Just 10 weeks to go, can you believe it? 10 Saturdays from now and we’ll be playing football again. With that sobering thought in mind, let’s take a look at KU’s tenth opponent for 2018.
Kansas @ Kansas State
Nov 10, 2018, Time TBD
Manhattan, KS: Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium
About the K-State Offense
K-State returns 77% of its offensive production from last year, including 10 starters. QB Jesse Ertz is (finally) gone, and the competition should boil down to either Alex Delton (49-85, 637 yds, 3-2 TD-INT) or Skylar Thompson (51-83, 689 yds, 5-3 TD-INT), both of whom should thrive in K-State’s QB-draw system. Delton scampered for 500 rushing yards on 100 carries last year, while Thompson picked up 267 yards on 69 carries (nice).
Leading rusher Alex Barnes (146 car, 819 yds, 7 TD) will be a junior, while seniors Dalvin Warmack (48 car, 252 yds, 2 TD) and Justin Silmon (43 car, 225 yds) will back him up.
As for receivers, K-State had only four players with 20 or more receptions in 2017, and just two of them return for the 2018 campaign. Last year’s leading receiver, Isaiah Zuber (51 rec, 510 yds, 4 TD) should be the #1 target, with Dalton Schoen (23 rec, 470 yds, 3 TD) and a mixture of unknowns making up the rest of the receiving corps.
About the K-State Defense
As for defense, K-State returns just 52% of its production, including just six starters. Gone are 2017’s leading tacklers Jayd Kirby and Trent Tanking, as well as sack leader Will Geary and INT leader DJ Reed.
Along the defensive line, K-State will be led by juniors in DE Reggie Walker (36 tak, 6 TFL, 2 sk) and DT Trey Dishon (21 tak, 4 TFL, 1 sk). The only returning linebacker with much experience whatsoever is junior Elijah Sullivan (28 tak, 1 TFL, 1 sk). K-State only brought in one linebacker in its 2018 recruiting class, Juco transfer Rashaan York, whose offer list included KU, Iowa State, Ole Miss, and a slew of MAC and MWC schools.
The secondary will feature junior Denzel Goolsby (78 tak, 2 TFL, 1 sk, 2 INT), along with seniors Kendall Adams (61 tak, 1 TFL, 3 INT) and Duke Shelley (56 tak, 4 TFL, 1 sk, 2 INT).
KU’s last several trips to Manhattan have not gone well, losing by 40 (2012), 38 (2014), and 15 (2016). Wait... is that progress? (Sheahon Zenger probably thinks so.)
Anyway, KU hasn’t scored 20 points or more in Manhattan since 2007. With K-State losing a ton on defense as previously noted, I suppose it’s possible to talk yourself into thinking KU could top that number this year. Then I’ll reminder you that it’s game 10, and all of those newcomers will have nine games under their belts at that point.
While the last two years have been more competitive, KU still hasn’t seriously threatened to beat K-State. Once again, there’s no reason to think that this year will be any different. K-State 34, Kansas 17.