The Kansas State Wildcats have taken a noticeable step back from their Big 12 title run in 2012 at 4-4 on the season. It’s been a struggle for K-State at times to close out games and they’ve lost some heartbreakers this season. In fact, all four of their losses have been by 10 points or less this year. After back-to-back wins, however, it seems that the Wildcats have figured out how to finish games and get the win: control the football by limiting turnovers.
On the season, K-State is struggling when it comes to protecting the football. They are minus-6 on the year in turnover margin and have had multiple turnovers in six of their eight games this season. Their worst game came in a four-point loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys when they coughed the ball up five times and finished minus-4 in the turnover margin. If they had been able to avoid those turnovers, is there any doubt they could have made up that four-point deficit at some point in the game?
In the last two games, the team has been markedly improved in the turnover department. After failing to post a positive turnover margin in the first six games, they have been plus-3 in wins over the West Virginia Mountaineers (plus-1) and Iowa State Cyclones (plus-2). In those two games, their margin of victory was 23 and 34, respectively. That makes the formula pretty simple the rest of the way: Hang on to the football and good things will happen.
That formula will be tested this week against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech is a young and exciting football team that can just as easily make a huge mistake due to their inexperience as break a game open with a huge play. Kansas State has to prevent the Raiders from capitalizing on momentum swings their direction by minimizing their turnovers throughout the game. If they can protect the football and sustain drives, it will test the young roster of Texas Tech to play a complete game.