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Texas-Kansas State Game Keys - And Statistical Proof of Snyder's Awesomeness

A few thoughts on Saturday's contest...

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Here's some knowledge to drop to help make you the smartest person at your game watch....


The Buzz-Cut Scientist may roll out yet another OL line-up this weekend in Manhattan.

Don't be surprised to see:


Our top 7 OL right now are the aforementioned plus Raulerson and Hutchins.  Raulerson is cross training at RT and C. Hutchins has given us his all on every play, but the coaches think James and Hughes may be able to be better set the edge on run downs.  In my opinion, this is our best run-blocking unit, which is a tip off to our preferred game plan. We'll try to get time in the pocket by throwing the ball on surprise downs with play action (1st and 10 or 2nd and 3) and instilling assignment conflict in the KSU DEs with option responsibility, inside zone and Swoopes running our QB lead play.

KSU is not a good pass rushing team overall.  And their DL - outside of the DE Mueller - is built around eating blocks and freeing the linebackers over playmaking.  They play the run first and foremost and count on coverage to deal with play action.  This is really the only way to get big plays on them consistently.


We need to run the ball credibly.  That means our OL can't settle for ties at the LOS - I'm looking at you Perkins and Flowers - they have to turn shoulders and get displacement so that we can create traffic for the KSU LBs scraping behind them.  If we can do that consistently, you'll see a significant step forward in our running game.

We're going to try to create our deep shots by getting KSU's safeties to roll up out of their 2 and 3 deep zone.  If we're limited strictly to the short passing game, we'll move the ball, stall on penalties, dumb turnovers or inconsistency and end up playing right into their hands, writing post-scripts about all of the big plays we almost made.

Opposing QBs are completing 62.7% of their passes against KSU.  That's by design.  They don't care about completions in front of their zone.  What they fear is chunk yardage.

A very telling statistic: KSU's overall pass defense S+P is 56th in FBS.  Totally mediocre.  On clear passing downs? - defined as 2nd and 8+ or 3rd or 4th and 5+ -----> they're 17th in FBS. Good bordering on great.  Without a good pass rush.  What does that tell you?

There's a very clear takeaway here.  Will Texas be able to exploit it?


Desmond Harrison may not be in our plans this year at all.  My advice to him: redshirt, get in amazing shape, work on pass protection and try to get one good year on film for a NFL shot. I have no inside info, but the other possibility is that our coaches are content to let him exhaust his eligibility and turn the page.


Given his suspensions and injury, Daje Johnson just isn't at game speed.  Until his head and body are 100%, he's not going to have a significant role.


This week raw talent on defense will take a back seat to assignment discipline.  Jake Waters and Snyder have constructed an offense that places DEs, LBs and safeties into constant conflict.  The best thing our players can do is doggedly do their jobs and assume the guy next to him is doing theirs.  KSU murders free-lancing.

Remember the disparity I pointed out above in KSU's defense and how they perform on money downs?

Guess what?  Their offense does the same.  Their overall Passing S+P is a mediocre 52nd in FBS.  On clear passing downs - when it's supposed to get harder - they are 31st in Passing. The upper quartile of FBS football. Vance Bedford's defense has been exactly the opposite.  Want me to give you a score prediction?  Tell me KSU's conversion rate on passing downs on offense and defense.

I don't need statistics to know Snyder is an amazing coach - I can see it plainly on the field - but the statistical evidence is fairly overwhelming: on the downs where play calling and execution matter most, KSU kicks ass on both sides of the ball.


Waters is a much more effective runner than he looks - think Colt McCoy level - and he's not shy about using his feet to punish a lack of containment or in the zone read.  He's their surprising leading rusher.  If we insist on the 3-3-5 against their 3 wide looks, don't be surprised to see Snyder bludgeon us with zone read until we prove we can stop it. Even though KSU is a very mediocre running team overall.

I think Waters is the best QB in the conference once you consider the structure of the offense and given the personnel around him.


KSU's special teams FEI is a surprisingly average 47th in FBS.  Unfortunately, Texas is 118th.


I'm more eager for this game than Texas-OU.