#35 Kansas State 2018 Football Preview

Kansas State Wildcats
Overall Rank: #35
#7 Big 12
 Kansas State Logo
Kansas State was very close to a huge 2017 season. Of their five losses, four of them came by a touchdown or less. This was a group on the cusp of something big. Still, they managed to pick up some good quality wins in Big 12 play and beat UCLA in the Cactus Bowl. In the tough Big 12 it will be difficult for the Wildcats to do much better than they did in 2017, but the potential is there if Coach Bill Snyder can settle on a new quarterback.
2017 Record: 8-5, 5-4
2017 Bowl: Cactus Bowl vs. UCLA (W 35-17)
Coach: Bill Snyder (210-110 at Kansas State, 210-110 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Charlie Dickey, Collin Klein, Andre Coleman
Defensive Coordinator: Blake Seiler
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Alex Barnes, RB, 819 yards
Passing: Skylar Thompson, QB, 689 yards
Receiving: Isaiah Zuber, WR, 510 yards
Tackles: Denzel Goolsby, S, 78
Sacks: Kyle Ball, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: Kendall Adams, S, 3
Other Key Returnees: QB Alex Dalton, WR Dalton Schoen, OL Dalton Risner, CB Duke Shelley, DE Reggie Walker
Key Losses: QB Jesse Ertz, WR Byron Pringle, FB Winston Dimel, DT Will Geary, DE Tanner Wood, LB Jayd Kirby, LB Trent Tanking, DB DJ Reed
Both Skylar Thompson and Alex Dalton saw quality playing time at quarterback in 2017. Thompson threw for 689 yards and five touchdowns, while Dalton threw for 637 yards and three scores and added 500 more yards on the ground. Thompson appeared to be the quarterback of the future, but Dalton played very well in the Cactus Bowl. Whoever is at quarterback will need some help replacing departed receivers Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath. Isaiah Zuber and Dalton Schoen were both productive in 2017 though and are a good duo to build around. Alex Barnes leads a deep group of running backs after rushing for 819 yards and seven scores as a sophomore.
The defense has far more questions than the offense. The front four needs to replace run stuffing tackle Will Geary and will look to Trey Dishon and Drew Wiley to fill the void. Kyle Ball, Reggie Walker and Bronson Massie figure to be the key pass rushers off the edge. At linebacker this is going to be a very young and inexperienced unit. Elijah Sullivan should be the leader of the unit after tallying 28 tackles last year. The secondary lost D.J. Reed early to the NFL, but everybody else returns. Safeties Denzel Goolsby and Kendall Adams are good playmakers and Duke Shelley is an experienced cornerback. If the pass rush can be at least effective, the secondary will improved in 2018.
The Bottom Line:
This team has the talent to be a force in the Big 12 this year. It would be ideal if Kansas State could get off to a quick start, something that has not been easy over the last few years. Last season this group lost four of their first seven games. If that happens again, the Wildcats will be out of the Big 12 race before it even begins.
Projected Bowl: Armed Forces Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 198.8 (32nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 173.8 (107, 10)
Total Offense: 372.5 (95, 9)
Scoring Offense: 32.3 (39, 6)
Rushing Defense: 117.7 (13, 3)
Pass Defense: 309.1 (128, 10)
Total Defense: 426.8 (91, 6)
Scoring Defense: 25.2 (50, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.77 (16, 2)
Sacks: 1.85 (83, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (60, 6)
Madness 2019 NFL Draft Rankings:
#33 Dalton Risner