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Non-TCU Game of the Week: Kansas State vs. Missouri

Although there are no ranked matchups this week, the college football schedule is surely heating up!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Missouri at Kansas State

Week 2 has come and gone. Three higher-ranked teams were upset a week ago. Alabama, at the hands of the Texas Longhorns, in one of the most entertaining battles this season. Next, the Texas A&M Aggies lost to a then-unranked Miami Hurricanes squad and the same goes for Wisconsin. The Badgers were defeated by the newly-ranked Washington State Cougars. Across the rest of FBS, Georgia remained the number-one ranked team, Ole Miss defeated 24th-ranked Tulane in an absurd affair, North Carolina barely squeezed by perennial underdog Appalachian State, and Colorado once again looked phenomenal on offense, dropping 36 points on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The Headliner:

#15 Kansas St. vs. Missouri (+4) 11:00 a.m. CT Saturday, September 16 SECN

The most nondescript headliner of the year so far, the Kansas State Wildcats take on the Missouri Tigers on Saturday morning in Columbia, Missouri. However, this game does have huge implications for each respective conference, the Big 12 and SEC.

Kansas State enters week three with an undefeated record. But, the Wildcats have beat an FCS team in Southeast Missouri and a Group of Five team, in Troy. The Wildcats have looked good on both sides of the ball against these two inferior opponents. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 87-13. Returning quarterback Will Howard has continued to show promise in his first season as a full-time starter. The senior signal-caller has passed for 547 yards and 5 touchdowns. While also accumulating three rushing touchdowns.

The backfield in Manhattan does look a bit different this season. Diminutive running back, and second-most accomplished rusher in Wildcats history, Deuce Vaughn took his talents to the NFL. In the place of Vaughn, Kansas State has two running backs to continue their ground-and-pound approach. Both DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward have over 110 yards on the ground this season. The run game will be up to a tall task, as the Tigers allow the eight fewest rushing yards per game in all the NCAA. Spoiler alert, Kansas State’s defense allows the least rushing yards per game in all college football, but more on that later.

The Wildcat defense has been outstanding against the run, only allowing 76 yards combined in their first two contests. Missouri is a middle-of-the-pack rushing squad, as the Tigers average 161.5 rush yards per game, but tend to rely on only two players when it comes to running the ball. The Tigers will likely come out hot passing the ball, as the Wildcat defense is more susceptible to the pass than to the run. However, Missouri’s aerial attack hasn’t been the most in-tune these first two weeks.

Quarterback Brady Cook, who started a year ago, has only passed for 376 yards and three scores in two weeks of action. He’s been efficient, 31-of-40, but hasn’t been asked to do much. Wide receiver Luther Burden III has handled a majority of the receiving work, the sophomore breakout looks to be in full effect, as Burden III has recorded 15 receptions for 213 yards in the first two contests. Burden III could be in for a huge week, especially if the Tigers start out slow against the Wildcats.

Aside from the upcoming matchup, the Missouri vs. Kansas State rivalry has been ongoing for quite some time now. Despite a brief hiatus from 2012 to 2021, in part due to the Tigers joining the SEC, the series dates back to 1909. Missouri owns the all-time series record, winning 60 games, in comparison to Kansas State’s 33 victories. Additionally, there have been five ties in this longstanding matchup.

A season ago, the Wildcats dominated the Tigers 40-12. The ground game caught fire, as the Wildcats rushed for 235 yards and four touchdowns on Missouri. The aforementioned Vaughn led the way with 145 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The weather made running the ball the primary option, as Kansas State’s Martinez only threw eleven passes, while Missouri’s Cook tossed 27 while adding two interceptions. The Tigers looked hapless on offense, committing 8 penalties and turning the ball over four times.

This time around, Missouri will surely emphasize ball security against Kansas State’s defense. Missouri must play well, especially on offense to out-score the Wildcats. However, the Tigers haven’t shown the ability to light up opponents this year, especially after scoring only 23 points against Middle Tennessee State last week. Look for the Wildcats to out-pass and out-run the Tigers en route to a multi-score victory.

My Pick: Kansas State wins 31-17

The Undercard:

#15 Colorado vs. Colorado State (+23.5) 9:00 p.m. CT Saturday, September 16 ESPN

Whoa. Colorado being featured in a Game of the Week article? Not something you’d expect for the past years, as the Buffaloes have gone a lowly 24-42 in the past seven seasons. But, as you all know, Coach Prime has come to town along with a bevy of transfers, including his son, star quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and former five-star recruit, Travis Hunter. The Buffaloes look revitalized, beating the Horned Frogs in week one, and the Cornhuskers in week two demonstrating a fantastic, high-flying offense to go along with a playmaking defense.

Although this matchup may very well end in a multi-touchdown defeat, there is much intrigue heading into the game. Colorado State head coach, Jay Norvell, took a shot at Deion Sanders’ habit of wearing a hat and sunglasses. Norvell said, “When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me.” Coach Prime later replied to Norvell’s comments, now referring to his Buff’s contest against the Rams as “personal” after hearing Norvell’s comment. Coach Prime even took it a step further, as he gave out sunglasses to every Colorado player ahead of Saturday’s game.

Look for the Buffaloes to come out with ferocity against an underdog Colorado State squad. The Rams haven’t gone above .500 since 2017 and haven’t recorded double-digit wins since 2014. The Buffaloes still have doubters to prove and they’ll continue to do so. This would be a statement win for Colorado State, as they have nothing to lose. The Rams aired it out for 320 yards in their week one defeat, and Colorado doesn’t have the best defense. But, this is ultimately the Colorado and Coach Prime show. Expect to see the younger Sanders continue his Heisman campaign with yet another huge passing performance.

My Pick: Colorado wins 45-13