Obviously, we all know about dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein and his Heisman-worthy senior season at Kansas State. Scoring 37 of the team’s touchdowns both on the ground and in the air, it’s obvious that Oregon’s main focus will need to be to disrupt his momentum despite a injury-prone unit all season long.
What else do the Ducks need to watch out for on defense?
- Rushing: 4th in Big 12, 33rd in nation (199.2 yds/gm)
- Passing: 9th in Big 12, 83rd in nation (212.5 yds/gm)
- Scoring: 3rd in Big 12, 8th in nation (40.7 yds/gm)
Balance is the name of the game for Kansas State. They average roughly 200 yards a game both passing and rushing combined. A lot of it is helped by Klein who’s deadly on both phases of the ball. The dual tandem of Klein and junior running back John Hubert have nearly gathered 900 yards on the ground by themselves each. That’s around 75 percent of the total running game for the Wildcats all year, unsurprisingly that’s the same percentage of how many opportunities they get. They’ve scored 37 of the team’s 41 touchdowns on the ground.
Klein isn’t bad throwing, but it’s where the weakness obviously is at. His ratio of touchdowns to interceptions is just a shade better than 2:1 (15 TDs, 7 INTs). The completion percentage is most impressive at 66.2 percent, good for 24th in the nation, but that’s in large part due to the balanced nature of the offense.
Third down conversions and scoring in the red zone has been two areas that make Kansas State a top 10 team in scoring. They rank near the top of the Big 12 and sixth in the nation by converting over 50 percent of their third down opportunities. Like most of the Big 12 teams, the Wildcats have scored 86.7 percent of the time inside the red zone and getting touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Their 59 scores break down into 43 touchdowns and 16 field goals.
Obviously, the biggest area of interest will be how Oregon will handle the scoring machine. Both teams have high turnover margins, and while the Ducks give up yards they don’t let teams score near as much. What will determine the difference is how healthy the defense is – if it gets battered around like it did against USC and California, it could spell trouble.