An 8-5 finish to the 2013 college football season for the Kansas State Wildcats can be deemed a success based solely on the fact that they won eight games after losing Heisman finalist quarterback Collin Klein from the previous season. With just 11 returning starters, the Wildcats will need to figure out a way to build on an eight-win campaign and not take a step back.
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are coming off a pretty desolate and bland 2013 season in which they finished in last place in the Southland Conference with a 1-6 record. With a 3-9 record overall from last season and a new coach at the helm, the Lumberjacks won’t be holding their breath for a better result in 2014.
Kansas State’s offense didn’t exactly blown anyone away last season as quarterback Jake Waters led the unit to a 71st national ranking in total yards per game. Waters passed for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns to combat nine interceptions. The young QB will have a big helper in the form of wide out Tyler Lockett who accounted for 81 catches for 1,262 yards and 11 scores last season. The running back situation isn’t quite as solidified as the Wildcats lose their top two rushers from 2013. DeMarcus Robinson will need to step up or the reigns will be handed off to true freshman Dalvin Warmack.
The offense wasn’t the problem for Stephen F. Austin in 2013, but it failed to put up more points than the opponents on a regular basis. The Lumberjacks averaged about 39 points and 575 yards per game which should be good enough to give any team a winning record. However, such was not the case. They return three of their top four running backs who combined for 1,703 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Losing top quarterback Brady Attaway will be a painful blow to the offense as he passed for over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, but junior Joe Minden played in six games last season and looked solid in the process.
Defensively, the Lumberjacks were one of the worst units in the nation. Allowing 49.3 points and 527 yards per game is not something they can get away with against Kansas State. On the other side of the field, the Wildcats were much better. Kansas State ranked 31st in the nation in points allowed per game and 26th in the country in total yards allowed. However, it returns just four starters on that side of the ball.
Stephen F. Austin will travel to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats at 7:10 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 30. The game will be broadcasted on local listings.
PREDICTION: Stephen F. Austin 13, Kansas State 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.