The Kansas State Wildcats are defending Big 12 co-champs and coming off a season where they rose as high as No. 1 in the BCS rankings. But they face a tough rebuild in 2013 as they lose the majority of their roster to graduation. Bill Snyder won’t have a lot of time to get his team on the same page as the Wildcats face a tougher-than-you’d-think challenge in their season-opener against the North Dakota State Bison of the FCS.
Every year it seems that the FCS has one or two teams that catch their FBS foes off-guard and steal a win. NDSU is more often than not one of those teams. The Bison are 6-3 all-time against the FBS and are coming off a 14-1 2012 season that saw them run through the FCS playoffs and win the national championship. They are a confident team that will have no fear of playing in Manhattan, Kansas, to open up their 2013 season.
That’s because they still have a lot of the national title talent on the roster. NDSU will get two 1,000-yard rushers back next season in Sam Ojuri and John Crockett, who combined for 2,085 yards last season. Tackling machine Grant Olson is also back after recording 148 tackles in 2012, including 11.5 for loss and recovering a pair of fumbles. Head coach Craig Bohl is entering year No. 11 with the Bison, so he has a firm grip on the program.
Meanwhile, K-State is replacing basically their entire defense and breaking in a new quarterback. That kind of turnover can take time to iron out, and that is something that the Wildcats just don’t have. The Cats have a tendency to struggle with FCS opponents as is, including a close 10-7 win over a 7-5 Eastern Kentucky Colonels in 2011. If K-State plays poorly or comes out slow against NDSU, it will result in a loss and be a major blow to the momentum of their 2013 campaign.