Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder isn’t the least bit surprised that Vanderbilt opened the season with a pair of lopsided victories.
“Vanderbilt is really a fine football team,” Snyder said Monday during his time on the Big 12 teleconference. “I can look back at their schedule and see how closely they came ... to being an 11-win team last year. I think that gets overlooked in the shuffle a great deal. They are an awfully good football team.”
The Commodores had brilliant moments last season, including victories over Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. But they also had trouble in close games, losing by single digits to Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and South Carolina.
In the end, Vanderbilt finished with six wins and a trip to the Independence Bowl.
Many predicted similar results this season, as the Commodores were projected to finish near the bottom of the SEC East.
Snyder thinks they are capable of exceeding those expectations. They are certainly off to a promising start, having beaten Middle Tennessee State 28-6 on the road and Alabama A&M 42-0 at home.
“Both of those wins, I think, were appropriate, so to speak,” Snyder said. “More important than the wins was how well they played in both ballgames. They won very handily against Alabama A&M and they scored on their first five possessions. Against Middle Tennessee State, they scored on their first three possessions. They are awfully good out of the locker room. They start well.”
Quarterback Kyle Shurmur has led the way on offense, completing 76.1 percent of his passes while averaging 10.83 yards per attempt. He has impressively thrown seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Vanderbilt has been dominant on defense, allowing 215 yards against Middle Tennessee and 103 yards against Alabama A&M.
“Schematically, they are extremely sound,” Snyder said. “They have got a few things that they do with their defensive schemes that are a little bit unique and harder to prepare for.”
K-State will face Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.
Both teams will view the game as their first true test. Much like Vanderbilt, the No. 18 Wildcats coasted against soft competition in their first two games. They beat Central Arkansas 55-19 and Charlotte 55-7.
K-State is favored by 3.5 points. That number might sound low to some, but it doesn’t to Snyder.
“They are a good football team,” Snyder said, “very good.”
Big 12 honors Kendall Adams
The Big 12 named K-State junior safety Kendall Adams its defensive player of the week on Monday.
Adams picked up the honor after scoring on a fumble return and an interception return against Charlotte.
“He is just becoming more and more comfortable, being a returning starter,” Snyder said of Adams. “He processes information a lot faster, and, obviously, that gives him a chance to get a jump on the ball, which he did on the interception. I was pleased.”
Junior right tackle Dalton Risner suffered an injury and didn’t play beyond the first series on Saturday. His status for the Vanderbilt game is unknown, but Snyder said he is hopeful Risner will be able to practice this week and play against the Commodores.
Jerry Kill hospitalized with seizure
Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill has been hospitalized after suffering a seizure, Scarlet Knights coach Chris Ash said Monday at his weekly news conference.
“It’s a minor setback, and we fully anticipate he’ll be back with us here shortly after he recovers from it,” Ash said, according to the Associated Press. “But no concerns about him not being able to do that, just so we’re all clear. He feels great. It’s one of those things where life situations or medical situations come up with a lot of people and this happened yesterday.”
Kill, a Cheney native who suffers from epilepsy, served as K-State’s associate athletic director for administration last year before leaving to coach at Rutgers. He was previously the head coach at Minnesota, but he stepped down in 2015 when his seizures became too much to handle.
At K-State, he said diet, exercise and a lower level of stress helped him lose 25 points and control seizures. But he missed coaching and left for Rutgers after the Wildcats won the Texas Bowl.