No. 18 Texas at No. 6 Kansas State
Saturday, 8:00 PM EST – ABC
Line: Kansas St. -11.5
The Wildcats' dreams of playing for a national championship ended two weeks ago with a flameout loss to Baylor. All's not lost, however, as K-State still has a chance to win just the second conference title in legendary coach Bill Snyder's career.
Standing in Purple Kansas' way: a downtrodden Texas team that lost its Thanksgiving day showdown against TCU.
For Texas to Win: The Longhorns need to forget about last week.
Mack Brown's program used to boast a well-deserved reputation for their ability to bounce back from setbacks. As of late, however, it seems as though UT has a tendency to mope following a defeat. Texas has the personnel to hang with KSU, but who knows where their heads are at?
For Kansas State to Win: Keep it simple.
To call TCU's game plan against Texas "vanilla" would be an insult to blandness. The Horned Frogs hit UT up with a steady diet of zone read and inside zone. In total TCU ran the ball 48 times and had a mere 10 pass attempts for the game.
KSU doesn't need to copy the Horned Frog formula to win this game, because the Longhorns' losses have all generally been variations on the same theme. Stick to the ground game and watch Texas' mistakes pile up. The sad truth for Bevo is that the 'Horns defense will pretty much hand the game over to a sound team like KSU.
Key Player, Texas: The 'Horns desparately need a big game from someone on the second level of their defense to keep Collin Klein in check. How about Kenny Vaccaro? The senior safety is second on the team in tackles this season and possesses the do-it-all skills to provide support against KSU's power running game and cover over the middle when the Wildcats turn to their efficient pass attack.
Key Player, Kansas State: With safety Ty Zimmerman out of commission against Baylor, KSU's D fell apart. Zimmerman's status for Saturday remains up in the air. If he can't go, it could leave K-State vulnerable to the deep ball.
(Whether or not Case McCoy – he of the minimal arm strength – could take advantage is another story.)
Key Stat: +1.82.
At 29 turnovers gained and 9 lost on the season, Kansas St. is nearly two turnovers better than its opponents on average per game, according to cfbstats.com. That's tops in the country.
It reflects the discipline and attention to detail that have become hallmarks of Snyderball. If Texas doesn't take care of the ball, the Wildcats will make UT pay.