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Big 12 Preview Series: Graduations Mean Kansas State Offense Lost Firepower

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(photo via kstatesports.com)

WVSN’s Big 12 Preview Series will give a snapshot of all nine of WVU football’s Big 12 opponents throughout this week. The schedule for this week is:

Monday: Baylor and Iowa State
Tuesday: Kansas and Kansas State
Wednesday: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
Thursday: TCU and  Texas
Friday: Texas Tech

The strength of Kansas State in 2019 was its experienced offensive and defensive lines.  Following a few key graduations, those lines have some cracks heading into 2020.

That was evident this past weekend when Kansas State was knocked off at home by Arkansas State 35-31. The Wildcats had just 91 rushing yards on 39 attempts in that game and allowed 159 rushing yards.

The Wildcats went 8-5 (5-4 Big 12) under first-year head coach Chris Kleiman. Of the four first-year head coaches in the Big 12 last season, Kleiman was the only one to finish with a winning record. Kleiman talked about his philosophy during Big 12 Football Media Day on Big 12 Now.

“That’s why I was hired here…to bring that ball control, efficient offense. Getting the ball in the playmakers’ hands,” Kleiman said. “If you do that, I think you can keep great offenses on the sideline and we lead the league in time of possession. You want to make sure your guys are fresh on defense and not playing 107, 108 snaps. if you do in this league, you’re going to get torched.”

K-State used its big, experienced offensive line to rack up the second-most rushing yards in the Big 12 last season, trailing only the Oklahoma Sooners. After last season, however, Kansas State graduated both of its starting tackles, Scott Frantz and Nick Klatmayer, and its leading rusher, James Gilbert. The team returns senior quarterback Skylar Thompson, but also lose his top target in receiver Dalton Schoen.

One possible replacement for Schoen is sophomore receiver Joshua Youngblood. Youngblood caught just nine passes for 73 yards but had three kickoff return touchdowns en route to being named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

On defense, the Wildcats return Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year finalist Wyatt Hubert but graduated his counterpart Reggie Walker on the other side.

Five Key Departures:

LT Scott Frantz
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– Started 51-Straight Games

HB James Gilbert
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 737 yards, 7 TD

S Denzel Goolsby
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 64 tackles, 2 INT

DE Reggie Walker
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 30 tackles, 5 TFL

WR Dalton Schoen
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 37 rec., 579 yards, 4 TD

Top Five Returners:

QB Skylar Thompson
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 2,315 passing yards, 56.6%, 12 TD, 5 INT
– 405 rushing yards, 11 TD

WR Joshua Youngblood
– 1st Team All Big-12 in 2019
– Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
– 9 rec., 73 yards
– 14 kickoff returns, 502 yards, 35.9 average, 3 TD

DE Wyatt Hubert
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
– Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year finalist in 2019
– Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year finalist in 2019
– 33 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 7 sacks

CB AJ Parker
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 28 tackles, 3 INT, 5 PBU

LB Elijah Sullivan
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 65 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT, 2 PBU

Schedule:

  • Sept. 12 vs Arkansas State
    • Lost 35-31
  • Sept. 26 at Oklahoma
  • Oct. 3 vs Texas Tech
  • Oct. 10 at TCU
  • Oct. 24 vs Kansas
  • Oct. 31 at WVU
  • Nov. 7 vs Oklahoma State
  • Nov. 21 at Iowa State
  • Nov. 28 at Baylor
  • Dec. 5 vs Texas
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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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