What does Texas have to do to knock of nemesis Kansas State on Saturday night from DKR? The IT staff breaks it down, adds offensive/defensive standouts, Game of the Week, and Upset of the Week in the land of College Football.
1.What does Texas need to do to stop the Purple Wizard’s wizardry?
Eric Nahlin: They need to play a game the wizard would be proud of. Out-physical KSU, then hit big plays that take advantage of the difference in athleticism. Let QB1 be what he can be, which is a top-shelf Jesse Ertz.
Justin Wells: Sound, fundamental defense. Know your roll, control your gap, and hit Ertz as much as possible. And don’t do anything stupid on offense. They’ll make you pay for each mistake.
Ian Boyd: Beat blocks at LB and beat rubs (picks) at DB and the K-State offense becomes plodding and manageable in a hurry. Jesse Ertz will run around and get his yardage in their full-time Wildcat offense but if you can force some third downs they won’t look so disciplined and steady against two-deep coverage with Malik spying on Ertz.
Joe Cook: Keep forcing turnovers. The closer K-State’s time of possession number gets to 35, the lower the Longhorns’ chances to win this game. Two things can mitigate that; a good run game and forcing turnovers. We know which one is more likely than the other.
Paul Wadlington: On offense, the Horns have to show the ability to run against an honest or light box. Tim Beck has shown a propensity for going away from what working running game we have against legitimate opponents instead of probing a weakness and then building off of that success. At minimum, the offense and special teams can’t cripple the Texas defense with poor field positions and turnovers. On defense, the Longhorns have to show that their dramatic improvement extends to assignment soundness against the option and handling run/pass conflict in the secondary that was sorely lacking against Maryland. This is an important proving game for PJ Locke, Brandon Jones and the Longhorn LBs.
2. Offensive and defensive standouts against K-State
Eric Nahlin: Drinks for Malik! This game is tailor made for him to showcase his range and versatility. Jefferson is dual threat kryptonite. For offense, I’ll take Sam Ehlinger.
Justin Wells: On offense, Sam Ehlinger. Manage the game, eliminate the mistakes, covert a few 3rd downs, and move around the pocket while keeping your eyes down field. On defense, DeShon Elliott. Back-to-back Big 12 DPOW, Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week. He’s got four INTs in two games. Who else would you pick?
Ian Boyd: This is definitely a Malik Jefferson game both for his spying ability on Ertz to take away QB draws and scrambles on third down and then his ability to make tackles for loss on 1st and 10 against running plays. The latter sets up the opportunity for the former and if he does both then Malik Jefferson will control this game. On offense, Texas is going to need some playmaking from the QB to score enough to get the win.
Joe Cook: Tough to pick, but I’ll go with Reggie Hemphill-Mapps. Collin Johnson is going to be doubled, and Texas has not gotten a ton of production from the Z receiver spot. The slot position will have to start keeping opposing defenses honest if Texas wants to succeed. That starts with Reggie on Saturday. Defensively, I’ll go Anthony Wheeler. He needs to have one of his best games against a team that will demand a lot from him.
Paul Wadlington: Offense: By standout, do we mean least bad performer? I guess Ehlinger. Defense: Malik Jefferson will have a lot on his plate playing the option and being the shadow against Ertz on passing downs.
3. Texas-KSU prediction
Eric Nahlin: 27-17 Texas
Justin Wells: 20-14 Texas
Ian Boyd: 20-17 Texas, with Rowland hitting a game winner late in the fourth quarter.
Joe Cook: 24-21 KSU.
Paul Wadlington: 21-17 Texas. The Texas defense carries the day.
4. Game of the Week
Eric Nahlin: WVU at TCU. I’m still not a big buyer in TCU this year because of Kenneth Hill but I am a believer in their coaching staff. They’re an exciting team to watch and anytime Holgo might pull his remaining hairs out I’ll tune in.
Justin Wells: Alabama over A&M. Anytime Saban plays the Aggies, he’s reminded of Manziel in 2012. I bet he’s still pissed off about that.
Ian Boyd: I’ll probably flip back and forth between Michigan vs Michigan State and Alabama vs Texas A&M. We all know what’s going to happen in the latter game but it’ll be fun to watch, especially with @StringSays’ live reactions on twitter. Michigan may be finding an identity as a multiple TE team (watch for Zach Gentry if you have the stomach) with Houston transfer QB John O’Korn hitting them on the move when they aren’t road grading for Harbaugh’s run game.
Joe Cook: In a battle of middling offenses, Florida defeats LSU.
Paul Wadlington: Miami-Florida State. Miami breaks a 7 year losing streak on the Seminoles’ field.
5. Upset pick of the week
Eric Nahlin: Michigan State over Michigan because CFB needs a good Harbaugh meltdown.
Justin Wells: FSU over Miami. Don’t tell my wife.
Ian Boyd: I’ll take SMU over Houston again. Morris is fighting for Sumlin’s job and the Cougars seem to be having an identity crises on offense in the wake of Ward’s departure. The Mustangs know exactly who they are.
Joe Cook: How funny would it be if The U still couldn’t beat FSU even with all the quarterback problems in Tallahassee? Really funny. I think it happens.
Paul Wadlington: SMU over Houston