Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reeling Wildcats look to slow speedy Cajuns

North Dakota State’s experience and toughness were tough to deal with in Week 1.

In Week 2, Kansas State has to face a team built on speed, and it won’t be any easier.

Fresh off the season-opening loss to the Bison, the Wildcats will take on the challenge of Louisiana, led by dual-threat quarterback Terrance Broadway.

Although Broadway was held to 171 passing yards in the Ragin’ Cajuns 34-14 loss to Arkansas, he comes off a season that saw him throw for 2,800 yards and 17 touchdowns and rush for nearly 800 and another nine touchdowns.

K-State coach Bill Snyder knows he’s a player that could cause problems for any defense.

“They have their quarterback, Broadway, who is a dual-threat type guy,” he said. “He possessed the ball 46 percent of all the snaps they had last year, so either by running the ball himself or throwing it, that is half the time. He is the guy you have to pay close attention to.”

The Cajuns know they will be dealing with a similar situation when they visit Manhattan on Saturday, with both K-State quarterbacks seeing action against North Dakota State and backup Daniel Sams expected to see more time this week.

After facing a pocket-passer-type quarterback against Arkansas, Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth said his defense will have an entirely new challenge to deal with.

“Kansas State’s quarterbacks are a little more dual-threat, they can hurt you with the run, probably more than Arkansas could,” he said. “They can run and throw, so that presents more of a challenge, and that creates some issues defensively.”

To see the kinds of problems a team like Louisiana can cause, Snyder looks no further than the Cajuns game at Florida last season.

Late in the season, when SEC teams often break from conference play for one last non-conference game, the Gators had their hands full against Louisiana, needing to rally to win the game 27-20 in the fourth quarter.

“I was just watching their Florida ballgame last year and they gave Florida all they wanted late into the fourth quarter,” Snyder said.

The Louisiana offense features running back Alonzo Harris, who has 1,637 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career, and true freshman running back Elijah McGuire. At wide receiver, the Cajuns have a pair of tall, rangy players in Jamal Robinson and James Butler, who have combined to play in 49 games, with just five combined starts.

The toughest part about the Louisiana offense though, is their balance. Snyder said they are tasked with preparing for that balance, while also correcting the mistakes from a week ago.

“If you go back and really study their offense, and it is true in their Arkansas game, they ran the ball 32 times and threw it 31,” Snyder said. “Go back last year and they are almost 50-50 in run and pass. When you look at down and distance situations, and with the exception of maybe a couple of those situations, you are totally balanced between run and pass. That creates a problem for anybody.”

Defensively, Snyder said Louisiana is comparable to North Dakota State in toughness, but maybe a little quicker in the way they fly all over the field. The Wildcats are looking to create their own balance this week, and put behind them the 41-yard rushing performance from the opener.

On the other side, Hudspeth is worried about how a team like K-State could respond to its wake-up call loss to North Dakota State, this week. Hudspeth said with a talented team and an experienced coach, the Wildcats are sure to have a great week of practice in preparing to face his team this weekend.

Hudspeth is also worried about how the K-State defense has been downplayed after its performance against the Bison. Even though the unit lost 10 starters from last season, Hudspeth said K-State is the kind of program that can easily replace.

“Defensively, they’ve got some talent,” he said. “They’re not Kansas State for nothing, those guys have been a very good program for a long period of time. They’ve got plenty of depth and they’re the type of program that can just say ‘next, next up.’”


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