Bill Snyder is expecting only the best from Kansas State’s most challenging test to date this season.
After blowout wins over Central Arkansas and Charlotte to kick off the new season, the No. 18 Wildcats (2-0) are set for a road matchup on Saturday with Vanderbilt, easily K-State’s toughest opponent so far. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and will air on ESPNU.
The Commodores are fresh off a pair of commanding wins, first a 28-6 decision over Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 2, then a 42-0 shutout on Alabama A&M last Saturday.
It wasn’t just the scoreboard that impressed Snyder, though. It was the way Vanderbilt won.
“More important than the wins was how well they played in each ballgame,” Snyder said during a teleconference Monday morning. “They’ve won very handily. Against Alabama A&M, they scored on their first five possessions, and against Middle Tennessee, they scored on their first three possessions. They’re awfully good out of the locker room. They start well.”
At the helm of the offense is Kyle Shurmur, who has thrown for 498 yards and seven touchdowns on a smooth 76.1 completion percentage. Shurmur leads the SEC in quarterback rating (217.24), and checks in at second in completion percentage.
Fortunately for K-State, in the secondary watching Shurmur will be safety Kendall Adams, who was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the two touchdowns he recorded last Saturday.
To Snyder, it was Adams’ careful positioning that set him up to become the first Wildcat since 2012 to return a fumble for a touchdown.
Snyder said Adams was “in the right place at the right time.”
“The key word for it is execution,” he said. “He did exactly that. He was where he needed to be, where he was supposed to be, and obviously, it paid off for him. I think he’s becoming more and more comfortable being a returning starter. He processes information a lot faster. That gives him a chance to get a jump on the ball.”
Snyder said he saw his secondary take steps forward as a whole between Weeks 1 and 2, too.
“(There was) a significant difference between the two games,” Snyder said. “That probably has something to do with the teams that we played, but I thought we showed that improvement that you’re looking for.”
Giving up just three points per game, the Commodores’ defense features linebacker Charles Wright and defensive end Dare Odeyingbo, who rank second and fourth in the SEC with four and two and a half sacks, respectively.
“They’ve got a few things they do with their defensive schemes that are somewhat unique and harder to prepare for,” Snyder said. “It’s different movements that they have with people up front, how they utilize their coverages. (They have) the capacity to give you a variety of different looks with their secondary.”
K-State may not field its preferred lineup against Vanderbilt, however. In the Wildcats’ win over Charlotte last Saturday, right tackle Dalton Risner left for the locker room early in the game, never to return to the field.
Snyder said Risner’s status “remains to be seen,” though he hopes to get him on the field for practice this week.
Wide receiver Byron Pringle didn’t see the field against Charlotte, and Snyder said he also hopes to see him play on Saturday.
Source: The Mercury
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