The Kansas State Wildcats play host to the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday in a crucial Big 12 rivalry game from Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. The Jayhawks were one of the best stories in college football to start the season but five losses in their last six games have tempered expectations slightly. For the Wildcats, a Big 12 title game berth seems to be on the cusp, though they'll need to take care of business in this one. The Jayhawks haven't been able to grab a win in this rivalry in over a decade, which is sure to only add to their issues coming into this one.
Jayhawks Look To Flip ScriptKansas' struggles are well documented from the past decade and even with this being one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, they remain only a loss away from finishing the season at .500, despite the fast start. The Big 12 section of the schedule has been a challenge for this group and with Kansas State surging of late, this seems like a game that Kansas has struggled with historically. It has been over a decade since the Jayhawks were able to take down their in-state rival and with a losing record on the road already this season, they seem hard-pressed to change their fortunes in this one.
The Jayhawks have a few injuries of concern, especially on the offensive side of the ball, which isn't likely to help this group keep pace in this one. Daniel Hinshaw Jr. (lower body) hurts from a depth perspective at running back, while a pair of pass catchers are expected to miss this weekend's game as well.
Kansas' defense has taken a step back this season and it appears that it'll fall on the offense to lead the way in this one. The good news for the Jayhawks this season has been their ability to stay balanced. They rank 62nd nationally in passing and 23rd in rushing, with that rushing number giving them the chance to control the clock in this one. Devin Neal has been one of the Big 12's best backs this season and with Jalon Daniels back under center, this offense should look quite a bit more dangerous.
Wildcats Look To Extend Rivalry DominanceKansas State has had a great season in its own right and sees Saturday as an opportunity for them to take the talk away from their in-state rival. The Wildcats would love nothing more than a trip to the Big 12 title game and a rematch with TCU, though they can't overlook the Jayhawks. The Wildcats come into this one having won two in a row, dominating a pair of opponents back-to-back on the road. There's no doubt that this group will be happy to return home, where they have a 4-2 record, and with so much on the line, this group will come out flying around the field in this one.
The Wildcats have some injuries they'll be worried about heading into this weekend as well. Adrian Martinez (undisclosed) remains out, which is a crucial absence for this offense to be without their starting quarterback. With the other two absences serving issues from a depth perspective, all eyes will be on how this team transitions from Martinez.
A special group pic.twitter.com/l71KKHDr18— K-State Football (@KStateFB) November 23, 2022
Kansas State hasn't excelled on either side of the ball this season, though their balance has helped them find success. All eyes will be on the running game in this one though, where they bring in the country's 17th-ranked ground game. Deuce Vaughn (1148 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns) remains dangerous whenever he touches the ball and if he can find a way to be effective in his one, it could make all the difference. Will Howard (11 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) will get the start with Martinez out, his ability to break teams down through the air should add a unique dimension to this team.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Wildcats shouldn't have any issues continuing their domination of the rivalry in this one, especially as they find themselves at home. The Jayhawks have been overmatched in nearly every Big 12 game and with confidence so low, this isn't the matchup for them to flip the script. For the Wildcats, having one of the Big 12's best ground games is going to allow them to control this game. In addition, while being without Martinez will hurt, Howard adds more of a passing threat that will only increase their offensive efficiency in this one. Additionally, according to covers.com, Kansas State is 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall, while also sitting at 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings with the Jayhawks overall.
Full-Game Total Pick
This rivalry game is one that will be played almost exclusively on the ground, in an effort for both teams to control the clock and keep their own defenses off the field. The Wildcats have the nation's 17th-best rushing attack and that is bound to come to light in this one, especially against a Kansas defense that struggles against the run. For the Jayhawks, the emergence of Daniels in his return as a quarterback should help them focus on moving the ball in chunks on the ground as well. Additionally, according to covers.com, the under is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these two teams.