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Saturday, December 28, 2013
Kansas State keys to beating Michigan

By Brandon Chatmon

Kansas State is looking to win its first bowl game since 2002 tonight when the Wildcats face Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). KSU is in the midst of a five-game bowl losing streak.

Here are three keys to winning the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for Kansas State.

1. Don't turn the ball over. The Wildcats began the season at 2-4, turning the ball over 15 times in those first six games. Sloppy play, mental mistakes and untimely turnovers played a major role in their lackluster start. In their final six games, the Wildcats went 5-1 and turned the ball over nine times. KSU's offense found a rhythm, took better care of the ball and made big plays when it needed them. If the Wildcats take care of the ball, it will force Michigan to execute longer drives to score points.

2. Pressure Shane Morris into mistakes. Michigan will start a true freshman quarterback in Morris, who has appeared in two games this season. KSU's defense undoubtedly will test the freshman's poise in the pocket by blitzing and disguising coverages. If the Wildcats can rattle Morris, they could create a game-changing turnover or force the Wolverines to really scale down their game plan to prevent a major mistake.

3. Big plays from Tyler Lockett. KSU's standout receiver has been one of the best players in the Big 12 this season. He had six games with 100 or more receiving yards, including 200-plus yard outings against Texas and Oklahoma. The junior has the ability to impact the game as a receiver and returner. If he makes two or three big plays, it might be too much for the Wolverines to overcome.