The Kansas State Wildcats will face their first true test of the Chris Klieman era at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi.
Here is everything you need to know to prepare for the third game of K-State’s football season:
Kickoff: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi
Radio: KKGQ (92.3 FM) in Wichita, KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City
The line: Mississippi State by 7 1/2
Five things to know
Mississippi State is 2-0. The Bulldogs haven’t faced much adversity this season, opening the year with a 38-28 victory at Louisiana-Lafayette and following it up with a 38-15 home victory over Southern Mississippi. They are ranked No. 23 in the USA Today coaches poll and are receiving votes in the AP Top 25. This will be a battle of undefeated teams.
The Bulldogs’ quarterback is hurt. Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens left the Southern Miss game because of an upper-body injury of unknown severity and was unable to return. Garrett Shrader, a true freshman, took over and completed 7 of 11 passes for 71 yards. If Stevens is unable to play against K-State, it is unclear if Shrader would start the game or if Mississippi State would go with junior Keytaon Thompson.
Hello again Isaiah Zuber. K-State football players will reunite with one of their former teammates on Saturday. Zuber transferred to Mississippi State over the offseason and has made three catches for 37 yards with the Bulldogs. Zuber is a senior. He led K-State in receptions each of the past two seasons.
First true test for Klieman. No offense to Nicholls and Bowling Green, but Mississippi State represents a drastic step up in difficulty for Klieman and his team. The Bulldogs dominated the Wildcats 31-10 a year ago in Manhattan and will have home-field advantage in the rematch. They are favored by more than a touchdown, and that makes this a new experience for Klieman. He was rarely an underdog at North Dakota State.
Getting defensive. Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead is best known for his offense, but the Bulldogs have been stingy on defense ever since he arrived in Starkville. They haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 28 points over the past two seasons. The Wildcats are averaging 50 1/2 points per game, but touchdowns might not be easy to come by against this SEC opponent.