Texas Longhorns (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date and Time: Saturday October 25th, 2014. 12:00PM EST
Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium Manhattan, K.S.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UT +9.5/KSU -9.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
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The only undefeated team remaining in Big 12 competition is not Oklahoma nor Baylor who have been the heavy favorites in the conference this entire year. Instead, Bill Snyders Kansas State Wildcats are currently the only team still undefeated (3-0 SU) in the Big 12. The Wildcats suffered their only loss to Auburn earlier this year but have rebounded nicely and pulled off a monumental size win last week in a 31-30 upset over Oklahoma. The Wildcats look to keep their momentum alive and stay atop the Big 12 standings this Saturday as they welcome the Texas Longhorns into Manhattan for an early 12:00pm (EST) kickoff.
The visiting Longhorns pulled out a 48-45 victory over Iowa State last week to score their 3rd win of the season. At 3-4 SU, Coach Charlie Strong has not made the greatest improvement in his first year in Austin. However, Texas has competed well especially in big games this season. The Longhorns battled no. 12 UCLA well in a 20-17 loss and nearly upset Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. The big question entering this Saturdays matchup with Kansas State is can Texas finally score a big victory?
Defensively the Longhorns have played pretty well especially if you consider the amount of time they have been on the field. Offensively, it has been a different story. The Longhorns rank 103rd in scoring averaging just 23.7 points per game, 79th in passing, and 93rd in rushing. The quarterback play with Tyrone Swoopes has been subpar and the running game simply has not taken off with tailbacks Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray. One of the bright spots has been the play of wide outs John Harris and Jaxon Shipley. Harris has tallied 607 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns on the season while Shipley has added 44 grabs for 452 yards. If Swoopes could just get both guys the ball more often, the offense could see immediate improvement but that feat has yet to be accomplished.
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For Texas to succeed in their quest for a big win Saturday, the offense is going to have to find a way to stay on the field which is something Bill Snyders Wildcats offense knows exactly how to do. The Wildcats rank 18th in time of possession typically holding the ball for more than 6 minutes on average over their competitors. Kansas State runs a very balanced offense that is focused around quarterback Jake Waters. Despite posting rather average numbers as a team in passing and rushing, the Wildcats have averaged 39.3 points per game this season as the 14th best scoring unit in the FBS.
Waters has been the key to the offenses success this season. The Wildcats stud quarterback leads the team in rushing with 371 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground while posting pretty solid numbers throwing the football by hitting 65% passing for 1,431 yards with 9 scores and 3 picks. Obviously Snyders offenses do not put a tremendous amount of focus on throwing the football but Waters has been solid when he has been forced to throw the ball. More importantly the offense does a good job of converting 3rd downs converting 38 of 76 on the season for a 50% average that is the 8th best mark in the country. As a result of the conversions, the Wildcats have been able to stay on the field and wear opponents down. The question this Saturday is can the Wildcats continue that success against a stingy Texas defense?
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I personally think this is a bad matchup for Texas despite the early kick which has historically been an ingredient for big upsets. The Wildcats are a very physical football team and I think they will win the battle on both sides of the football. A few turnovers from the Longhorns and this thing could get really out of hand. Either way, take the sharp play here and back the Wildcats laying the 9.5!