Vanderbilt takes on its first ranked opponent of the season, Kansas State, this Saturday at 6:30 PM central at Vanderbilt Stadium.
The Commodores and Wildcats have met only one other time in their collective histories, a 26-14 Vanderbilt victory in Nashville back in 1984.
With these two teams set to square off for the first time in over 30 years, we decided to go behind enemy lines to get a better look at Kansas State’s team. We spoke with DeAundra Allen, sports editor and editor-in-chief of the Kansas State Collegian to get a better look at Vanderbilt’s opponent this week.
Vanderbilt Hustler: Quarterback Jesse Ertz has proven to be a mobile quarterback through two games, rushing for a touchdown and throwing for four. What makes him so hard to stop?
DeAundra Allen: The biggest thing with Jesse is to expect the unexpected. He is a high-caliber, dual-threat quarterback. He is not afraid to take one for the team and to watch for faults on the other side. If he sees an empty space, he will take it. His ability to think on his feet and get the ball going is a huge threat to the other teams. In the Big 12, it is an extremely powerful conference when it comes to the offense. Jesse is more than capable to be explosive every game and has enough power to be one of the biggest threats in college football. He is a record holder in school history, he has established himself not only in Manhattan, but through the United States.
VH: Kendall Adams has had himself a strong start on the defensive side of the ball, earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors last week. How do you think he’ll stack up against a rejuvenated Vanderbilt passing offense?
DA: Kendall Adams is an extremely intense, hands-on player. He is a definitely a leader for the defense, but there is a lot more than just him that Vandy should look out for. Against Charlotte, he had those two defensive touchdowns, but, he also had four tackles for the game itself. Adams could be seen as the example of how to play the position and how to play it right. Adams is second, right behind Trent Tanking, for statistical tackle leaders. Tanking has 7 solo, 2 assists, a total of 9 tackles, while Adams has 8 solo, 8 total. That’s only a one-point difference. While Vandy does have a good passing offense, Shurmur is a great quarterback within the SEC. It will be interesting to see how they stack up to his throwing, but I am sure it will be good to watch.
VH: Vanderbilt’s first two opponents have stifled running back Ralph Webb by stacking the line of scrimmage and forcing the Commodores into the air. How equipped is Kansas State’s front seven to do that?
DA: Our front seven is always improving every week. I will admit that our linebackers can slip sometimes, but they are still finding ways to take it to the next level. Coach Snyder has been practicing them hard for the season and has been making it so they can learn fast. After the past few days, I am sure that they will bring everything they have into this game. Trent Tanking, Kendall Adams, and Reggie Walker are always on their toes.
VH: Who is one Wildcat player that fans may not know about, but should look out for when they take the field in Nashville?
DA: D.J. Reed, by far. I always said to my colleagues “if Snyder just lets him receive the kick, he’s going home.” Well, during the game against Central Arkansas he received the kickoff and he flew down the field for 96 yards. Reed is a machine, he’s fast and he’s able to get the job done the way it should be. He is definitely one I think more people should watch.
VH: What is your prediction for the game?
DA: I predict that this game will be a very close one, being 35-31, K-State.
Follow DeAundra on Twitter @DeAundraAl and the Kansas State Collegian @kstatecollegian.