NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback James Franklin #1 of the Missouri Tigers looks to throw against the Oklahoma Sooners on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Missouri 34-14. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Kansas State boasts a stout defense and is coming off two straight wins, but Missouri's week off may make the difference in this match-up that promises a good game.
Kansas State (4-0) made headlines last weekend by knocking off a Robert Griffin-led Baylor team and entering the national rankings. Missouri stayed quiet, basking in an extra week off to heal wounds and prepare for the Wildcats. Will Kansas State stay hot? Or will it be the Tigers (2-2) who knock off the favorite this weekend? This match-up features 2 of the top 20 rushing teams in the nation and almost promises plenty of points on the board.
Kansas State Offense Vs. Missouri Defense
Kansas State junior quarterback Collin Klein is a better runner than he is a passer, which fits in with head coach Bill Snyder's offense. He has 31 more carries than any other Wildcat player and has ran for 4 touchdowns. He averages barely over 100 yards passing, but so far he hasn't really had to throw all that much. This is likely to change against Missouri, whose defensive weakness may be the secondary. That unit struggled mightily against both Arizona State and Oklahoma. Missouri's defense is been much better against the run, so look for Missouri to force Klein to beat them with his arm.
Missouri Offense Vs. Kansas State Defense
Missouri's offense offers more balance than Kansas State's, but then again Kansas State's defense is better than Missouri's is. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin has been as good as any quarterback in his class, but Missouri's 2 losses have probably prevented him from gaining more attention. The 6-2 Texas product is completing 61% of his passes and has thrown for 7 touchdowns and only one interception.
He is also a threat on the ground, having already scored 4 touchdowns with his feet. He gets plenty of help in the running game from classmate Henry Josey, who is averaging a sick 12.4 yards per touch. But the Missouri offense will meet its match with a Kansas State defense that, according to FoxSports, is in the top 25 in almost every major team defense statistic. This match-up between Missouri's offense and Kansas State's defense is not a only thrilling one for college football fans, but it will likely decide the outcome of this game.
Kansas State is fortunate to be playing this game at home, and Bill Snyder Stadium is sure to be rocking after the Wildcats' 4-0 start. The last two Kansas State wins were exciting finishes, winning 28-24 over Miami and 36-35 over Baylor. So maybe Kansas State finishes well. Missouri, on the other hand, has lost two rough ones, a 38-28 decision to top-ranked Oklahoma and a 37-30 overtime loss against Arizona State.
Both of those games were on the road, as is this weekend's contest against Kansas State. However, I think the week off and the law of averages favor Missouri. The Tigers will be Kansas State's third straight tough test with no break. The Tigers will jump out to a big lead and hold off a fast-charging Wildcat squad in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Missouri 35, Kansas State 30