Kansas State football: 3 players to watch vs. Oklahoma State

Kansas State football enters this weekend’s matchup against Oklahoma State with a 4-2 record. A 37-10 loss at West Virginia last Saturday snapped a four-game winning streak. It also marked the Wildcats’ first conference loss this season. Here are three Wildcats to watch if Kansas State wants to get back in the win column on Saturday.

QB Will Howard

After senior quarterback Skylar Thompson went down with a season-ending injury in an Oct. 3 win against Texas Tech, the true freshman Howard stepped into the starting role. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 173 yards with a touchdown in relief against the Red Raiders. Howard was less efficient through the air in his first career start the following week at TCU, throwing for 117 yards with an interception. However, he led the team in rushing with 86 yards and a score.

Howard was stellar two weeks ago in a blowout win over rival Kansas. Against the Jayhawks, he completed 17 of 24 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. In the loss at West Virginia, however, he played his worst game of the season. Against the Mountaineers, he threw for 184 yards with a touchdown and three picks. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown.

If the Wildcats want to get back in the win column, they’ll need Howard to play much better than he did against West Virginia.

HB Deuce Vaughn

Vaughn, a true freshman, has been a key contributor for the Kansas State offense this season. In an upset win at Oklahoma on Sept. 26, he ran for 45 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries and added another 129 yards through the air. Against Texas Tech, Vaughn ran for 113 yards and a score, averaging more than seven yards per carry. He also caught three passes for 81 yards and another touchdown. In the win over Kansas, Vaughn ran for 71 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries and added another 81 yards receiving.

Last week, however, Vaughn notched just 22 yards on nine carries and caught two passes for one yard. The loss at West Virginia marked just the second time this season Vaughn did not score at least once; the other was in the win at TCU.

Vaughn leads the Wildcats in both rushing and receiving yards. If he can return to form against the Cowboys, he could spark the offense.

DE Wyatt Hubert

The junior from Topeka also had a quiet day against West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, Hubert recorded just four tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss. Oklahoma State boasts a pair of explosive playmakers on offense in junior running back Chuba Hubbard and senior wideout Tylan Wallace.

Wallace easily leads the team in receptions (35), yards (588) and touchdowns (4) through five games. Hubbard leads the Cowboys’ rushing attack, with 550 yards and five touchdowns this season. He’s surpassed 100 rushing yards in 18 of his last 22 games.

For Kansas State football to slow down the Cowboy offense, the defensive line must be stout both in the pass rush and against the run. Hubert is capable of disrupting an offense, as he has 13 tackles, five tackles for loss and quarterback hits, three sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick this year. As a sophomore last season, he led the team in both tackles for loss and sacks.

Photo courtesy of KStateSports.com