Kansas State could be without top running back Alex Barnes when it takes on Texas A&M on Wednesday in the Texas Bowl.
Barnes, a redshirt freshman who averaged 7.9 yards per rush, was not in attendance for the Wildcats’ practice Monday at Rice University.
K-State coach Bill Snyder didn’t explain why Barnes was a no-show, but Barnes did he make the trip and was in attendance at a pregame rodeo event Monday evening. Snyder said little after practice when asked if Barnes will play in the Texas Bowl.
“I hope so,” Snyder replied.
If Barnes is unable to play against Texas A&M, he will miss his second straight game. He watched K-State’s final regular-season game, a 30-6 victory at TCU, in full uniform from the sideline.
Barnes was on a hot streak before missing that game. He eclipsed 100 rushing yards in victories over Baylor and Kansas. Snyder said he expected Barnes to start against TCU.
But that didn’t happen, due to a surprise injury sustained in practice.
“He got banged up doing something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing,” Snyder said of Barnes after the TCU game. “It wasn’t his fault. It was our fault. Consequently, it set him back.”
Barnes has rushed for 442 yards and six touchdowns this season in 56 carries.
If he is unable to play against Texas A&M, K-State will turn to typical starter Charles Jones and sophomore Justin Silmon.
Jones, a senior, rushed for 577 yards and two touchdowns in 110 attempts this season.
Silmon came on strong in place of Barnes against TCU, rushing for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Dalvin Warmack could also see an increased workload.
K-State appears to have gotten healthier at other positions. Senior linebacker Charmeachealle Moore said he has recovered fully from an injury suffered against TCU and will play in the Texas Bowl. Defensive back Duke Shelley and kicker Matthew McCrane were also full participants in practice Monday after missing previous games.
Painting Houston Purple
K-State expects as many as 15,000 fans to be in attendance at NRG Stadium for the Texas Bowl.
Athletic officials said the school has sold approximately 7,000 tickets out of its bowl allotment of 10,500. Those tickets were all for $85 premium seats. The Wildcats expect just as many fans, and possibly more, to purchase less expensive tickets directly from the bowl or on the secondary market.
Players have enjoyed practicing in warm conditions this week in Houston. High temperatures reached the 80s on Monday.
It was hot enough for Snyder to run portions of practice without a windbreaker, which he notoriously wears even in the hottest of conditions.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett