at Kansas State 24 … Missouri 17
Posted Oct 8, 2011

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Missouri at Kansas State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Missouri at Kansas State

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Oct. 8 at Kansas State 24 … Missouri 17
CFN Analysis: Kansas State's defense was terrific early, and it could afford to have problems late. The D didn't let Missouri get a thing in the first quarter, and Collin Klein and the offense took control handling the clock and the game by keeping the Tiger offense off the field. Klein once again showed that he can do just enough with the short to midrange passing game to keep defense away from the ground game a wee bit. His 11-of-16, 112-yard performance through the air was good enough, and his three touchdown runs will get the focus, but John Hubert was the workhorse with 126 yards on 26 carries. The Tiger defense was keyed in on keeping Klein under wraps, but Hubert got the job done. The attention should start to come, but there's test after test to deal with. If the Wildcats beat Texas Tech on the road then, it'll really be time to think big.

The Missouri offense can't find any semblance of consistency. It had a hard time against Oklahoma until late, and it didn't get going until it was way too late against Kansas State. James Franklin has been okay, but he's not getting enough help from the running game with no room to move in the first quarter. Down 24-3, Franklin got hot and the Tigers made it interesting late with two touchdowns in the final eight minutes, but it wasn't nearly enough. The big problem was an inability to keep the chains moving; Mizzou just never had the ball. The defense was solid, only allowing 286 yards of total KSU offense, but Frankin and the Tiger attack converted just 4-of-13 third down chances.

(AP) MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State was the ranked team, the unbeaten team, the team coming off a confidence-building victory over then-No. 15 Baylor. The Wildcats were hosting an unranked opponent in Missouri that had lost two of its last three games.

Tre Walker couldn't understand why people were picking No. 20 Kansas State to lose.

"We want respect," the sophomore linebacker said. "Anytime someone doesn't give you respect, that makes you want it even more, and you keep fighting for it until you get it."

That might start happening soon.

Collin Klein had three touchdowns rushing Saturday, John Hubert added 126 yards on the ground and the Wildcats' defense made enough plays to prevent a late comeback by the Tigers. The result was a 24-17 victory and K-State's first 5-0 start since 2000.

"That means an awful lot," said coach Bill Snyder, who's in his third year of rebuilding the program after a brief retirement. Snyder said the Wildcats were proud of their start, but he added that he was more proud of the way they took the victory in stride.

"What I'm proud of is it's a day in the life," Snyder said. "Tomorrow is a new day."

James Franklin had 214 yards passing to lead the Tigers (2-3), who came into the game averaging more than 500 yards of total offense. They only managed 326 against the Wildcats, most of that coming on a pair of long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.

The first was a 79-yard drive that Henry Josey finished with a 2-yard run to get the Tigers within 24-10. The Wildcats promptly went three-and-out, and Franklin led Missouri on a 74-yard drive that he finished off with a plunge from a yard out with 5:02 left in the game.

Missouri never got another chance with the ball.

"We're just not playing very good football right now," coach Gary Pinkel said. "It starts with me, so I'm not doing a good enough job coaching these guys."

Kansas State's defense set the tone on the first offensive play.

Franklin dropped back to pass, looked over the middle and threw right to Wildcat defensive back Ty Zimmerman, who had deftly stepped in front of the intended receiver. The interception ended a stretch of 108 consecutive passes without throwing a pick for the sophomore quarterback.

It took Kansas State six plays to punch it into the end zone.

"The interception was big, but the most significant thing about that interception was whether we were going to get seven or three out of it," Snyder said. "Getting seven was substantial."

Franklin was sacked for a 13-yard loss on Missouri's ensuing possession, and the Wildcats went 51 yards in 12 plays before Anthony Cantele's field goal made it 10-0.

By the time the first quarter drew to a close, the Tigers had exactly zero yards of total offense -- 20 yards through the air and minus-20 on the ground.

"They just dropped back and they told us, 'Hey, we're going to make you guys have to make plays," Franklin said, "and we just made a bunch of mistakes and they capitalized on that."

Josey finally got things rolling for Missouri in the second quarter, using his quick feet to spring for a couple of long runs. But a false start inside the 10-yard line on second down pushed the Tigers back and they had to settle for Grant Ressel's 32-yard field goal.

Ressel had a chance to get Missouri within 10-6 at the break, but he pushed a 43-yard attempt wide right on the final play of the half as rain started to fall.

The Wildcats' only big mistake all game happened early in the third quarter, when Klein was picked off by Kip Edwards. But their defense held and Ressel's 36-yard field goal attempt was wide left.

Missouri cost itself later in the quarter when Darvin Ruise was called for roughing the punter, giving Kansas State the ball back. Hubert went to work, doing his best Darren Sproles imitation after taking a handoff, spinning away from a defender and going all the way down to the 3.

Klein scored seconds later for a 17-3 lead.

He added a short scoring plunge on the Wildcats' next possession, and although Missouri managed to make the game close with a couple late touchdowns, the lead was too much to overcome.

"One game at a time. We'll count the wins at the end of the season," Kansas State defensive back Tysyn Hartman said afterward. "The team mindset hasn't changed. Take it one game at a time."

Missouri (2-2) at Kansas State (4-0) Oct. 8, 3:30, ABC/ESPN3

Here's The Deal … Missouri is supposed to be good, really good, but at 2-2 it's hard to convince anyone of it. Struggling to beat a bad Miami University and blowing away Western Illinois isn't going to bring much respect, and while losing in overtime at Arizona State and losing at Oklahoma wasn't unexpected, the Tigers have to come up with a good win. Fast.

Kansas State actually has two great wins on the résumé and yet few are jumping on the bandwagon. The goal line stop of Jacory Harris to beat Miami was good, while withstanding the onslaught of the Robert Griffin Fun Show and getting by Baylor in many ways was even better. KSU persevered, didn't get knocked off its game, and managed to come up with the win over the Bears, even if all the highlight shows devoted the segments to Griffin's phenomenal performance.

With three of the next four games on the road wrapped around a home date against Oklahoma, it's not going to be easy for the Wildcats with no real break in the slate and the Iowa State home game coming at the end of the regular season. At this point, though, KSU is playing with house money. It doesn't have the offense and doesn't have the talent on defense to win the Big 12 title, but the team has already defied logic and showed that it'll bring a tough effort week in and week out.

Missouri has Oklahoma out of the way and gets a second conference road game under its belt this week. With Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech coming to Columbia, the Big 12 title is still in play with a win this week. A loss all but ends the fun and all but guarantees a final spot outside of the league's top three.

Mizzou has won five in a row in the series after Kansas State went on a run of 13 straight wins. The two schools first started playing in 1914, a 28-0 Missouri win, and while the rivalry has never matched the level of Kansas vs. Missouri, it has still been important. Considering there's a chance Missouri is in another conference next year, this game could end up taking on a bigger meaning.

Why Missouri Might Win: Yeah, Kansas State beat Miami and Baylor, but the secondary went bye-bye. Griffin is going to bomb away on everyone, and Jacory Harris isn't all that bad, but the pass defense had a hard time coming up with stops. Missouri's passing game has been terrific, and while James Franklin didn't hit half his throws against OU, he threw for 291 yards and a touchdown after throwing bombing away against Arizona State and having no problems against Western Illinois. Mizzou might have lost to OU, but Franklin appears to be comfortable, he ran for 103 yards, and he kept the offense pressing for a full four quarters.

The key to beating Kansas State is the run defense, with the Wildcat passing attack having problems beyond the occasional catch-you-napping throws against cheating up safeties. So far the Tiger front seven has been terrific and has been a rock against the run, allowing just 104 yards to Arizona State and 144 yards and two scores against Oklahoma. Kansas State will get its yards by forcing it, but the Mizzou linebacking corps should be able to keep the Wildcat offense from coming up with many big plays.

Why Kansas State Might Win: Yes, the Missouri run defense has been terrific so far, but it hasn't faced a quarterback who can run like Collin Klein and it hasn't faced a running game this intricate. Oklahoma, Miami University, and Arizona State have statues at quarterback and use basic ground games as complements to the passing attack. Kansas State is a two man rushing show with Klein and John Hubert, and Baylor wasn't close to shutting it down and Miami's athletic defense got torn up for 266 yards. But Kansas State can throw a little bit, too. Klein isn't going to keep pace through the air with Franklin, but he can be effective when he has to.

More than anything else, to be crude, Kansas State has is mojo working. It takes a certain team mindset to stop a comeback in Miami and make a stop an inch away from a touchdown. It takes a focus and a heart to get bombed on all game long by Robert Griffin and still come up with the one big pick and the one big play to pull off the win. If this stays close late, Kansas State knows it can win a tight game. Missouri doesn't know yet if it can beat a really good team.

What To Watch Out For: It's the end of the Bryce Brown era before it even began. Considered one of the nation's top recruits a few years ago, he went to Tennessee, transferred to Miami, ended up at Kansas State, and ran three times for 16 yards. While he's talented enough to get drafted and be considered a hot prospect by the time April comes around, he wasn't able to impress the coaching staff enough to get on the field. Instead, sophomore John Hubert has shown the work ethic and the drive to take on the role as the main back, rushing for 166 yards against Miami and 57 against Baylor. It's not all Klein, and the more Missouri keys on the quarterback, the more space Hubert will have.

The Mizzou punting game was among the best in America last year averaging 42.6 yards per shot with Matt Grabner putting 29 inside the 20 and forcing 14 fair catches, but he also put eight in the end zone for touchbacks. This year it's been up to junior Trey Barrow to show he can keep the production going, and he's been even better than Grabner. Terrific against Oklahoma, he averaged 47.1 yards per kick putting two inside the 20, and was phenomenal against Arizona State averaging a whopping 58 yards per kick putting one inside the 20. Kansas State needs decent field position, and Barrow might be a difference maker who doesn't let that happen.

What Will Happen: This is when Missouri settles down and finally starts to look like the team with the talent to do all the big things expected. The offensive balance will be good, but the play of the defensive line will be great as it'll control the Kansas State running game and force Klein to push the ball deeper than he'll like. It'll be a fun game, but Mizzou will make a bit of a statement.

CFN Prediction: Missouri 34 … Kansas State 27
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