The Other Side: A Preview of the Wildcats with The Collegian

Deana Nichols, Contributing Writer

The No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2) fell short of a College Football Playoff spot this season, meaning they will play a bowl game to close out the 2022 campaign. The Crimson Tide will take on the Big 12 champions, the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats (10-3). The Crimson White sat down with Luke Lazarczyk, the sports editor for The Collegian, to discuss the upcoming Allstate Sugar Bowl.  

Nichols: Nick Saban recently said that Bryce Young and Will Anderson will appear in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve. How is Kansas State hoping to make stops against these two big players?  

“Young and Anderson provide clear problems for the Wildcats. Dual-threat quarterbacks have been the main weakness for the K-State defense this year. If Young decides to move around the pocket, he could find holes in the defense. Anderson could be the game-breaker for Alabama. Will Howard has excelled at getting the ball out since becoming the starter. A dominant performance from Anderson could ruin the rhythm of the passing game.” 

Nichols: To end out the season, the Wildcats beat the previously undefeated TCU in overtime to clinch the Big 12 Championship. How will Kansas State use that momentum to beat a team like Alabama?  

“For K-State to beat Alabama, they must consider themselves on the same level. The confidence and camaraderie of this year’s team has helped the Wildcats to enter any game thinking they will win. That was shown against TCU, one of the best teams in the country, and will need to continue to beat the legendary program of Alabama.” 

Nichols: Alabama has had many players enter the transfer portal. How can the Wildcats use this to their advantage? 

“K-State’s roster is filled with many veteran players. That fact holds even greater after the Alabama roster lost multiple players to the transfer portal. The Wildcats must take advantage of that by making fewer mistakes and playing as the smarter team.” 

Nichols: Alabama has had close games against tough opponents this season. What will the Wildcats do to make noise right away? 

“To go up early, K-State’s best bet is to lean on Howard. Rather than try to win the battle in the trenches early, open up the defense and allow Deuce Vaughn to be the closer instead of the first act.” 

Nichols: Special teams seemed to be an area of weakness for the Crimson Tide this season. How can Kansas State exploit that and make big plays? 

“Special teams should be simple for K-State. The unit has excelled late in the year and should be able to continue that against Alabama. Punter, and now also kicker, Ty Zentner just needs to continue his stellar play.” 

Nichols: The Crimson Tide struggled the most this season playing away games. How can the Wildcats use this to their advantage in a game like this?  

“While New Orleans is closer to Tuscaloosa than [to] Manhattan, the Wildcats can make it feel like they have the home field advantage by starting off strong. If the K-State fanbase can get excited early, the momentum could continue all 60 minutes.” 

The Sugar Bowl will take place Saturday, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN.  

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]