Pratt columnist picks Wildcats again after convincing Saturday football win over Nevada
The 25th-ranked and 3-0 Kansas State Wildcat football team put together an impressive win over the Nevada Wolfpack last Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, 38-17. This Saturday the Wildcats go south to Stillwater, Oklahoma where they will face the 3-0 Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff which will be televised on ESPN+.
Against Nevada, K-State started out fast again this week as sophomore quarterback Will Howard hit in stride grad transfer senior tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe for a 68-yard pass and run for a touchdown on the second offensive play of the game. Nevada would score a touchdown in the wanning seconds of the opening quarter to make it 7 all. The Wildcats would score all the points in the second quarter and go into the locker room at half up 17-7. The third quarter was pretty much all Wolfpack as they tied the score and had the momentum by the Wildcats started to really rely on the ground game. Deuce Vaughn would score from 11-yards out on a drive that went 75 yards in eight plays with six of those on the ground. Nevada would get a first down on the next drive and move the ball into Kansas State territory, but the Wildcats would stop Nevada’s quarterback a yard short on a 4th downplay and give the ball back to the K-State offense. The offense didn’t disappoint as they went 62-yards in 11 plays of which eight of them were behind the offensive line to raise the lead to 14 points 31-17. The Wildcat D held again by getting another 4th down stop and the offensive would again capitalize. Eight plays and a little over four minutes later the Wildcats would get another rushing touchdown and give the game its final margin of 38-17.
On the day the Wildcats had 21 first downs to Nevada’s 14 and the Wildcats had 269 yards rushing while the Wolfpack only gained 25 yards on 23 attempts. Vaughn led the team in rushing getting with 128 yards, which is his fifth straight game with at least 100 rushing yards. He now has over 1,000 rushing in just 13 games and to give you some insight into that it took Alex Barnes 20 games and the great Darren Sproles 14. Fellow sophomore Joe Ervin picked up 82 yards on 11 carries and Howard had 60 yards on the ground. Howard completed seven of his 10 pass attempts for 123 yards and junior Phillip Brooks caught five of them. The Wildcat defense was again stellar as they now rank 6th in the nation in run defense allowing only 54.7 yards a game and just 1.9 yards per carry. Junior linebacker Daniel Green had a team high 9 tackles on the day and they were all solo tackles. Senior transfer safety Russ Yeast had 4 tackles while senior safety Ross Elder and senior transfer cornerback Reggie Stubblefield had 3.
The unbeaten Cowboys have not looked particularly good this year as all their wins have been close. They beat Missouri State 23-16, Tulsa 28-23, and last Saturday they survived Boise State 21-20. Junior quarterback Spencer Sanders has started the last 2 games and is completing 54% of his 39 pass attempts for 255 yards. Senior running back Jaylen Warren has rushed for 264 yards on 52 attempts with four touchdowns. Sophomore Breenan Presley has nine catches while freshman Jaden Bray has a team high 136 receiving yards. Senior linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez leads the Cowboys with 36 tackles. Oklahoma State is 9th in the Big 12 in total offense gaining just 336.7 yards and they are 8th in total defense giving up 328.7 yards a game.
This is the conference opener for both teams and again the Wildcats start Big 12 play on the road. KSU and OSU are shooting to play in the Big 12 title game and a lose would not knock either team out, but it would make it much more challenging. This series has been close as O-State has won two in a row including last year 20-18 and the last time in Stillwater it was 26-13. I think the score this Saturday will be something similar to those but this time the team from Manhattan will win. The Wildcat offense will keep getting better and the defense is already very good and fast. K-State starts the Big 12 season with a road win as they win this one in the second half. Kansas State 31, Oklahoma State 22.