Posted by Tom Fornelli
TEXAS WILL WIN IF: The Longhorns are going to have to adapt to life without Fozzy Whittaker. He wasn't the team's leading rusher, in fact he's third on the team with 386 yards, but he was the key to Texas' Wildcat formation. The good news is that as long as Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron can play, the Longhorns still have plenty of talent at running back, even without the offense's vocal leader. Still, it won't be easy to find running space against a Kansas State defense that is third in the Big 12 in rushing yards allowed per game (117.2) and has only given up 16 rushing touchdowns on the season. What's tougher than running against Kansas State? Keeping Kansas State, particularly Collin Klein, from running against you. Though this is a Texas team that has the best rushing defense in the Big 12 and has only allowed 9 touchdowns all season. This will be the toughest test that Manny Diaz's unit has faced this year. If it can prove capable of slowing down Klein, then the Longhorns can win this game.
KANSAS STATE WILL WIN IF: On defense the Wildcats are going to have to take away the Texas ground game. It won't be easy, but the fact of the matter is that this Texas offense needs to run to have success. David Ash is not a passing quarterback yet, and when the Longhorns lost Fozzy Whittaker last week it was ugly. If the Wildcats can avoid their recent trend of getting down early in games and actually build a lead and force Texas to throw more than it wants to, this could get out of hand quickly. On offense, the formula will remain the same. Collin Klein right, Collin Klein left, Collin Klein up the middle. Sprinkle in a pass here and there, mix, and voila! Touchdowns. Though it's not going to be easy against this Texas defense.
X-FACTOR: John Hubert. This Texas defense is good enough against the run that it can slow down Collin Klein if the Wildcats become too dependent on their quarterback. The best way for Kansas State to make sure that doesn't happen will be if Hubert can find some room and make the Texas front seven respect the option. If Hubert isn't able to pick up yards and the Texas defense is allowed to key solely on Klein, Kansas State could be in trouble.