Jake Waters

1) TCU

The Horned Frogs struggled in a surprising game at Kansas, but quarterback Trevone Boykin continues to show he deserves to be in the Heisman conversation. Their defense, which was supposed to be their strength, has been a bit disappointing. They aren’t bad by any means, but they aren’t superb. They allowed 30 points against Kansas, 61 at Baylor, 30 to West Virginia and 33 against Oklahoma. Fortunately for them, their offense is unstoppable.

2) Baylor

Only one team scores more than TCU, and that is Baylor. The Bears average 50 points per game. It doesn’t matter how bad your defense is when your offense is putting up those kind of numbers. They aren’t one dimensional on offense either. While their passing game is fourth in the country, their rushing attack is no slouch. They are averaging 239.5 yards per game on the ground.

3) Kansas State

After TCU steamrolled them in their biggest game of the year, the Wildcats bounced back to take care of West Virginia last week. Quarterback Jake Waters put up 400 yards through the air, further proof that he has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the Big 12. He has completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes just twice this season, while throwing for at least 223 yards in every game. Most importantly, he limits turnovers, throwing just five picks on 295 attempts.

4) Oklahoma

Head coach Bob Stoops is getting plenty of criticism in Norman, but overall, the Sooners aren’t that bad. They are 8-3, and two of those losses were by four points or less. Last week, true freshman Samaje Perine ran for an FBS record 427 yards. He’s the real deal, and with Joe Mixon, who will return from suspension next year, the Sooners will have the scariest backfield in the nation.

5) Texas

Its defense is for real. Since allowing 45 to Iowa State, the Longhorns have allowed less than 15 per contest. Their pass rush is getting to opposing quarterbacks, and their defensive backs are legit. The only thing holding them back is the inconsistency of the offense. Besides senior receiver John Harris, there isn’t a single player on the offense who has been consistent all year. 

6) West Virginia

After shooting up the rankings, the Mountaineers have quickly lost three straight. For the first time this year, they struggled on offense in the loss to Kansas State. All of sudden, they are sitting at 6-5 overall and just 4-4 in the Big 12.

7) Oklahoma State

My, oh, my, how the Cowboys have fallen. Remember when they were 5-1 and ranked No. 13? Since that time, they have lost five straight and will finish the season with games against Baylor and Oklahoma. It’s hard to be believe this team likely won’t be in a bowl game, but their offense has been terrible. Daxx Garman has 12 touchdowns and 12 picks behind one of the worst offensive lines in the Big 12.

8) Texas Tech

The Red Raiders’ defense might be the worst in the nation, and their offense isn’t very good. That’s a losing combination.

9) Iowa State

The Cyclones may not win a Big 12 game, but they stayed close with a few teams. The loss to Kansas really hurt Paul Rhoads’ bunch.

10) Kansas

The Jayhawks gave TCU a scare and won a Big 12 game. That’s a successful season, given the lack of talent within their roster.

Last year against Texas, Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters ran for just 26 yards on 18 attempts. This year, he already has seven rushing touchdowns through six games.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

Last week, against a struggling Iowa State team, the Longhorn defense turned in its worst performance of the season.

Save for a few well-timed turnovers, the Texas defense had a miserable time slowing down quarterback Sam Richardson and the Cyclones’ option attack. This week, they’ll face a similar scheme, run by a much better team with a much better quarterback.

Kansas State’s senior quarterback, Jake Waters, has had incredible success running the option for the Wildcats this season, as he leads the team in passing and rushing.

“He reminds me of Russell Wilson,” Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said, comparing him to the Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. “[The] guy is a winner, competitor. You have to be very disciplined on defense because of what he does.”

Under Waters’ leadership, No. 11 Kansas State has risen to the top of the Big 12 standings as the only team that remains unbeaten in conference play.

In Waters’ second year running the Wildcat offense, the junior-college transfer has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,431 yards and nine touchdowns while rushing for another 371 yards and seven scores.

Waters and Kansas State’s running backs are at the center of head coach Bill Snyder’s high-powered option offense, but the Wildcats’ capacity in the passing game are what force defenses to respect Waters’ arm. Senior receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton have combined to form one of the more potent wide out combinations in the Big 12 so far this season.

“[Waters] has two tremendous weapons out there with Lockett and Sexton and those guys, they go out and compete each and every game,” senior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. “Just the opportunity to go out and compete against one of the best in the country [is special.]”

Kansas State’s option provides opposing defenses with a unique challenge, as it slows things down at the line of scrimmage. As Waters decides whether to hand the ball off, keep it or utilize the play-action pass, he is often able to freeze the defense, opening things up downfield.

