Coming off a 62 - 14 win in Manhattan against Texas A&M this past weekend, the Kansas State Wildcats is the early 3.5 point favorite against the Colorado Buffaloes (translation: Vegas has no idea what to expect from these two teams which explains the very simple 3 points for playing at home in favor of Kansas State). Colorado also had a nice victory of their own this past Saturday, knocking off the 15th ranked Kansas Jayhawks at Folsom Field in Boulder.
A couple of weeks ago, this matchup looked like a one of the few remaining winnable games for each of these teams but now it may mean much more. Kansas State is 2 - 1 in conference and is a top the North part of the conference. The Buffs are 1 - 1 with three other North teams while Missouri is bringing up the rear at 0 - 2.
Basically, no one thought this game would have some implications behind it. The challenge for the Buffs? Winning on the road. In 2007, the Buffs lost to a undermanned Kansas State team on the road and since 2006, they have won only two games away from the friendly confines of Folsom Field. If the Buffs want to convince the rest of the conference that they are a team to be taken seriously, this is a win they need to have.
If Colorado can get this one, the schedule sets up relatively favorable as it has become clear that the Big 12 North plus Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have some serious question marks. Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M are all set to visit Boulder later in the season.
After losing 66 - 14 against Texas Tech a week ago in Lubbock, Kansas State shocked everyone by putting up 62 points against Texas A&M. A&M definitely provided the spark that Kansas State needed after getting routed the week before, turning the ball over to the Wildcats five times (Kansas State had none). The Wildcats scored 28 points off of those turnovers and scored on six of their first seven drives. KSU's defense held the Aggies to 70 first-half yards and minus-13 yards rushing overall, similar to the Buffs defensive performance against Kansas, slowing the Jayhawks to minus-8 yards rushing.
Wildcats QB Grant Gregory went 10 - 13 for 147 and a score but Bill Snyder's squad did most of the damage on the ground, running the ball 52 times for 232 yards. 6'2 227 pound RB Daniel Thomas has been a load this season, as he gained 91 yards on 18 carries and four scores. Thomas is on pace to run for over 1,100 yards.
WR Brandon Banks is the Wildcats big play threat. He hauled in 6 catches for 60 yards against A&M but also had a 97 yard kickoff return for a score.
Obviously, the turnover margin will be a key stat in this one, especially playing on the road. Against Kansas, the Buffs turned the ball over three times but the Jayhawks were only able to get six points off of those turnovers. The Buffs were able to capitalize on the Jayhawks' two turnovers with 14 points, the difference in the game.
Great opportunity for the Buffs to keep rolling and get that elusive road win. Who knows what teams will show up Saturday? Will it be the Kansas State team that lost 66 - 14 to Texas Tech or the team that beat A&M by 48? And for the Buffs, should we expect more of the same from Tyler Hansen and a defense that has been improving or will signs of the Toledo and Colorado State game show it's ugly head? Who knows what will happen but you have to like the opportunity!
The game will be televised on Fox College Sports at 10:30 am MT. It will be the seventh straight game to be televised and will mean the Buffs will have at least nine televised games this season.