Five Things That Need To Happen For K-State To Repeat

Five Things That Need To Happen For K-State To Repeat

T-minus 38 days until K-State kicks off the 2023 college football season against Southeast Missouri State. It’s been a while since I have seen this much anticipation and hype around K-State football going into a football season. Expectations are high since the media picked K-State to finish second in the league behind Texas. Some are even projecting K-State to repeat as champions and to make the college football playoff! These projections and predictions are a little out of whack, especially considering what the Wildcats lost off last year’s Big 12 championship team. There are quite a few unknowns about this team for me to predict a repeat or them making the playoff. It could happen, of course, but quite a few puzzle pieces will have to come together for it to come to fruition. Here are five things I believe need to happen for K-State to repeat as Big 12 champions.

1.) Will Howard needs to continue to improve

Will Howard played lights out in relief of Adrian Martinez last season and led the Wildcats to the Big 12 championship. It’s his team now and if he can pick up at the level he ended the 2022 season and continue to improve, K-State should be competitive and have a chance to win every game on the schedule.

2.) Defensive line play

Replacing first-round draft pick defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah and defensive lineman Eli Huggins will not be easy. K-State is moving linebacker Khalid Duke back to full-time defensive end to replace King Felix, and senior defensive tackle Uso Seumalo is tasked with replacing Huggins. The coaching staff has spoken glowingly of both Seumalo and Duke, but I’m a bit skeptical they will be able to replace the production that Anudike-Uzomah and Huggins gave the team. If Seumalo and Duke can play at a high level, it will greatly increase the chances of the Wildcats to repeat.

3.) Texas needs to be Texas

Texas is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12, but how many times have we seen Texas with high preseason expectations only to crash and burn and not come close to living up to them? All the time. I think this season might be different, only because Texas has been killing it on the recruiting trail, recruiting pretty close to the level of Alabama and Georgia. They have even more talent than usual, but we’ll have to see if they can put it together on the field. Seeing Texas falter again only increases the chances of K-State reappearing in the Big 12 championship game.

4.) Running backs Treshaun Ward and Dj Giddens must shine

Replacing a running back like Deuce Vaughn is impossible, but Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward and/or DJ Giddens will have to be productive on the ground if the Wildcats are to find success. Having the entire offensive line back from a year ago will help. Vaughn broke a lot of long touchdown runs and even scored on a couple of short touchdown runs of 25 yards or less because of his quickness and shiftiness. Giddens and Ward need to find a way to get into the endzone. Touchdowns are better than field goals, as we all know.

5.) Wide receivers need to step up

I’ve got this at number five, but it’s the biggest concern on the team to me. Losing Malik Knowles and Kade Warner is a HUGE deal. Tight end Ben Sinnott returns at tight end, and wide receiver Phillip Brooks returns, but those are the only two pass catchers with significant playing time under their belts. RJ Garcia has shown flashes of being a go-to receiver, and there is another Lockett in the fold (redshirt freshman Sterling), but at this time, we don’t know how productive the receiving unit will be, if at all. If they aren’t, it could be a long season. If they are , we could see the Wildcats back in the Big 12 title game.

There are other questions about this team, such as replacing some great players in the secondary, but I’m not as worried about it. The secondary has always been solid under Klieman, and I think that will continue. If the five things I mentioned happen, we will see K-State back in the Big 12 championship game with an opportunity to repeat. That’s exciting!

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