MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State is 0-3 in conference play for the first time since 2018 and the players are eager to change that narrative.
One Wildcat in particular is junior wide receiver Phillip Brooks, who believes the offense is just cracking the surface. He’s disgusted with the fact that the Wildcats are one of the three Big 12 teams without a conference victory.
At this point in the season, it’s easy to point fingers on the teams’ shortcomings. However, in Brooks’ eyes the best thing for the players to do is rally behind each other and stay grinding in practice.
“We just need to win,” Brooks said. “We’ve worked too hard to go through the season like this, and I think we have a great team.”
The Missouri native has made the most out of his opportunities over the past two games, with nine catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns during that span. Brooks has the elusiveness and speed to do damage in the slot, but he can also stretch the field on defenses out on the edge.
The five-foot-seven, 167-pounder is also one of the best return specialists in the league, but hasn’t had many touches because teams try to kick away from him. Brooks believes in Offensive Coordinator Courtney Messingham, despite the lackluster performance by the offense in the three losses.
If the coaches make the right calls and put everyone in the right position to be successful, it’s still up to the players to execute. Brooks feels Kansas State’s offense has some firepower, especially at the skill positions. Deuce Vaughn is an All-Big 12 rusher, Malik Knowles a possession receiver, plus a special teams demon and Skylar Thompson is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country.
“We have a great running back, we have weapons on the outside, we have tight end weapons, Skylar’s back, we are very dynamic,” he said.
The Wildcats will try to put it all together and have a complete game this Saturday in Lubbock. Kansas State has won nine of the last 10 games over Texas Tech, including five-straight. Having that much success against a conference foe has all the players fired up for the matchup.
Still, the Wildcats can’t be taking the Red Raiders lightly. Texas Tech (5-2) is one of the highest scoring teams in the Big 12, and just put up 41 points on the road at Kansas. Saturday’s clash can easily turn into a shootout and the Wildcats’ offense has to be prepared to answer the bell.
Kansas State failed to do that last week against Iowa State and fell behind 27-7 in the third quarter. Brooks wants the offense to get off to a fast start and play consistent throughout. The Red Raiders are capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, so the Wildcats will need to keep their foot on the gas.
Matt Wells has the Red Raiders one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time in his tenure, so they’ll be all dialed in and ready to snap their losing streak to the Wildcats. Regardless, Brooks believes the Wildcats’ backs are against the wall and they’re preparing to come out clawing away.
“We are this close to doing something special, so I know every game is huge, but this is the next game, so it’s very important.”