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2018

Kansas State

College Football

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Kansas State never really was in the Big 12 conversation last season, yet still managed an 8-5 record with a bowl win and end-of-season victories over OK State and ISU. Considering it started 3-4 with a loss to Vanderbilt, that finish was more than acceptable for Bill Snyder, who is edging closer to 80 years old. It’s more of the same this season as no one expects the Wildcats to do much with an over/under of six wins and projected to finish sixth in the Big 12 with +22500 odds to win the National Championship (at 5Dimes Sportsbook).

There should be hope for KSU and any team in the Big 12 since there isn’t expected to be a dominant squad. The Wildcats return a lot of key pieces from a group that scored 32.1 points per game beginning with every starter on the line. If they can stay healthy at quarterback, scoring should more consistent whether that’s Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson running the show. It’s likely those two will split time again, both the prototypical Snyder QB that can move, but also air it out. Running back Alex Barnes should be set for a better season after going for 702 yards and six touchdowns, while the receivers have enough experience between Isaiah Zuber (51 receptions) and Dalton Schoen (20.4 yards per catch). There is some worry the upside is gone without playmaker Byron Pringle, but with so many other pieces returning, this group will be fine. 

The big thing for K State is to improve defensively after getting torched for more than 310 passing yards per game. That stat is the main reason this team couldn’t stay consistent in the conference despite some good wins. The secondary returns three starters, but lost its top cornerback, which won’t help. The pass rush has to get better in order to help the pass defense and it’s unknown if that will happen unless Reggie Walker makes a leap and Trey Dishon is a monster in the middle. Da’Quan Patton is expected to step into a bigger linebacker role to go with Elijah Sullivan and Sam Sizelove. This defense struggled last year, but per usual has a lot of transfers and the loss of five seniors shouldn’t have a huge impact.

The Wildcats get three winnable games in the non-conference, although they tend to disappoint in the early season. That slip up could occur against Miss. State and Nick Fitzgerald, who could torch this defense (if healthy). The problem in Big 12 play is that the schedule doesn’t allow for much with trips against some of the better teams at West Virginia, Oklahoma and TCU. To surpass seven wins in the regular season, K State may have to steal one on the road at Baylor or ISU, or maybe even sweep games against Texas and OK State. The Big 12 is truly a toss up this season, but it’ll be hard to back what was the worst pass defense in the league a year ago. If the offense is more consistent, eight wins are possible, and if they want a chance at the conference title, the defense has to get better.

 

2018 Kansas State Wildcats Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. South Dakota

Sept. 8 vs. Mississippi State

Sept. 15 vs. UTSA

Sept. 22 at West Virginia

Sept. 29 vs. Texas

Oct. 6 at Baylor

Oct. 13 vs. Oklahoma State

Oct. 27 at Oklahoma

Nov. 3 at TCU

Nov. 10 vs. Kansas

Nov. 17 vs. Texas Tech

Nov. 24 at Iowa State

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