Sep 1, 2012; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) takes a snap during a 51-9 win over the Missouri State Bears at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE
Every Friday throughout the college football season, SB Nation staff writer Chip Rouse will spotlight one game as the Big 12 Game of the Week and take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of each team, what to watch for in the game.
Earlier in the week, the residual effects of Hurricane Issac hit parts of Kansas, and this weekend the Hurricanes of the University of Miami will storm into the Little Apple and lay it on the line in an attempt to slow Kansas State's powerful ground game and reverse the loss in last season's matchup of these same two teams in Miami.
A year ago around this time, Kansas State, which ranked 20th and 21st, respectively, this week in the USA Today and AP national polls, put on an incredible game-saving goal-line stand in the closing seconds of the contest to preserve a 28-24 victory over Miami on the Hurricanes home field. That hard-fought victory served as the catalyst for a 10-win season, a second-place finish in the conference and a top-20 ranking in the final national polls, a performance that caught many college football experts by surprise.
Kansas State rolled up 324 yards on the ground in its season opener last week against Missouri State, with junior running back John Hubert getting 159 of the Wildcats total run production. There has been speculation all preseason that coach Bill Snyder would like to look more to pass the ball this season as a means of opening up the offense more and setting up better opportunities for quarterback Collin Klein and Hubert to do what they do best, and that's moving the ball on the ground and controlling the ball.
Hubert is hoping for another big day against the Hurricanes, In last season's game in Miami, the 5-7, 195-pound running back rumbled for 166 yards and was a key piece of the Wildcat offense in their upset win.
The more the Wildcat offense is on the field, the less pressure it places on the K-State defense, which gave up 418 yards of total defense, most of it through the air, last weekend against a much less talented opponent.
The Wildcat coaching staff also is very cognizant of the 441 passing yards the Miami defense yielded in last weekend's high-scoring contest with Boston College.
A key matchup in the game, and one that could very well determine the outcome, will be the Kansas State defensive front vs. the Miami offensive line. The Hurricanes offensive line averages 6-6 in height and over 300 pounds, which will be a strong test for the smaller K-State D-line defenders. If Kansas State is unable to put pressure on Miami quarterback Stephen Morris and he is able to get his passing game going, it could be a rough day for the Wildcats, especially if the Hurricanes are able to use the pass to spread out the K-State defense and open up lanes for their talented running backs.
Earlier this week, Snyder talked about the Miami offense and their size up front. "With their offense, they are substantially sizeable," Snyder said, "but what most people don't seem to realize, in addition to the size they have, they are a pretty athletic group as well. That really magnifies things...and it creates problems."
This is what Miami head coach All Golden had to say about Kansas State in his weekly press conference this week: "Clearly this week against Kansas State, we have a Herculean challenge," he said. "(They are) an excellent football team. Tough environment. Well coached. Don't beat themselves and control time of possession. It's going to be a great challenge for our team."
Kickoff for the game, which would be huge non-conference win for both sides, is set for 11 a.m. CT at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan. The game is being carried on Fox.
Game Prediction: Kansas State 35, Miami 20
Other Big 12 Games This Weekend (Week 2)
(Projected winner in bold face)
Rice @ Kansas
Grambling State @ TCU
Florida A&M @ Oklahoma
Iowa State @ Iowa
Texas Tech @ Texas State
New Mexico @ Texas
Oklahoma State @ Arizona
Last week: 9-0
For the season: 9-0
Follow Big 12 football all season long, including news and commentary on all 10 conference teams, at SB Nation Kansas City.