Jordan Willis, DE (Sr.) vs. A.T. Hall, RT (Jr.)
A senior defensive lineman, Jordan Willis will look to take advantage of any inexperience or lack of chemistry displayed by the Cardinal’s offensive line. As one of the elite pass-rushers in the Big 12, he led the Wildcats with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2015. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, Willis will be directly facing newcomer A.T. Hall, who has taken over Casey Tucker’s position at right tackle with the latter moving to the left side. Hall will have to step up to limit the potency of Willis, a pick for the Preseason All-Big-12 team and the Wildcats’ leading sacker from 2015, to protect quarterback Ryan Burns in his first career start.
Byron Pringle, WR (So.) vs. Alijah Holder, CB (Jr.)
After moving up from Butler Community College this past season, Byron Pringle’s performance during camp was so impressive that he’s usurped all of the other guys at the position to become the Wildcats’ No. 1 wide receiver, providing Kansas State a much-needed deep threat. It’ll be a solid challenge for Alijah Holder, the Cardinal’s No. 1 cornerback from the young group (that has only one senior on the entire roster). The flashes of brilliance Holder showed last year (a pick-six against UCLA, shutting down JuJu Smith-Schuster during the Pac-12 Championship) serve as a preview of what he’s capable of in the top CB spot.
Bill Snyder vs. David Shaw
Stanford Stadium will welcome one of college football’s most legendary coaches, Bill Snyder, Friday evening. With him will be a Kansas State team that is sure to be prepared and have some sneaky weapons in tow (the Wildcats have the best special teams unit in the country, with the most non-offensive touchdowns in the nation since 1999). On the other side, David Shaw will be striving to direct the team away from back-to-back lackluster season-opening performances. All eyes will be on him as the team’s new offensive line and quarterback debut, with expectations that he builds upon his creative play-calling from 2015.
Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil723 ‘at’ stanford.edu.