Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Primer: Michigan vs. Kansas State
By Aaron Morse
Michigan underachieved in 2013 as the Wolverines began the year as one of the favorites in the Legends Division, only to finish with a 7-5 record. Those seven wins included narrow victories over the likes of Akron, UConn and Northwestern.
To add injury to insult, the Wolverines will be without the talented Devin Gardner for this game and will have to go with freshman quarterback Shane Morris.
Kansas State lost to FCS power North Dakota State but still managed to finish with seven wins. Unlike Michigan, which went 3-5 in the Big Ten, Kansas State finished with a winning record in conference play as they recorded a 5-4 mark in the Big 12. The Wildcats won six of their last seven games, including a 49-26 win over then-No. 25 Texas Tech.
The two teams have never faced each other in their respective histories.
Motivation: The Wolverines are looking to finish their season on a strong note after losing four of five. Everything came together against Ohio State in the final game of the Wolverines' regular season, but they still fell by one point. They'll also be looking to show they are more than just Gardner, who will not play.
If You’ve Never Seen Them: Watch out for wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, one of the best in the country. Also, offensive lineman Taylor Lewan is a future NFL star, but the rest of the offensive line has been inconsistent to say the least. Seven of their 12 games this season were decided by one score and two went to overtime: Four OTs in a loss to PSU and three in a win over Northwestern.
Weakness: Michigan's running game has been terrible this season, ranking 101st in the country. That puts a lot of pressure on the freshman quarterback Morris, who will be making his first career start.
Motivation: The Wildcats are looking for their first bowl win since 2002. The bowl drought has been odd considering they've been consistently good under Bill Snyder. For the seniors, this is their last shot at a bowl win.
If You’ve Never Seen Them: There is life after Collin Klein. The Wildcats use an effective two-quarterback system and have an opportunistic defense, forcing 18 turnovers in their final six games. Watch out for junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who compiled 1,146 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Weakness: The Wildcats just don't have the overall talent level they've had in recent years under Snyder. They only beat two teams with winning records this season.
Line: Kansas State -6.