2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Kansas State Offense
The running game has to be dominant. The new Kansas State coaching staff should be able to take what the program wanted to do under the old regime, and make it even more Kansas Statey.
North Dakota State ran at will last season with close to 4,300 yards, 286 yards per game, and 54 scores on the way to the FCS national title. The parts are there at K-State to try to do the same after running for just 2,191 yards and 20 scores. The Wildcat hit the 200-yard mark just four times after getting there seven times in 2017 and nine times in 2016.
Biggest Key To The Kansas State Defense
The pass rush has to show up. Kansas State normally hovered around the 25-30+ mark in sacks, and more than that, was able to keep Big 12 quarterback uncomfortable. The 18 sacks and 50 tackles for loss last season all ties into the puzzle that didn’t quite fit, mostly when it came to stopping teams on third downs.
The pieces are there with everyone who came up with a sack last season returning, but only six players were able to get to the quarterback. Double the sack production, and the D suddenly becomes a possible killer.
Key Player To A Successful Season
RB James Gilbert, Sr.
The season is all about whether or not QB Skylar Thompson is the real deal, but finding an explosive running back is a big deal for what the offense needs. The depth is a bit lacking, and it’s going to take some help from the recruiting class, but the 5-9, 198-pound Gilbert has to blossom with the big-time role.
The former Ball State Cardinal ripped off a 1,332-yard, 12 touchdown season in 2016, but he was banged up throughout the last two years and struggled to generate the same burst and production. As long as he’s averaging five yards per carry, he should be okay.
Key Game To The Kansas State Season
at Oklahoma State, Sept. 28
It’s the Big 12 opener, and it comes after getting a week off to prepare. Oklahoma State has to go to Texas the week before, and after this, Kansas State doesn’t leave the Kansas until November 9th.
For all of the Wildcats’ problems last season, it was able to whack around the Cowboys for the second year in a row with a 31-12. Make it three straight, and K-State might just be a player in the Big 12 chase.
– Kansas State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Kansas State Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Opponents 77 – Kansas State 30
– Sacks: Opponents 34 for 235 yards – Kansas State 18 for 122 yards
– Red Zone Scores: Opponents 36-of-41 (88%) – Kansas State 31-of-40 (77%)