He’s thrown for a ton of yards and a lot of touchdowns. Sound familiar?
No, Kansas State isn’t taking on Geno Smith and West Virginia again this week, but they are taking on a quarterback that has put up the same kind of numbers and runs a similar offense at Texas Tech in Seth Doege.
Doege has thrown for 2,209 yards and a nation-leading 28 touchdowns this season. The only contrasts he might draw to Smith is his number of interceptions, with seven to Smith’s two.
K-State senior corner Nigel Malone said both guys draw similarities.
“They both throw a pretty strong ball, pretty accurate,” he said. “The biggest difference is one is taller, I guess you could say, but they’re really similar.”
So once again the Wildcats will be tasked with stopping a quarterback capable of lighting up the skies. They held Smith and West Virginia to season lows in yards a week ago, so it should be a replay of that game right?
Maybe not. Not only do the Red Raiders run the ball better, but they also distribute the ball around on offense better.
Senior safety Jarard Milo said that might be one quality about Doege that makes him a tough task to handle.
“Both of them are great quarterbacks, both of them have a lot of strength — Seth does a great job of working his wide receivers,” he said. “They have a great timing system down there, and he’s a quarterback that likes to stand in the pocket and sling it to his wide receivers. We know it’s going to take a great deal on our part to be able to contain him.”
While West Virginia primarily threw the ball to Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, Doege has spread the ball to Darrin Moore, Eric Ward and Jace Amaro. Jakeem Grant nearly has 20 catches this season, and Alex Torres has gotten into the action more lately.
Those guys they are throwing the ball to are what separate them from West Virginia.
“From what I’ve seen, they seem to run a similar system, but their personnel is what differentiates them from West Virginia,” K-State senior linebacker Arthur Brown said. “They have two different styles of quarterbacks too, so that might make a difference.”
In the run game, the Red Raiders have three different players with more than 300 rushing yards, with Kenny Williams leading the way at 423 yards.
Despite that, Malone said they are still very similar to West Virginia for the most part.
“They try to establish the run a little bit more, but really it’s the same,” he said. “Some of the offenses in this league are similar as far as spreading out the ball and then they all try to pass it all over. That’s what they do.”
All-in-all, K-State coach Bill Snyder said it’s an improved Texas Tech team from the one the Wildcats beat in a shootout in Lubbock, Texas, last season.
“I think the quarterback is a year older and a year more experienced, and is playing with great confidence, and is doing that extremely well,” he said. “They have very talented young guys at wide receivers, and an offensive line that has three returning starters and is more experienced, and playing extremely well.”
Texas Tech actually led that game at halftime in 2011, 28-20, but was outscored 21-6 in the second half. Doege threw for 461 yards and one touchdown, but threw three interceptions and turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter.
Brown said he looks improved from that game.
“He was a great quarterback last year, and from what I’ve seen this year he has progressed a lot this season,” he said. “We just have to recognize that and prepare well.”
Doege knows those turnovers can’t happen again. And while there has been much attention placed on the Red Raiders’ improved defense, Doege said the K-State defense is improved too, and it just has a knack for creating turnovers.
“They play extremely hard, and they didn’t give up a whole lot of big plays,” he said. “They kind of try to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do, whether it would be like trying to make too much happen because you feel like maybe you’re struggling when you’re moving the ball, but you’re not making big play after big play.
“They force you to make a mistake or turnover the ball, and I think that’s what they thrive on doing.”