Kansas State prepares for TCU and its strong defense

11/13/2013 3:53 PM

11/13/2013 3:53 PM

Kansas State is a rapidly improving football team. It is also a red-hot football team. The Wildcats have won three straight blowouts and are now within one victory of becoming bowl eligible.

They will try to keep their winning streak going against TCU on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium. The oddsmakers have labeled them as 10-point favorites, and if they continue to play the way they have recently they could easily win by double digits. Then again, the game could be a challenge. TCU is unlike most teams in the Big 12. Its offense isn’t anything special. But its defense is among the nation’s best.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:

The Game
K-State faces TCU at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium. The game will be televised on FSN with Mike Morgan on play-by-play, Brian Baldinger serving as analyst and J.C. Pearson as sideline reporter. The Wildcats are favored by 10.

The Opponent
TCU was supposed to be a potential darkhorse candidate to win the Big 12, but the season hasn’t played out that way for the Horned Frogs. Injuries and poor offensive play have hampered them all season. They enter Saturday’s game needing to win out to reach bowl eligibility. But they still believe they can reach the postseason. A win close win over Iowa State gave them confidence. And Gary Patterson, a former K-Stater, wants to win in his return home.

TCU will challenge K-State on defense. It allows 125 rushing yards per game and 224 passing yards per game. It ranks in the top 20 nationally in both categories. That is a far cry from Texas Tech, which simply tries to outscore people. TCU makes opponents work for points and victories.

Big 12 Player of the Week
Ryan Mueller is once again the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

The Kansas State junior defensive end, from Leawood, won the honor for the second-consecutive week on Monday.
The back-to-back honors are hardly a surprise. Mueller came up with three sacks and a forced fumble against Texas Tech.

It was the latest strong game for Mueller in a breakout season. He came to K-State as an unknown walk-on, but now leads the nation in sacks with 10.5. He is also one of the main reasons why the Wildcats are playing at a high level on defense.

“Obvioulsy, (we have made) a lot of improvement,” Mueller said Saturday. “We are winning. Everyone is patting us on the back. Things are going good now. We just have to keep climbing and get better.”

On Monday, K-State coach Bill Snyder was asked what brought Mueller to Manhattan as a walk-on.

“His nature,” Snyder said. “He just wanted to compete at the best level he possibly could.”

He has. Mueller has 45 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. On top of to leading the nation in sacks, Mueller ranks second in tackles for loss and 14th in forced fumbles with three.

He is a contender for All-America honors.

Bowl Watch
K-State is still sixth in the Big 12 standings, but it is in good position to catch Texas Tech by the end of the season. That would put the Wildcats in line for the Holiday Bowl with two more wins and give them a shot at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, if they win out.

Links
Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports both project K-State to reach the Texas Bowl.

– John Hubert is playing so well that he might yet reach 1,000 yards as a senior. Not that he is talking about the accomplishment.

– Beating Iowa State was kind of a big deal for TCU.

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