Matchups: Week 11

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Quarterback: Kansas State ranks last in the Big 12 in passing offense, but that’s not what the Wildcats use it for. Wildcat signal caller Collin Klein is fourth in the conference in rushing. Kansas State uses a kind of zone read-option hybrid offense and gets most of its yards on the ground. Last week, when asked to win the game against Missouri, the Texas quarterbacks were not up to the task. Both quarterback combined 171 yards passing on 16 of 36 attempts and one interception. With the top-three rushing options out of the game, the offense was stagnant and could not make any plays. Despite being last in passing yards, Kansas State will have the advantage at quarterback because of Klein’s dynamic skill set.

Advantage: Kansas State

Running Back: As long as Texas has one of its top options in the backfield, it will have the advantage at the position. Losing Fozzy Whittaker will be tough for the team. Aside from being one of the main leaders of the squad, he was having one of his most productive seasons as a Longhorn. The Wild Cats are led by their quarterback, Collin Klein, who has more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Sophomore John Hubert is second on the team 781 yards. Though Kansas State is primarily a rushing team, it has been out-rushed by Texas this season. If either Malcolm Brown or Joe Bergeron can play at 100 percent, Texas will have the advantage. If not, it could be a long day on offense for the Longhorns.

Advantage: Kansas State

Receivers: Neither team has a receiver in the top 10 of receptions, receiving yards per game or total receiving yards in the conference. The leading receiver for Kansas State is junior Chris Harper, while Texas is led by Mike Davis. Harper is the only Wildcat receiver who has more than 20 catches on the year, while Davis has been the primary receiver for David Ash, especially with Jaxon Shipley out the past couple of games. If Shipley is healthy, then Texas will have two good receivers to Kansas State’s one. The most important factor for receivers in this game won’t be catches or yards. Instead, it will be based on their ability to block defenders down field for the running backs.

Advantage: Texas

Offensive Line: With both teams wanting to run the ball in this game, the play of the lines becomes one of the deciding factors to the game. Texas is still the top rushing team in the conference, despite only gaining 76 yards on the ground against Missouri. Kansas State allowed an uncharacteristic 10 tackles for loss against Texas A&M with four sacks. Both teams average more than 4.5 yards per carry, with Texas boasting a slightly better 4.92 to the Wildcats’ 4.55 yards per attempt. Kansas State allows just more than seven tackles for loss a game, with Texas allowing seven exactly. Both lines are pretty evenly matched, but Texas has more talent behind it if it shows up to play.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Line: Over the past three games, Jackson Jeffcoat is tied for the team lead in tackles with 27. He and Alex Okafor have been much more active of late, and it is leading to stronger play across the defensive line. In the middle, Ashton Dorsey and Kheeston Randall have been making big impacts against both the run and the pass. And the biggest surprise may be coming from Chris Whaley, who has been consistently getting on the field and making his presence known. Kansas State has only 43 tackles for loss this season, which is just more than four a game. Texas has 71 tackles for loss this season, with 35 of those coming in the last three games. These are the top two rush defenses in the conference, which will pit both teams strengths on offense and defense against each other.

Advantage: Texas

Linebacker: Emmanuel Acho is tied with Jeffcoat with 27 tackles over the last three games, and had a game-high four tackles for loss against Missouri, including a forced fumble. He is leading the team in tackling with 88 tackles and is averaging just less than 10 a game. Kansas State is led by Arthur Brown who has 78 tackles in 10 games. He was the first player to pick off Robert Griffin of Baylor in the Wild Cat’s win over the Bears. Texas only allows 94.8 yards per game on the ground, with Kansas State allowing 99.8 yards rushing per game. These are the only two teams in the conference to hold opponents to less than 100 yards rushing. Nationally, both teams are in the top 25 in terms of stopping the run, with Texas at No.10 and Kansas State at No. 25. Whichever team can stop the run the best will have a major advantage in this game.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive Backs: Texas has the best defensive backfield in the conference and is leading the Big 12 in pass-efficiency defense and is second in overall pass defense. Meanwhile, Kansas State is near the bottom of both pass defense and pass efficiency defense in the conference. Kansas State is second in the conference in turnover margin thanks to 14 interceptions this season, with Nigel Malone leading the conference with six interceptions. There won’t be a lot of passing in this game, but if the Texas quarterbacks have to move the ball, they will be going up against one of the worst in the conference, while Kansas State will have a hard time against the Texas secondary. Texas has the top overall defense in the Big 12, and Kansas State is third overall, so this may end up being a very low-scoring game.

Advantage: Texas

Special Teams: Texas is among the conference’s top kickoff return teams, but so is Kansas State. The Wildcats are ranked No.7 nationally and Texas is No. 13. Neither team is particularly strong in punting the ball or returning punts, so kick returns carry extra importance in this one. Tyler Locket has two kick return touchdowns this season and is currently leading the nation in kickoff returns. Whittaker was the leading return man for Texas, but with him out for the season, D.J. Monroe, Quandre Diggs and Marquise Goodwin have to pick up their production. If a close game came down to field goals, Texas would have a slight advantage with Justin Tucker only having missed two field goal attempts, while Kansas States Anthony Cantele having missed five kicks and one PAT.

Advantage: Texas