Nobody in their right mind would have picked the Kansas State Wildcats to defeat the Miami Hurricanes last season. But K-State proved the doubters wrong by winning in Miami on a 4th down goal line stand. Now in 2012, Kansas State must do it again. The only difference is that this time the Wildcats enter the game as the favorite to win.
Both Miami and Kansas State enter this game with a record of 1-0. Kansas State defeated Missouri State 51-9 in a game that was not really decided until the end of the third quarter. Miami had a battle with Boston College and came out on top 41-32. Both teams will be looking for a big victory when the Hurricanes come to Manhattan. The game will kick off at 11 AM and will be live to a national audience on FX.
A Look at the Miami Hurricanes
QB – Last season Jacory Harris started for the Hurricanes. As a freshman Harris was very highly touted, but he never quite lived up to that hype. This season the Hurricanes will be led into battle with junior QB Stephan Morris. Morris played in five games, including a start against Maryland, last season. He threw for 283 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. As a true freshman Morris played in 6 games throwing for 1,240 yards with 7 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
Last week against Boston College, Morris threw for 207 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He had a completion percentage of 62.2%. Morris will be backed up by RS/SO Ryan Williams.
HB – Last season the Canes had an explosive back in Lamar Miller. This season the Canes will try to replace Miller. In the opening week the newcomers put up some impressive numbers. SR Mike James will be the starter against Kansas State. Last week James rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries. He was Miller’s back up last season rushing for 275 yards with 7 touchdowns.
Miami also has Junior HB Eduardo Clements in a back up role. Last week he only had 3 carries for 4 yards, but one of those was a key touchdown. The back receiving most of the praise after last week was true freshman speedster Duke Johnson. On only 7 carries the former 5-star halfback rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns in his Miami debut. Johnson was rated as the #1 high school half back last season by Rivals. If Johnson gets space Kansas State will have major issues.
WR/TE – The Hurricanes leading returning receiver is JR Allen Hurns. Hurns had 31 catches and 415 yards and four touchdowns last seaspm. In the opening game against Boston College Hurns lead the Canes with 8 catches for 81 yards. Starting alongside Hurns will be freshman Malcolm Lewis and sophomore Phillip Dorsett. Lewis had 4 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown last week. The receiving unit is relatively young and inexperienced, but will be looking to step up against a pass defense that looked subpar against Missouri State.
Starting at TE for Miami will be converted defensive lineman Dyron Dye. Dye started two games last season as a RS Sophomore, but didn’t generate any statistics. Was ranked #145 on ESPN’s top 150 as a DE coming out of high school.
Offensive Line – The offensive line is another young unit for the Hurricanes. Starting at LT is RS sophomore Malcolm Bunche. Last season Bunche only started in one game (Virginia). At LG will be RS sophomore Jon Feliciano. Feliciano appeared in ten games while starting eight of those games last season and did not allow a single sack. Playing at the center position will be RS sophomore Shane McDermott. McDermott did not start last season, but he did appear in 10 games for Miami.
On the right side of the line true freshman Ereck Flowers will make the start. Flowers in high school was rated as a four star prospect out of Miami, Florida. The anchor of the offensive line is returning starter Brandon Linder at the RG position. Linder started all 12 games last season and only allowed 1.5 sacks during the entire season.
DL – The defensive line returns senior starter Darius Smith to start at the DT position. Last season Smith had 21 tackles, 3 of them for loss, and a sack. Starting at the other tackle position will be true Sophomore Olsen Pierre. Pierre made 4 tackles in seven games last season.
At the defensive end positions the Hurricanes will start true sophomore Anthony Chickillo and RS junior Shayon Green. Green only had 8 tackles in his previous two years as he had to battle through injuries. But he opened up the 2012 campaign with an impressive 7 tackle performance against Boston College. Chickillo is the anchor of the defensive line. Last season he had an impressive 5 quarterback sacks as a true freshman as well as producing 38 tackles (6.5 for loss). Chickillo was a five star prospect out of high school as he accumulated 18 sacks and 140 tackles his senior year.
Linebackers – Miami returns a relatively young, but a heavily experienced linebacker unit. Starting at OLB is a RS freshman in Eddie Johnson, and a RS senior in Ramon Buchanan. Buchanan started ten games as a junior in 2010 and registered 54 tackles. Last season he started four games before being injured. He received a medical redshirt and the Canes are very happy to have him back. Johnson made a splash in week one making five tackles in his first career game.
