MANHATTAN — In its last time out against Texas on Oct. 7, the K-State football team (3-2) defense allowed freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger to produce 487 yards of total offense, including 380 yards and two touchdowns as a passer and 107 yards as a rusher, in a 34-40 loss in double overtime. K-State will face another effective dual-threat quarterback Saturday, as it hosts No. 6 TCU and its star senior quarterback Kenny Hill at 11 a.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
Through five games this season, Hill has passed for 1,153 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes, and has also rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown. Last season, Hill rushed for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns on 125 carries.
During his weekly press conference at the Vanier Family Football Complex in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about his defense’s performance against Texas.
“(Against Texas) it was a quarterback’s ballgame. (Ehlinger) beat us throwing and running the football. The biggest concern was the passing game. (Ehlinger) threw the ball for over 300 yards. We just couldn’t put the brakes on (Texas). Through (Texas’) first two possessions, we held them to three-and-out. Then we turned around and they had five consecutive drives which totaled 350 yards. That’s where their points came. We were just unable to get drives stopped. We gave up too many first downs. The were getting first downs in chunks. That hurt us,” Snyder said.
Snyder gave some of his thoughts on Hill’s season so far.
“He wasn’t bad a year ago when he came into the ballgame (a 30-6 K-State victory over TCU, where Hill totaled 102 total yards in limited action). I just remember as soon as he came into the ballgame, he scrambled for a first down. That kind of set the tone for him. They talk about him being improved, and I certainly see that. He’s throwing the ball well. He ranks 10th in the nation in completing 69 percent of his passes. He can bring the ball down when he wants to. He can run. There are times when you’re watching him on tape and see he has above-average speed. Then you watch a few more plays and you can tell he has excellent speed. I don’t know what his clock time is, but he can run,” Snyder said.
Senior linebacker Jayd Kirby talked about what makes Hill tough to defend.
“He has great athleticism. He can run and he can throw. We’re just going to have to play him good. We got hurt in the run game with the quarterback (against Texas). We’re focusing on that and trying to fix that,” Kirby said.
Sophomore defensive end Kyle Ball talked about what he has seen from Hill on tape.
“He’s a real dual-threat quarterback. He can definitely hurt you with his legs and he can hurt you with his arm. In this game, it’s all about going after him with an effective pass rush, but still containing him at the same time. That’s tough, but it’s what you need to do. If (TCU) opens up a lane, he’ll take it and get a first down. We have to come after him,” Ball said.
Ball talked about some of the similarities between Ehlinger and Hill.
“They’re both great quarterbacks. I think (Hill) has a lot more speed. We have to be more aware of his legs. That’s something we’re really focusing on this week. He can definitely hurt us if we don’t do anything about it,” Ball said.
Ball mentioned that his team is excited for the challenge of facing off against a top-10 team like TCU.
“We’re excited for it. That’s just the mood, especially playing them at home. It’s always nice coming back from a road game and getting to play at the home stadium. I think everyone’s really pumped for it. If we do what we need to do in all phases of the game, we can win. It’s all about effectively doing that. We’re all excited,” Ball said.