Sports Extra: Test Time for the Wildcats

Collin Klein

Sept. 24, 2011

Click here to subscribe to K-State Sports Extra


By Mark Janssen

Collin Klein said it best: “We will find out.”

The question posed to the Wildcat quarterback was whether this Kansas State football team was ready for a challenge like the Miami Hurricanes?

“We have made, and are making, improvement,” said the Wildcat quarterback. “We just have to keep it up. Miami is a great team with great team speed. We are going to have to execute our plan well. We will just have to see what happens.”

Handling Miami’s team speed has been the focus of the week, but also not all that easy when you don’t have matching team speed in practice.

“You are what you are. If you do not have people who can replicate what someone else can do, then it hinders your preparation,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder. “That might be true in a lot of different arenas and it is certainly true as it relates to speed. We just do not have it. Not saying that everybody we have is left-footed, but we still do not possess that kind of speed.”

While K-State’s defense against Eastern Kentucky and Kent State has been first-class, it’s not the competition Miami has faced in Maryland and Ohio State.

On his own defense, Snyder says, “I think we are playing harder, playing smarter and playing faster. I think we’re playing a little more aggressively than we did at times last year.”

The Wildcat coach continued, “This is a major step for our defense. It will be very definitive on where we are. Hopefully we play as well as we are capable of playing and continue to make some improvement and that will give us a good assessment of where we are regardless of the outcome. We were better in the first game, we were better in the second game, and that is what I am looking for in this ball game. This will probably give us as good of test as we can have.”

That test will include controlling quarterback Jacory Harris (70 percent passing with two TDs and two interceptions), running back Lamar Miller (151 rushing average per game, 6.9 yards per attempt), and handling a couple of 6-foot-4 receivers in Allen Hurns (10 catches, two TDs) and LaRon Byrd (3 catches).

The key for the Wildcats, says defensive back Nigel Malone, is “… playing tough and playing fast.”

And on offense, Klein says the key is “...we are going to have to take care of the ball. We cannot turn it over, and we still had too many penalties last week. We cannot put ourselves in tough situations by hurting ourselves with penalties; holding, illegal procedures, things of that nature. We cannot turn it over.”

Controlled Passing Games: Going deep with the pass hasn’t been in the cards for either the Wildcats or Hurricanes entering Saturday’s game.

K-State is averaging 122 passing yards per game with two touchdowns and one interception. The Wildcats average 9.4 yards per completion and 5.4 yards per attempt.

After last week’s game Klein said, “I think I am getting better. My eyes were probably a little faster than my feet, and that cannot happen. Like I said, we are making progress. We are growing in our route running ability, and our pass protection is getting better. We are working at it, but we have a long way to go. We are excited to keep improving.”

Miami passes for 159 yards per game with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Hurricanes averaged 9.1 yards per completion and 6.2 yards per attempt.

Overall, Miami ranks No. 102 in the nation in passing and K-State No. 115.

So Far: K-State 2-0 – 10-7 Eastern Kentucky; 37-0 Kent State.  Miami 1-1 – 32-24 loss at Maryland; 24-6 victory over No. 17 Ohio State

Just Stuff: In Bill Snyder’s first 19 seasons, K-State has opened the season 3-0 14 times … it’s the first meeting between the two schools … K-State’s last trip into the state of Florida was in 1976 when it lost to Florida State, 20-10 … the Wildcats are just 2-9 against current members of the ACC … Bill Snyder has won eight of his last 10 non-conference road games. The losses came in 2009 at Louisiana and UCLA.

Goin’ Home: Wildcats returning home to their native state to play are: WR Ed Brown, DT Javonta Boyd, DB Randall Evans, LB Emmanuel Lamur, QB Sammuel Lamur, DB Carl Miles, RB Robert Rose and DB Marc St. Felix.

By the Numbers
.686 – Miami QBs are completing passes at a high rate through the first two games of the season.
1 – That’s where K-State ranks in the nation in scoring defense (3.5 points per game) and total defense (164 yards per game).
2 – Miami’s Jacory Harris has passed for 52 touchdowns, which ranks second in Hurricane history only behind Ken Dorsey with 86.
15 – Manase Foketi will have his 15-game streak stopped of having started every game of his K-State career. The Wildcats’ left tackle is sidelined by an injury.
77 – K-State has scored 77 non-offensive touchdowns since 1999. That’s second in the nation only to Virginia Tech with 82.
179 –The Wildcats have scored in 179 straight games. That dates back to being blanked by Colorado in 1996, 12-0.
312 – Miami’s offensive line averages 6-4, 312 pounds.
66,279 – Miami set a new opening day attendance figure last week in its win over Ohio State.

Players to Watch
K-State:
Collin Klein … how will he handle his first road test of the season; how will he handle Miami’s team speed?

Offensive Line Play … will be vital and the Wildcats will be without Manase Foketi at left tackle and Shaun Simon at center who are out with injuries. Depth has become a concern from tackle-to-tackle.

Arthur Brown … returns to where he started his career. How will he handle the emotions of the day?

Miami:
No. 6 Lamar Miller … will be looking to add to his two-game total of 303 rushing yards and 6.9 yards per carry. He has also returned five kickoffs for a 24.0-yard average. Miller earned National Back of the Week for his 184 yards against Ohio State.

No. 1 Allen Hurns … has caught 10 passes, which includes two for touchdowns. A nice target at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds.

No. 45 Ramon Buchanan … has notched 13 tackles from his linebacker position, which includes two for negative yards.

No. 98 Darius Smith … clogs the middle of the defensive line at 6-foot-2, 360 pounds.

Speaking of Miami, in Case You Missed it: Former K-State RB Daniel Thomas was nominated for the NFL’s Rookie of the Week this past week after rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries and catching a pass for 10 yards in a 23-13 loss to Houston. Thomas, the Dolphins’ top running back, was the first Dolphins rookie to rush for over 100 yards since 2006.

Vital Informiaton: It’s a 2:30 p.m. (central time) kickoff from Sun Life Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPNU with Clay Matvick and Brian Griese in the broadcast booth. The game will be played on natural grass, which will include a dirt portion of the field as Sun Life is also in the its final season as the home of the Florida Marlins baseball team.

Next Week: K-State returns home to start Big 12 play against the Baylor Bears in a 2:30 p.m., kickoff at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game will be televised by ABC.

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Director of Athletics Communications/SID Kenny Lannou. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.