True sophomore Denzel Perryman returns for the Canes at middle linebacker. Last season Perryman recorded 69 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, and a sack. Backing up Perryman will be junior Jimmy Gaines. Last season Gaines recorded 58 tackles including 3 for loss.
Secondary – Miami returns senior cornerback Brandon McGee. McGee started every game in 2011 for Miami recording 38 tackles and an interception. He will play alongside true sophomore Thomas Finnie. Finnie appeared in 11 games in 2011 making no starts. He opened the season with 4 tackles last week. The safeties for Miami are RS senior Vaughn Telemaque and junior Kacy Rodgers II. Telmaque is another Cane who was awarded medical hardship (after an injury his true freshman season). He has been a 3 year starter for the Canes and a solid member of the Miami secondary. Rodgers, on the other hand, has not had very much experience. In 2011 he appeared in 10 games (mostly special teams or mop up duty) and only had 3 tackles. But Rodgers did start the season strong with 8 tackles last week against Boston College.
Miami returns both their starting kicker and punter from last year, including senior Dalton Botts. Last season Botts punted an impressive 42.7 average on 48 kicks which included a bombing 62 yarder.
A 2011 Lou Groza semifinalist, Jack Wieclaw returns to kick the field goals for Miami. Last season Wieclaw converted 11 out of 14 field goals (78.6 percent) and a perfect 39-39 on extra points. Wieclaw’s career long is 49 yards. Returning kicks for the Canes will be the speedy Phillip Dorsett, and explosive Duke Johnson.
3 Keys to a Wildcat Victory
- Start Fast – Kansas State has been a terrible team at starting fast. Last season they got behind to many opponents. Luckily they finished games better than arguably any team in the nation. Don’t continue this trend. Come out firing and K-State has a great chance to get the win.
- Contain Miami’s Speed – K-State doesn’t have the secondary to match up with the speed of Miami. In order to prevent getting burnt deep the Cats have to keep the Miami receivers in front of them, even if that means giving up occasional 5-6 yard completions. The defensive line will also have to get to get in the backfield fast. Do. Not. Allow. Johnson. To. See. Open. Field.
- Finish Strong – This is something Kansas State has been tremendous at of late. If Miami does jump out to a fast start, K-State has to be ready to answer.
Miami is a very young football team. They only have one senior starter on offense, and their defense isn’t overly experienced either. A lot of sophomores and freshman will be playing for The U on Saturday. That doesn’t mean Miami is a bad team, on the contrary, they will be a great team here in the next 1-3 years. Al Golden has done a tremendous job of finding talent. Now its time for Miami to sit back and watch that talent grow. That being said, I really like the matchup for Kansas State. Collin Klein won’t sneak up on Miami this year, but he has many more options than he did last season. John Hubert has really come into his own. Chris Harper and Tyler Lockett are now established receiving threats, and it looks as if Klein has really improved his accuracy. I see K-State having little problems getting by Miami’s defense, and K-State will win a lower scoring game than experts are predicting.
K-State wins 24-14
Big 12 Staff Predictions
On Season: Brandon Starkey 9-0, Paul Badke 9-0, DeAnte Mitchell 9-0, Jordan Bayless 9-0
Miami @ K-State: Brandon – KSU 24-14, DeAnte – KSU 27-21, Paul – KSU 34-28, Jordan – KSU 38-30
Iowa State @ Iowa: Brandon– ISU 27-17, DeAnte– ISU 35-31, Paul– Iowa 38-20, Jordan– ISU 21-20
Rice @ Kansas: Brandon KU 42-24, DeAnte KU 38-24, Paul KU 27-17, Jordan KU 28-17
Grambling State @ TCU: Brandon TCU, 56-9 DeAnte TCU 56-14, Paul TCU 52-10, Jordan TCU 48-14
Texas Tech @ Texas State: Brandon TECH 31-13, DeAnte TECH 21-14, Paul TECH 42-17, Jordan TECH 17-14
Florida A&M @ Oklahoma: Brandon OU 63-0, DeAnte OU 63-0, Paul OU 66-0, Jordan OU 49-7
New Mexico @ Texas: Brandon TEX 45-3, DeAnte TEX 42-17, Paul TEX 34-10, Jordan TEX 24-10
Oklahoma State @ Arizona: Brandon OK ST 31-14, DeAnte OK ST 35-24, Paul OK ST 44-20, Jordan OK ST 35-24
West Virginia and Baylor: Bye