Start Time: 11:00 am CST, Saturday, Sept. 12
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go (Website, Android, iOS)
Radio: Ticket 760
Series Record: First meeting
Live Stats: Link
Betting Line: Kansas State -17, O/U 52
Views from Manhattan: Bring on the Cats (SB Nation)
The Opponent: The Wildcats have been the model of consistency under legendary coach Bill Snyder. Known for finding hidden gems on the recruiting path and instilling fundamental proficiency, Snyder seems to coach his best seasons when the rest of the Big 12 is counting him out.
With the way the season has started, Snyder might need another hall-of-fame coaching effort to lead his team to a bowl game this season.
Starting quarterback Jesse Ertz lasted just two snaps against South Dakota before tragically suffering a knee injury that will likely keep him out for the remainder of the season.
All-conference strong safety Dante Barnett will also likely miss considerable time this year after he injured his shoulder in the first half of the Wildcats' season opener.
While the Wildcats' injury report is daunting, their brand of power football and base defense allows reserve players to step onto the field and make an instant impact thanks to the terrific coaching of Snyder's assistants.
Former walk-on Joe Hubener will seek to plug in to the Wildcat offense in his first ever start at quarterback. At 6'5", Hubener is the prototypical mold of athlete that Snyder loves to develop into an efficient quarterback. The major question entering this game is apparent: Is Hubener ready to take over?
UTSA Outlook: Confidence and optimism is running high in the Roadrunner camp after Larry Coker's young squad outplayed #22 Arizona in Tucson. Several frustrating mental errors cost the Roadrunners a win that they probably deserved.
Aided by two extra days of rest and preparation, UTSA has had plenty of time to clear the disappointing loss from their palate.
The Roadrunners looked reborn following a depressing season that saw CUSA championship aspirations decay to a 4-8 record. In 2014 UTSA's offense was nothing short of abysmal. The pace was sluggish, explosive plays were rare, and penalties marred the rare positive performances.
What we saw last Thursday against Arizona was so foreign, so alien, to Roadrunner fans that I often had to shake my head in disbelief as Blake Bogenschutz continually dashed the ball up the field on his way to program records for passing yards and total offense.
Prediction: Forgive me dear reader, I'm sipping the Kool Aid hard this week.
Despite my optimism, UTSA will face a much tougher challenge on offense against Kansas State. The Wildcat defense is gap disciplined and knows how to bait offenses into taking risks. While KSU's defense is quite young, they showed their potential by pitching a shutout against South Dakota.
Bogenschutz will need to avoid his slow start from week one as the Wildcats have won 85% percent of the games in which they scored first, dating back to 1990. While tight end David Morgan gained the national spotlight with his monster performance against Arizona, the Roadrunners will need the wide outs to excel in order to take attention off Morgan.
On defense UTSA's task will be simple: put as much literal and figurative pressure on Hubener as possible.
Anchored by a traditionally strong defensive line, UTSA has typically done well in stopping run-first offenses like Kansas State's. This week will be a bit of a unique challenge given the size of KSU's running backs and -gasp- fullbacks. The objective for UTSA's defense will be to hit the ball carrier low and drive through contact to bring him to the ground, forcing Hubener to make plays on third and long situations.
With a national television crowd tuning in and an expected crowd of nearly 40,000, the setting is drawn up nicely for what could become UTSA's first ever win over a power five program.
Score quickly to get the crowd riled up, keep Hubener on his heels, and limit the mental mistakes. We might just see the next step in the rise of UTSA football.
UTSA 34, Kansas State 24