The University of Texas had one and only one question mark coming into the 2006 season. Would they be able to replace the irreplaceable Vince Young at Quarterback? Going into the season two freshman were battling for the starting job and it looked like the answer to that question was no. However, Colt McCoy emerged as the starter and has turned into one of the best surprises of the year.
McCoy, a redshirt freshman, leads the Big 12 in Pass Efficiency and has an amazing 24-4 TD to INT ratio. He has great receivers led by Limas Sweed with 642 yards receiving and 10 TD’s. McCoy spreads the ball around, eight UT players have at least 15 receptions. One difference you see in the UT passing attack this year is the lack of catches by the TEs.
UT has also had a strong rushing attack Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young have both been productive runners for the Horns this year. Charles the leader with 714 yards on the ground.
Kansas State has played well against some great offenses this year. The Cats held Louisville to 24 points and only 247 yards of total offense. This is a team that is averaging 492 yards per game on the year.
The KSU defense will have to have a great game against Texas and it will begin with slowing down the passing attack. UT has done a great job at pass blocking this year only allowing 1.5 sacks per game. The key to KSU’s victories against UT in the pass has been unrelenting pressure on their Quarterback and forcing mistakes. Ian Campbell and company will need to get up field and try give McCoy something to think about every time he drops back to pass.
On the other side of the Offensive ball, Kansas State has been much improved over the course of the year. True Freshman QB Josh Freeman has shown steady improvement and while KSU ranks 10th in the Big 12 in Passing Offense, they are much improved in this area. Last week against the 6th best defense in the Big 12, Colorado, Freeman was 22 of 26 for 251 yards and two TD’s for an amazing QB rating of 191.1.
KSU will have to throw the ball to win against Texas. The one weakness in the UT defense is defending against the pass. They rank 11th in the Big 12, giving up 241 yards per game. The amazing thing is, UT is ranked 11th in pass defense in the league and 2nd in Total Defense. That is because they are holding opponents to 43 yards per game rushing.
UT will challenge the Freshman Freeman to beat them through the air. They will bring pressure on every play and Freeman will need to be ready for it. KSU will need to be creative in getting the ball to Leon Patton and James Johnson. Short passes to the RBs in the flat will allow them to get the ball on the edge and make some plays with their feet. However, KSU will only win this game if they can get the ball down field. It will be difficult for the Cats with sustain long 15-20 play drives. They are going to exploit the UT weakness in the Defensive backfield. That means the line will need to hold their blocks long enough for the receivers to get down field.
KSU has had great play on special teams all year and that will need to continue. If Kansas State can win the field position battle, they will be in this game at the end. However, if the Cats are starting every drive inside their own 20, they will have a hard time putting points on the board.
Bold and Daring. This is what Ron Prince said the 2006 Wildcats would be all about. In order for the Cats to win this weekend, they will need to be Bold and Daring. Coach Prince has me believing. UT will be busy trying to figure out how they can get into the BCS Championship and looking forward to their battle with rival Texas A&M.
KSU beats the 4th ranked team in the country at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Kansas State - 27
Texas - 24
BOLD AND DARING