Kansas State packs a 1-1 record as it prepares to travel to 2-0 UCLA Saturday for the 9:25 p.m. kickoff.
The Wildcats will be trying to avoid a loss, which would put them at 1-2 to open a season for the first time since 1989 when Snyder’s Wildcats debuted with three straight losses to Arizona State, Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois, before defeating North Texas State.
In addition, the last time K-State opened a season with as few as the 36 points they currently have through two games was, again, in 1989 when losses came to Arizona State, 31-0, Northern Iowa, 10-8.
With those stats being facts and reason for concern, there is also reason for hope.
Daniel Thomas is the real deal. Through two games, Thomas has rushed for 240 yards with only seven yards in losses on a total of 50 carries. Oh yes, he’s also completed his only pass for a touchdown. Thomas’ 120-yard average leads the Big 12.
Brandon Banks has been semi-invisible with just 100 yards for his 10 catches. Against the Cajuns, it was three catches for 33 yards.
Hope: Defensively, K-State has allowed only six series of more than 30 yards, and a total of 249 yards per game.
While moving the ball at a 392-yard per game clip, K-State has only four scores to show for it.
The “D” has been big-play like with its three interceptions and two recovered fumbles. UCLA has put the ball on the ground nine times, but lost only two.
UMass and Louisiana passed a total of 70 times and K-State has just one sack and only three tackles for negative yardage. That figure ranks No. 120 in the nation.
K-State is dominating the time of possession 36:51 to 23:09.
Concern: The Wildcats are converting only 35 percent of their third-down plays. Against Louisiana, it was only 3-of-16.
Tysyn Hartman has been the defensive MVP with a team-high 13 tackles and two interceptions, plus he’s averaging 10.5 yards on his four punt returns.
K-State needs six more wins in the next 10 weeks to become bowl eligible. Of those games, six are against unbeaten teams: 2-0 UCLA, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas, plus 1-0 Texas A&M. Oh yes, another opponent is Oklahoma with a 1-1 record.
K-State will be playing a UCLA team with a back-up quarterback, and then should have the opportunity to get well against Tennessee Tech in a final non-conference game next week prior to opening Big 12 play against Iowa State in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.
Upset the Bruins, and all of a sudden the Wildcats have the opportunity to be 4-1 five games into the season.