be surprised if he doesn’t start at center as a redshirt freshman. Freeze played in all 13 games last season in a reserve role, but could make a run at starting right guard this year.
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