Case in point in last week’s game against Oklahoma, when Waters faked the quarterback draw and lobbed a pop-pass to fullback Glenn Gronkowski for a 62-yard score. Texas will have to be conscious of that possibility again this weekend in order to limit big plays.

“It comes back with discipline, knowing your assignment, what your responsibilities are, situations, and when it pops, it can’t go for 70 yards,” Bedford said.

In particular, the Longhorn defensive backs will have to practice better eye discipline against the Wildcats. Against Iowa State, the Texas secondary often got caught with its eyes in the backfield, leaving receivers open for big gains.

Kansas State’s offense is designed to just do that, so it will take a concerted effort to lock down the Wildcats’ talented receiving corps.

“The quarterback is sitting back there dancing,” junior cornerback Duke Thomas said. “If you’ve got a man, you’ve really got to pay attention to what’s going on.”

Kansas State's Daniel Sams has proven to be the type of player that has given Texas so many problems this year: a quarterback that can run. The Wildcats also have junior college transfer Jake Waters, a NJCAA champion last year, at their disposal.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

As if one quarterback wouldn’t confuse Texas enough already, the Wildcats plan on using two
this weekend.

Junior Jake Waters and sophomore Daniel Sams will share the duties at quarterback this week at Texas, just as they have done all season. And they both like to run.

Last week, they combined to rush 20 times for 151 yards while throwing just 12 times for 127 yards.  

Up to this point, Waters has been the No. 1 guy while Sams has been the backup. However, with the way Texas has handled the run, many expect to see a whole lot more of Sams than in past weeks.

No one knows how Kansas State will use them this weekend, not even their head coach.

“There are certain things that you would like to be able to do, and you have a plan in place, but that will be dictated by the University of Texas as much as anything,” Bill Snyder said. “Any opponent has the ability to take away what they want to take away and force you to do some other things. So how we utilize each of the two quarterbacks is dependent on what the University of Texas does.”

JUCO Transfer – Jake Waters

The Texas defense couldn’t stop a junior college transfer last week. But it can redeem themselves this week.

Just like Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace, Kansas State’s Jake Waters took the JUCO route, won NJCAA Player of the Year and led his team to an undefeated, championship season.

While at Iowa Western Community College, Waters threw for 39 touchdowns with just three interceptions while breaking Cam Newton’s NJCAA record for completion percentage his sophomore year, so like Wallace and Newton, he moved up to FBS.

But in his first year playing against better competition, it hasn’t been smooth sailing, as he has thrown five picks in three games.

“The defenses are just a lot better from top to bottom,” Waters said. “You have got your pick of who you want to throw to in JUCO but here you cannot force stuff and make a play every single time.”

Waters’ problem with forcing things has been his only real problem thus far, though.

“I think he has played well with the exception of five interceptions,” Snyder said. “Those things were very, very costly.”

Excluding those five interceptions, he has been extremely productive, completing 68.6 percent of his passes. While Waters is mainly a passing quarterback, he is a sneaky runner.

“Waters is an underrated runner,” Snyder said after Waters ran for 74 yards against UMass last week. But most importantly for Kansas State, Waters has accepted and embraced the two-quarterback system.

“[Snyder] has been pushing all of the right buttons so far with us,” Waters said. “We are ready every play whether he is calling my number or Daniel [Sams]’ number. Coach Snyder knows what it takes to win and we are all for it. I am cheering for Daniel when he is out there and he is cheering for me, so it is good and it is working so far.”

 

Fast QB – Daniel Sams

Sophomore Daniel Sams is exactly what Texas doesn’t want to see – a running quarterback.

In the two-quarterback system Snyder is using, Sams has only attempted four passes, mostly serving as the backup to Jake Waters.

But he does have 21 rushing attempts and, with the trouble Texas has had stopping the run, Sams will certainly get his fair share of touches.

“Daniels will certainly play, that’s quite obvious,” Snyder said.

Even Mack Brown knows that they will have to stop Sams and the running game that he brings.

“Kansas State will run the option,” Brown said. “I told our defense this morning, if they didn’t run it, they’ll put it in.  My gosh, we got to stop it.  It’s just obvious.”

And the Slidell, La. native is excited for the opportunity, one he didn’t have last year sitting behind Heisman finalist Collin Klein.

“In front of 100,000-plus,” Sams tweeted Monday. “It don’t get no better than that. #life at its finest.”

But when he steps on the field Saturday night, Sams knows that the defense will be focused on him.

“I get excited, but at the same time, Texas knows what we do as a team,” Sams. “They know we are running the quarterback run game.”