Week 9 Preview: Cougars face off against high-flying Kansas State
This coming Saturday, the Houston Cougars will be facing the Kansas State Wildcats in a Big 12 Conference matchup in Manhattan, Kansas.
Saturday will mark UH’s first-ever matchup against the Wildcats in history.
An opponent with momentum
Kansas State enters Saturday following a 41-3 blowout win against the TCU Horned Frogs.
The Wildcats are 5-2 and currently ranked fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
Since Collin Klein stepped into the role of offensive coordinator at Kansas State prior to the 2022 season, the Wildcats have developed a lethal offense.
Kansas State is ranked second in the Big 12 and 13th in the country in points per game (36.9). The Wildcats are also third in the nation in rushing yards per game (233).
Defensively, the Wildcats rank in the top 25 in the nation in third-down defense.
Cougars seeking vengeance
Houston’s offense ranks No. 55 in the nation in yards per game, while the defense is No. 111 nationally in yards allowed per game.
Despite its early struggles against Big 12 competition, the UH offense has looked to have new life since its bye week three weeks ago. Junior quarterback Donovan Smith has thrown seven touchdown passes combined against West Virginia and Texas while sophomore wide receivers Matthew Golden and Joseph Manjack IV have begun to take some of the load from the shoulders of fellow wide receiver Samuel Brown.
On the ground though, UH’s running back room continues to show a concerning lack of consistency. After a 78-yard performance against West Virginia, sophomore running back Stacy Sneed only carried the ball three times against Texas for five yards.
Freshman Parker Jenkins, the starter for UH since its win over Sam Houston State, only hauled the ball nine times for 23 yards against the Longhorns.
Houston enters Saturday at 3-4 and with a 1-3 record in the Big 12 Conference. The Cougars seek a second Big 12 win, one that could catapult Houston from the lower ranks of the conference to the middle of the pack entering the final month of the regular season.
With five games left to play and three more wins needed to become bowl eligible, Houston will also look to Saturday’s matchup as a chance to push ahead for a bowl game at the end of the season.
For Kansas State, dreams of winning a second consecutive Big 12 Championship are on the line. Tied with three other teams at 3-1 in the conference and with an impending date with one of those teams, Texas, the Wildcats will approach Saturday as a must-win for their championship aspirations.