This is the second of a two-part series previewing the Hogs Cotton Bowl matchup with Kansas State.
In part one of our Kansas State preview, we took a look at the offensive side of the ball for the Wildcats. Trying to figure a way to stop quarterback Collin Klein is going to keep the Arkansas defensive coaches awake at night. Not so much though for newly hired coordinator Paul Petrino and the offense.
If there is a weakness in this Wildcats team, it is on the defensive side of the ball. K-State ranks 73rd nationally in total defense (398.8 yards/game), primarily because it has been very vulnerable against the pass.
Kansas State ranks 104th in Passing Defense (267.3 yards/game). The Hogs rank 13th in Passing Offense (307.8 yards/game). You see where we’re headed here?
When you look at it, though, it’s not all on the KSU secondary. The Wildcats have only recorded 18 sacks on the year (90th nationally), and one guy — defensive end Meshak Williams (6-2, 245) — has seven of those.
So just how much trouble have the Wildcats had in stopping passing offenses in 2011? We went back and took a look at the five teams that K-State played that could really throw it. Like Arkansas, the Big 12 is full of some pass-happy teams.
|Team (Quarterback)||Comp/Att/Pct||Pass Yds||Pass TDs||Points Allowed|
|Baylor (Robert Griffin, III)||23-31 74%||346||5||35|
|Texas Tech (Seth Doege)||43-63 68%||461||1||34|
|Oklahoma (Landry Jones)||35-47 74%||505||5||58|
|Oklahoma State (Brandon Weeden)||36-46 78%||502||4||52|
|Texas A&M (Ryan Tannehill)||27-46 59%||210||3||50|
|5-game Average vs. Passing Offenses||35-46 70%||404.8||3.6||45.8|
The A&M game is a bit deceiving given it was a four overtime game, but it was a 31-31 game at the end of regulation. You could also argue the Aggies weren’t really a passing team — with Michael and Gray running the ball, they were pretty balanced most of the time.
If these numbers hold true Friday night, we could see Tyler Wilson holding a bunch of Cotton Bowl passing records. Currently Graham Harrell of Texas Tech holds the records for attempts (58), completions (36), passing yards (364), and passing touchdowns (4).
The Wildcats aren’t totally void of playmakers on defense though. Miami (Fla.) transfer linebacker Arthur Brown (6-1, 223) leads the team with 95 tackles. Cornerback Nigel Malone leads the secondary with seven interceptions on the year.
In the return game, the kidney injury to freshman wide receiver Tyler Lockett (son of Kevin Lockett, K-State’s all-time leading receiver) during the Oklahoma State game was a big blow. Lockett had taken two kickoffs back for touchdowns, and while his replacement, speedster Tramaine Thompson (5-7, 165) has been good, he’s not shown so far to be that breakaway threat.
All in all, this game comes down to the Razorback defense and their ability to stop Klein. The Hogs are poised to score a lot of points on the fast track in Arlington as long as K-State doesn’t possess the ball (see first half of the Ole Miss game for reference), and keep Tyler Wilson on the sideline.
It should be a fun one…the RBN crew will be there to witness it. Arkansas is favored by 7 1/2 points.