K-State to face challenge from Purdue
Posted: Saturday December 26, 1998 07:50 PM
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- For a Kansas State offense that makes a living with big plays, Purdue can be a problem.
The Boilermakers just don't give up many big plays. The No. 4 Wildcats will have a decided edge in speed when they face off Tuesday night in the Alamo Bowl, but it may be harder than usual for Michael Bishop and his teammates to rip off the big chunks of yardage that have come to be their trademark.
"What they do is they don't kill themselves," said Ron Hudson, Kansas State's offensive coordinator. "They don't give up the big play very often. When that happens, you've got a good chance to be in every game. They had a chance to win almost every game."
Behind the strong-armed and nimble-footed Bishop, the Wildcats (11-1) ranked 9th nationally in total offense with more than 478 yards per game. Deep threat Aaron Lockett set the school record with a 97-yard touchdown pass play against Northeast Louisiana and set the tone for an attack that feasts on plays that rip off yardage in big gulps.
But Purdue uses on teamwork to stop big gainers.
"They don't put their players on an island," Hudson said. "They're going to protect them in some fashion, making sure the safety helps them. If we're going to go deep to Aaron Lockett, they're going to have somebody there to help."
Purdue (8-4) is best known for one of the most productive passing games in the country, with sophomore quarterback Drew Brees hitting 336 of 516 passes for 3,753 yards and 36 touchdowns. The defense, on the other hand, has played all year in the shadow of the offense. They gave up an average of 343.3 yards per game.
Their biggest problem may come when a Kansas State passing play breaks down. That's when Bishop begins to improvise and is most dangerous. The rifle-armed senior, who loves to throw on the run, ran for 23 touchdowns while passing for 36.
"It keeps you off balance. You're going to have to stop both his feet and his arm and that poses problems," said Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack. "When the play breaks down, he scrambles. That's really a concern. He's got such a strong arm, he can throw it over your head."
When Bishop begins to scramble, his receivers all have their orders.
"They tell us to just keep moving and get open deep," said Lockett, a freshman who caught 44 passes for 928 yards and six TDs. "Michael loves to throw on the run."
Spack agrees the Wildcats' speed will be a problem.
"They're probably the fastest team we've played," he said. "They can do a lot of things to you. They can go to one back and throw the football. They can go to two backs and run power football. This is the most complete offense we've seen in our two years at Purdue."
One key matchup will be the Kansas State blockers against defensive end Rosevelt Colvin. Although he's a bit undersized at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, Colvin leads the Boilermakers with 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks and was voted by his teammates as their MVP.
"I've watched him a lot on film and I think he's one of the best, if not the best defensive end that I'll go up against this season," said Kansas State tackle Ryan Young. "He's fast. He's explosive and he's a smart player. I'll definitely have my hands full. Rosevelt has a motor like no one else I've ever seen."
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.