After a whale of a ballgame against the Texas Longhorns and all of the nonsense that followed, it’s time for the second road trip of the season. Another ranked test waits in Manhattan, where FCS legend Chris Kliemen and QB Adrian Martinez have the Wildcats looking sharp.
Related: The Final Matchup vs. Texas in Lubbock
You may remember Martinez as a turnover machine at Nebraska, but this year, he has been mostly incredible. I caught the end of his 5 touchdown game vs. OU after getting home, and he looked like midwest Lamar Jackson. The KSU receivers cleared out the space underneath and the Sooner defenders could barely touch Martinez in the open field. It certainly seems like the trouble may have been with Scott Frost’s program not helping him enough.
The freshly-wounded Red Raider defense must keep Martinez in the pocket and not allow him to take off. He is so dangerous with his legs, so it is crucial that Tech makes him have to throw. However, there can still be pressure on the quarterback without breaking containment. Both of these elements have to happen to keep the high-powered Wildcat offense in check. After allowing the most points of the season to Texas, the Red Raiders need to be on point on the road against a tricky and talented Wildcat attack.
More of the Duece
We can’t forget about one of the most unique players in college football, running back Deuce Vaughn. The 5’6 Texas native is incredibly shifty and a fantastic pass catcher. He can really do it all as a running back, which is so impressive for his stature. I imagine the whole Big 12 hopes he goes to the NFL after this season, and know Tech fans are.
He absolutely gashed the Red Raiders in the game that got HC Matt Wells fired midseason last year. I was running camera 2 for the stadium feed and had a bird’s eye view of Deuce scoring all 3 of the KSU touchdowns.
DEUCE DOES IT AGAIN
And just like that @KStateFB has their first lead of the game 🔥 pic.twitter.com/j6vpqY3TTp
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 23, 2021
Vaughn has been unable to avoid the Darren Sproles comparison as an undersized Kansas State running back. I strongly believe that Vaughn could see similar NFL success to his fellow Wildcat star while making his own path.
If you miss tackles, this is a team that will severely punish you for that mistake. Martinez and Vaughn are no laughing matter in the open field or in the gaps. The blown coverages and missed run fits from the Texas game have to be cleaned up.
Touchdown Bijan Robinson!
This is beautiful OL play by Cole Hutson and Jake Majors on the C-G pull.
Bijan showing off that “19 mph” speed lol pic.twitter.com/XgkIF8VM0J
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) September 24, 2022
Safeties not getting downhill with only green behind them in the run like this is a recipe for disaster against anybody. The Red Raiders can’t afford to hesitate with the talented Wildcat rushers in space, or they’ll end up with more house calls. Clearly this version of K-State will require some serious execution to beat, especially in their house.
Another Ranked Test for the Tech Offense
After winning 2 of 3 ranked games so far this year, the Red Raiders offense is statistically becoming a really dangerous unit. QB Donovan Smith received some hardware for his performance vs. Texas, arguably his best game at the position. He has never managed a game as well from start to finish, a performance also helped by committing no turnovers.
Smith must keep those turnovers down and be precise with the football to win against the Wildcats. K-State defeated Oklahoma by forcing Dillon Gabriel to hurry or miss throws. Legitimately every punt by OU was preceded by a Gabriel incompletion.
Related: Tyree Wilson and the Red Raider Defense Look to Quiet Wolfpack
OU also got away from the run game when it was working, and Tech can’t afford to do that on the road. The Red Raiders especially should make it a focus to get their rushers going early. The K-State run D has shown weakness to the run their last two games, and undoubtedly Tech is looking to exploit this. RB’s Sarodorick Thompson and Tahj Brooks could take some of the Wildcat secondary’s focus away from Donovan with their potent attack.
Joey Dice Roller
The bold 4th down strategy of Tech really kept Texas on their heels, and should remain part of the plan vs. K-State. By all means, this risk-reward identity gives Tech an edge by not playing afraid in difficult situations. Football is a game of guts and coaching cowardice makes my stomach churn. This is the other end: “Wow I can’t believe we went for it, but at least it worked!”.
Late to post but an easy choice for this week’s Pedro Cerrano Award: @JoeyMcGuireTTU. #TexasTech converted 6 of 8 fourth-down chances against Texas, tying the Big 12 single-game record for most fourth-down conversions.
Well done. pic.twitter.com/mtSy2rp2j7
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) September 26, 2022
McGuire has made an early culture point to go for it on 4th aggressively if the numbers say you should. If you’re against a more talented opponent or a hostile environment, cowardly punts are the same as waving a white flag. The guts to go for it will surely be needed with another ranked test on the road in Manhattan.
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