- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel happened to be in a restaurant last Saturday when he caught a glimpse of Kansas State’s game against UTSA on television.

He came away with a rather grim appraisal.

“They’re a team,” Driskel said, “that is going to come out and hit you in the face.”

Led by an experienced defense, the Wildcats (2-0) have opened the season with a 34-0 blitz of South Dakota and a 30-3 victory over the Roadrunners. Not only have they not allowed a touchdown, the one field goal they’ve given up was a 51-yarder in the first quarter last weekend.

“They have a very good defense,” said Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz, whose team hopes to be the first to crack the endzone against Kansas State when they meet on Saturday.

“It is not about looks or pressure or guys coming from everywhere,” Holtz said. “They keep the ball in front of you. … They make it difficult to move the ball against them.”

The Bulldogs (1-1) haven’t had much trouble with that this season. They routed lower-division Southern 62-15 to open the season, then nearly overcame a two-touchdown deficit in a 41-38 loss at Western Kentucky.

Driskel, a transfer from Florida, threw for 357 yards against the Hilltoppers, while running back Kenneth Dixon ran for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

All of which jumped out on tape to Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who has been reluctant to heap too much praise on his defense before it truly gets tested.

“Here is a team that has over 1,100 yards of total offense in two games,” he said. “We are getting into more complex times right now. I think before we pass judgment, we want to see how we play right now. Up to this point in time, I am happy about them.”

More complex times? No doubt about it.

Louisiana Tech is the Wildcats’ final tune-up before the Big 12 grind begins with a trip to No. 25 Oklahoma State, followed by home games against No. 3 TCU and No. 16 Oklahoma.

With that in mind, here are a few things to look for in Saturday’s game:

HEY JOE: Kansas State’s Joe Hubener got his first start at quarterback since junior high last week. He struggled in the first half against UTSA, but was far more productive in the second half. “I struggled with some short passes, and I think that was just me being a little bit nervous,” Hubener said. “I just need to settle down and throw the football.”

WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, KENNETH: Dixon is the nation’s eighth-leading rusher with 274 yards in two games. The senior is also averaging 8.8 yards per carry, tied with Georgia’s Nick Chubb for best among running backs with at least 25 attempts. “He’s one heck of a back,” Wildcats defensive tackle Travis Britz said. “We’re really going to have to improve our tackling and run defense if we’re going to have a chance against him.”

RED-ZONE BLUES: Kansas State has reached the red zone 11 times this season but managed just five touchdowns and five field goals, and that has Snyder seeing - well, you know. “It is a major concern,” he said. “It was after the first game and certainly after the last game.”

IT WAS CALLED YELLOW: The Wildcats have already committed 17 penalties. They led the Big 12 in that department last year, committing three or fewer six times.

TIME IS ON MY SIDE: Louisiana Tech has had a whirlwind start to the season thanks to its Thursday night game at Western Kentucky. But that also means that the Bulldogs have had some extra time off to get ready for the Wildcats. “We played a lot of plays,” Driskel said. “We were tired. There were some guys that were banged up and our bodies got some well-needed rest. We are ready to go this week. … We know we have a tough opponent ahead of us.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide