Kansas State Wildcats v. Stanford Cardinal
Friday, September 2, 2016
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
Score: Stanford 26, Kansas State 13
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Junior, #27: McCaffrey had a big opening to the game with a punt return negated by a block in the back and also gashing the Wildcats for chunk yardage in the first half. The Junior RB struggled to find the same amount of space in the second half until a long touchdown run padded the stats to ice the game late in the 4th. McCaffrey sucks the air out of a stadium once he’s in the open; nearly breaking a number of plays and was several inches from having another monstrous performance. He looks just as quick as last year.
Johnny Caspers, OG, RS Senior, #57: Caspers is a well-regarded interior offensive lineman but his showing vs. K-State was not a strong one. Caspers was beaten badly for a sack, failing to even land his hands on a quick set rush from a DT across his face. Caspers did not show great lateral movement skills and struggled to cross face along the POA. Stanford has a steep test in the next five weeks, Caspers will need to play with a cleaner base of support if he’s to be successful throughout.
Peter Kalambayi, OLB, Senior, #34: Kalambayi was a force throughout the game; showing good discipline along the edge and short area quickness to accelerate and close on the ball. Kalambayi failed to inspire with his speed to power conversion when tasked with challenging OTs but when granted space he was effective in beating angles or squeezing down. Finishing with 2.5 sacks and 3.0 TFL, the stats are an effective illustration of just how active Kalambayi was. Would like to see further physicality against blockers but at 6030, 245 lbs; there’s a strong foundation of functional athleticism on display.
Kansas State Defense
Jordan Willis, EDGE, RS Senior #75: Willis was effective in his gap discipline but did not inspire with speed or mobility to turn the corner against the Stanford OTs. Willis found himself a number of times in a strong position to challenge for a sack (and did register a strip sack) but was unable to leverage and pressure to stay on track for his target. Willis’ sack was effective in swatting the ball out of QB Ryan Burns’ hand but his length won him the rep, not necessarily anything Willis was able to counter with after the initial contact.
Elijah Lee, OLB, Junior #9: Lee is a returning starter who was a top tackler for the Wildcats; it’s easy to see why. Lee was successful in numerous levels of the field; showing the ability to click and close to get into the teeth of a run or turn and run with Tight Ends to carry them up the field in coverage. Lee did have a hard time when faced with traffic; his failure to press and disengage resulted in the long McCaffrey run that iced the game for example. Lee is a new age NFL LB with quality athleticism; certainly a name to watch.
Dante Barnett, SAF, RS Senior #22: Barnett returns and made his 30th career start for the Wildcats after missing nearly all of 2015 with an injury. Barnett was a strong addition back into the lineup and was a factor in a mostly effective effort containing the Stanford running game. Barnett was quick to accelerate and pin runs inside of the numbers; he also showcased strong tackling skills. Barnett did not come across as quite the same asset on the back end against the pass; frequently a tick late to register and flow to pass targets.
Best Players on the Field:
Christian McCaffrey, Peter Kalambayi, QB Ryan Burns (Stanford), DL Solomon Thomas (Stanford, Sophomore)
Johnny Caspers, Jordan Willis