#39 Kansas State Football 2014 Preview

Kansas State Wildcats

Overall Rank: #39
#6 Big 12

Kansas State Team Page#39 Kansas State Football 2014 PreviewBuy Kansas State Football Tickets

The head coach at Kansas State from 1989-2005, Bill Snyder returned to Manhattan in 2009 and has had a tremendous amount of success. He led the Wildcats to just its third conference title in school history in 2012 and the team made a BCS Bowl. Last season, the team’s performance dropped some, as they had to replace do it all quarterback Colin Klein. Snyder will look to bounce back in 2014, and with a number of key returnees back, this team should be in the mix in the Big 12 this season.

2013 Record: (8-5, 5-4)
2013 Bowl: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Defeated Michigan 31-14)
Coach: Bill Snyder (178-90 at Kansas State, 178-90 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dana Dimel/Del Miller
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Hayes

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jake Waters, QB, 312 yards
Passing: Jake Waters, QB, 2,469 yards
Receiving: Tyler Lockett, WR, 1,262 yards
Tackles: Jonathan Truman, LB, 89
Sacks: Ryan Mueller, DE, 11.5
Interceptions: Dante Barnett, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: WR Curry Sexton, TE Daniel Trujillo, FB Glenn Gronkowski, OL B.J. Finney, OL Boston Stiverson, OL Cody Whitehair, DT Travis Britz, DB Randall Evans, K Jack Cantele, K Ian Patterson

Key Losses: RB John Hubert, WR Tramaine Thompson, QB Daniel Sams, OL Tavon Rooks, OL Cornelius Lucas, DE Alauna Finau, DT Chaquil Reed, LB Blake Salughter, DB Dorrian Roberts, DB Ty Zimmerman, DB Kip Daily, P Mark Krause

The Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett connection will be back to lead a dangerous aerial attack. Waters emerged as the starter in his first season with the program after transferring in from a junior college and found his security blanket in Lockett. The two-time All-American caught 81 passes last season to go along with 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns, and is on the verge of setting multiple school receiving records. Lockett is also a dangerous return man, and should handle both the kick and punt returns this season. When Lockett is covered, Waters has the luxury of a solid second option in receiver Curry Sexton, who caught 39 passes for 446 yards last year. Defensively, Kansas State returns only five starters, but all five are big time players. On the defensive line, Ryan Mueller and Travis Britz are back after big seasons. Mueller made 62 stops from his defensive end position, to go along with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks, while Britz had 37 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss playing inside as a defensive tackle. Jonathan Truman is the lone starter back at linebacker, but he was second on the team in tackles last season with 89. Three starters are gone in the secondary, but Dante Barnett is back after making 75 tackles to go along with a team high four interceptions, while Randall Evans made 59 tackles as a starting corner and also led the team in pass breakups, 12, and pass deflections, 14.

The Wildcats have one major need and that is at running back. John Hubert ran for over 1,000 yards last season and the backup quarterback added 807, but both are gone leaving Waters as the leading returning rusher. Senior Demarcus Robinson and sophomores Charles Jones and Jarvis leveret will compete for the job. Robinson is the only one with experience, and he only had five carries last season for 20 yards. Good news for whoever the running back is though is that all-conference fullback Glenn Gronkowski and a trio of offensive lineman, B.J. Finney, Boston Stiverson and Cody Whitehair are back to pave the way.

The Bottom Line:
A lot of the success for this season will depend on how the running game develops. Waters and Lockett will feature in a prominent passing offense, but if they can’t get a running game going for balance, things could go wrong as it would allow teams to drop back, expecting the pass. Whoever is the running back should be walking into a good opportunity. With key blockers back and a high powered passing offense, there should be little pressure and plenty of holes to run through. Defensively, the key players are back, and if there are some players ready to step up and join them, Kansas State should be back in a bowl game and could surprise a few people in the Big 12.

Projected Bowl: Cactus Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 178.0 (54th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 224.7 (73, 6)
Total Offense: 402.7 (71, 7)
Scoring Offense: 33.2 (37, 4)
Rushing Defense: 139.1 (27, 3)
Pass Defense: 219.8 (48, 4)
Total Defense: 358.8 (26, 3)
Scoring Defense: 22.9 (33, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.0 (61, 6)
Sacks: 2.15 (56, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (60, 6)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#93 B.J. Finney


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews