Keys to the Game: Kansas State

Matt Warden

With the chance for a Big 12 title out the window, the Longhorns will look to maintain — and gain — some pride in their matchup with Kansas State.

The loss to TCU revealed several chinks in Texas’ armour, which Kansas State will look to explot. The Longhorns have to stick to their game plan.

Keep Klein at Bay:
It is no secret quarterback Collin Klein is one of the premier players in the country. His ability to pass the football as well as run it with equal success makes him a threat to any defense. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 11 in points per contest thanks to Klein’s average of three touchdowns per game. While his passing attack isn’t as established as his rushing prowess, Klein showed in his performance against West Virginia — 323 yards and three touchdowns — he can move the ball prolifically through the air, if tested. The Longhorns should look to put loads of pressure on Klein in the pocket to force him into errant throws much like Baylor did. Klein will inevitably pick up yards on the ground and put the ball in the end zone when close to the goal line, but the Longhorns need to pressure him to marginalize this effect. If Klein is hurried enough, his passing will likely suffer and force him into running the football. This will make Texas’ job easier if it knows to focus solely on the running game. Keeping Klein at bay by getting in his face and staying there is paramount for the Texas game plan.

Don’t Take Chances with the Passing Game:
After suriving the Big 12 gauntlet, the Kansas State defense is currently ranked No. 22 in the country, a testament that the unit can match up well with most styles of offense. The Wildcats have picked off 16 passes this season and forced nine fumbles. With Case McCoy under center in this game, Texas cannot take chances throwing the football. McCoy has enough experience to garner respect from Kansas State, but the pressure will be amped up as the Wildcats make their bid for a Big 12 title. Defenders will be glued in their lanes ready to pounce on any wayward throws that McCoy makes. Texas should look to be conservative in the passing game, with a steady amount of play-actions fakes and bootlegs, and force Kansas State to defend conservatively. Any Brett Favre-like plays should be left at home.