The Missouri Tigers (1-0) take on the Kansas State Wildcats (1-0) as former Big 12 rivals square off in a pivotal Week 2 match up in Manhattan. The Wildcats are receiving votes in this week’s AP Top 25, making it quite the early season challenge for the Tigers. Kick-off is set for 11:00 a.m. CST on ESPN2.
To preview Saturday’s game, we talked it over with Jon Morse from Bring On The Cats to get a Kansas State perspective. Here’s the Q and A:
Sammy Stava: Kansas State was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 preseason poll but were well represented with a league-high six players named to the All-Preseason team – most notably defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah being named DPOY. Do you consider the Wildcats as a dark horse to win the Big 12 Championship this season?
Jon Morse: Sure. Any team returning this much talent has a shot, and some other teams aren’t as strong as they usually are. You probably know K-State almost always outperforms both metrics and their preseason media poll projection, so a top three finish isn’t an unreasonable goal here.
SS: Kansas State took care of business with a 34-0 shutout win last week against South Dakota. What were your first impressions of Nebraska QB transfer Adrian Martinez and what do you expect out of him on Saturday against Mizzou?
JM: Jury’s out. Visually, I could actually see him going through his progressions, but he didn’t really accomplish much. His best play of the night was a long bomb into double coverage which was thrown perfectly but dropped.
From my view, he had all day to throw but all his completions were short passes, mostly to a third or fourth option, and it looked like it was because he had nobody open. However, people with a wider vantage point than me claim he had open receivers to whom he wasn’t throwing the ball.
Of course, all of this may have been smoke and mirrors against an FCS opponent to avoid giving y’all tape, too.
SS: The Mizzou run defense has a heck of a challenge on Saturday trying to stop Duece Vaughn, who has seven consecutive games of over 100 rushing yards dating back to last season. What is it that makes him one of the best running backs not just in the Big 12, but in all of College Football?
JM: Big wheels, toughness, and a low center of gravity. He’s hard to get hold of for guys used to tackling much bigger backs, he can burst through holes other guys can’t get through, and once he’s got daylight it’s a race.
As a receiver, he’s even more dangerous because the quarterback can catch him on the flat where, again, daylight race etc etc.
SS: Kansas State comes in as an eight-point favorite. How do you see this game playing out on Saturday? Have a final score prediction?
JM: I think we’ll see a stronger passing game this week, and I saw enough from the Wildcat defense to believe Luther Burden will only be a serious problem rather than a disaster in the making. I’m thinking K-State probably handles this somewhere in the 27-20 to 30-17 range.
Also, ICMYI — Nate Edwards joined the Bring On The Cats Podcast with Luke Thompson and JT VanGilder to preview Mizzou and Kansas State.