College Football

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Stephen F Austin (0-0) at (20) Kansas State (0-0)



Saturday, August 30, 7:10 p.m. (ET)

The Sports Network

GAME NOTES: The highly-anticipated 2014 season gets underway for the Kansas State Wildcats, as they kick things off on Saturday with a home date against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.

Bill Snyder's Wildcats are coming off an 8-5 season that saw the team go 6-1 down the stretch, including a 31-14 victory over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The team opens the new season ranked 20th in the country.

Stephen F. Austin heads into a new era with Clint Conque beginning his reign in Nacogdoches, Texas. Conque comes over from Central Arkansas, where he had great success, amassing a 105-59 record in 14 seasons at the helm, including a pair of Southland titles. He has his work cut out for him after last year's SFA squad went 3-9 overall, including a mere 1-6 Southland mark that spelled the exit of J.C. Harper.

This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.

Moving the football wasn't the problem for SFA a year ago, as the team churned out 571.6 yards of total offense, thanks in large part to a passing game that generated a whopping 389.0 ypg. Star quarterback Brady Attaway (4,268 yards, 32 TDs) has moved on however. Conque's son Zach has transferred in and will get the first crack at filling the void under center. Just a sophomore, the younger Conque could be pushed by junior Joe Minden for playing time.

The good news is that second-team All-Southland selection Gus Johnson returns to man his spot in the backfield. The 5-10, 224-pound senior led the team in rushing a year ago with 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging just under 100 yards per game (96.5).

A talented receiving corps will also help the transition for the new QB, as both Tyler Boyd (79 rec, 1,183 yds, 8 TDs) and D.J. Ward (61 rec, 809 yds, 7 TDs) return to the fold.

While the Lumberjacks had very few problems on the offensive side of things, the defense were their downfall in 2013. The team was torched by both the run (189.8 ypg) and the pass (338.0 ypg), as the team gave up a generous 49.3 ppg.

There is some holdover from last year's squad, as the team will seek leadership from players like senior linebacker Collin Garrett (88 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 INT), senior defensive end Ishmiah Miles (41 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5 sacks) and senior safety Trey Vallier (48 tackles, 4 INTs).

Conque knows this program is in rebuilding mode.

"We are only three years removed from back-to-back, I believe, out-right Southland Conference Championships, 2009 and 2010 at SFA," said Conque. "We have good players in our program. We have really good players in our program, but we have some work to do from a physical maturation standpoint, and an academic standpoint. Obviously, some roster management went into this, some roster moves. The young men have embraced that. As a coaching staff we are energized. Every place that we have gone we have been well-received both in recruiting and our satellite camps. I think we have a very, very bright future."

Unlike the Lumberjacks, the Wildcats are set at the quarterback position, as senior Jake Waters is expected to be one of the better signal callers in the Big 12 this season after throwing for nearly 2,500 yards and twice as many touchdowns (18) as interceptions (9) in 2013.

"Jake is one of those young guys that has a tremendous value system,' said Snyder. "He's a young guy that understands what our program is truly all about. He's a young guy that works diligently to improve his plight in life and on the football field on a daily basis."

Fellow senior Tyler Lockett has developed into one of the top receivers in not only the Big 12, but the nation as well. Lockett (81 receptions, 1,262 yards, 11 touchdowns) is the top target, but Waters has several other options in Curry Sexton, Deante Burton and former quarterback Daniel Sams.

Finding a replacement for productive running back John Hubert won't be easy, and Sams is the team's top returning rusher (807 yards, 11 touchdowns). Sophomore Charles Jones and senior DeMarcus Harrison will get the call early to try and fill the void.

The Wildcats allowed 22.9 points and 358.8 yards per game, both of which ranked them third in the conference and in the top-31 nationally. However, fewer than half of the starters return. The ones that do though, are very good.

Ryan Mueller was named the 2013 Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year after matching the school record for sacks in a season with 11.5, and the 6-2, 245- pound senior could be poised for another big season. Junior Travis Britz (6-4, 293) is strong in the middle of the line, while senior linebacker Jonathan Truman (top returning tackler, 89 stops) and senior defensive back Randall Evans provide leadership from their respective spots on the field.

The Lumberjacks have lost 11 straight road games and that trend is likely to continue. The Wildcats have their sights set on vying for a Big 12 crown and should be ready to go right out of the gate.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 45, Stephen F. Austin 13

08/29 15:23:21 ET

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7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
Final
LAL 123
CHI 118
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
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8:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
 
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9:00pm Tonight
UTA
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
CHI
 
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
Final
USC 94
COL 98
Final
UCI 67
CPSL 57
 
Final
CSNO 73
HAW 84
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
Final
SDU 69
SCU 64
 
Final
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
Final
UCLA 69
UTAH 59
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
Final
CSFU 85
LBSU 91
 
Final
GAELS 68
LMU 54
 
Final
WASU 67
CAL 76
Final
BYU 78
USF 74
 
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7:00pm Tonight
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PENN
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MAR
 
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QUIN
 
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8:00pm Tonight
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FAIR
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ARST
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8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
YALE
 
10:00pm Tonight
BUF
KSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
ORST
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
EDM 3
BUF 2
Final
SJS 6
ANA 3
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI