The Kansas State Wildcats are in a free fall, dropping four straight contests after starting the season 4–1 and flirting with Big 12 Championship hopes. The Wildcats beat then-No.3 Oklahoma 38-35 in the second game of the season but have declined since a shoulder injury in the third game of the year knocked senior quarterback Skylar Thompson out for the season. Despite an abysmal losing streak, Kansas State can secure a bowl game berth with a win over Texas in its final game of the regular season.
Here are four Wildcats to watch for Saturday:
No. 22 Deuce Vaughn — Running back
Deuce Vaughn may stand at only 5 feet, 5 inches and 168 pounds, but he makes up for his lack of size with his big-time production at the running back spot. The freshman out of Round Rock, Texas, currently leads the Wildcats in rushing and receiving yards, racking up 527 yards on the ground and 389 yards through the air. After flying under the radar as a three-star recruit, Vaughn has exploded onto the scene with seven total touchdowns in his first nine college games. A two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, Vaughn has set himself up to be the face of the Wildcats’ offense for years to come. The Texas run defense has been stout in its last four games, but look for Vaughn to cause problems for the Longhorns on Saturday.
No. 50 Cooper Beebe — Right tackle
Cooper Beebe has been a mainstay on the Kansas State offensive line this season after redshirting in 2019. The redshirt freshman has performed admirably in multiple different positions during player absences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically when he filled in last week at right guard against Baylor. Beebe’s tenacious blocking has opened up holes for star freshman running back Deuce Vaughn, and the 6-foot-3-inch, 326-pound lineman has been one of the long bright spots in a season that is officially off the rails. The Kansas City, Kansas, prospect will look to finish this season strong by handling Texas’ star junior jack Joseph Ossai, as Ossai will provide Beebe with perhaps his toughest test of the year.
No. 56 Wyatt Hubert — Defensive end
Whereas the offensive side of the ball has been lifted by freshmen prospects, the defensive side of the ball is still led by junior defensive end Wyatt Hubert. The 6-foot-3-inch, 270-pound rusher leads the Wildcats with 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. The Kansas State defense has had a rough year overall, ranking eighth in team defense in the Big 12, but Hubert is not to blame. The 2020 Preseason All-Big 12 pick has already notched more sacks in nine games at 7.5 than the seven he had in 12 games last year, when he was named First Team All-Big 12. Look for Hubert to wreak havoc in the Texas backfield this weekend, especially after Texas’ star redshirt junior offensive tackle Sam Cosmi decided to opt out of the final two games of the season.
No. 31 Jahron McPherson — Defensive back
This Saturday, senior defensive back Jahron McPherson will run out of the tunnel at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for Senior Day and cap off his college career. After playing his freshman season at community college and redshirting in the 2017 season, McPherson has morphed into one of the most important defensive players for the Wildcats as a senior. The defensive back out of Basehor, Kansas, leads the team with 51 total tackles and two interceptions. A captain for the 2020 season, McPherson has elevated his NFL Draft stock immensely by displaying his natural ball-hawking instincts this season. The Texas passing game got back on track in last weekend’s loss to Iowa State, but Longhorn senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger will not be able to take nearly as many deep shots as he did against the Cyclones with McPherson roaming.