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Kansas State By Position: Secondary

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The first in our week-plus series breaking down Kansas State unit by unit.

USA TODAY Sports

Corner

Starters: Dorrain Roberts (5'10 Sr.), Randall Evans (6'0 Jr.)

Backup: Kip Daily (5'11 Sr)

Kansas State did not return much in the way of experience in the secondary this year. At corner only one of this year's two starters had any starting experience prior, and that was Randall Evans, a former walk on who had started seven games in 2012. Roberts, a JUCO transfer, redshirted his first year on campus and didn't play last year.

Still, the overall production for both players was solid. Roberts had three interceptions on the year compared to Evans' two. Evans led the team with 10 pass break ups and Roberts was second with eight. The two combined for 5.5 TFL and one sack.

Kip Daily is a senior and has seen action in every game after coming to the team as a JUCO transfer and not playing last year. He will likely see time in nickle coverage.

Most of the year Kansas State was able to keep yards/catch down around the season average of 10.5, but the one outlier is clear: Baylor racked up 332 receiving yards on just 12 receptions for an average of 27 yards/catch. Michigan probably can't replicate this, but the Wolverines do have some weapons that can test KSU deep.

Safety

Starters: Ty Zimmerman (6'1 Sr.), Dante Barnett (6'1 So.)

Backup: Dylan Schellenberg (6'0 Jr.)

At safety Kansas State has an interesting mix of experience and promising youth. Ty ZImmerman is a four-year starter at safety and was first team all-Big 12 this year after being a second team selection a year ago. He will be a difference maker in the back seven for Kansas State that Michigan will very much need to account for. He finished the year third on the team in tackles, while adding three tackles for loss and three interceptions. He did all of this while playing in only ten games this year.

Dante Barnett returned this year after a year spent playing in the two deep as a freshman. Barnett also chipped in three interceptions, three PBUs, and two TFLs this season. When forced to go to the bench, KSU will often go with Dylan Schellenberg, a JUCO transfer in his first year of playing time after a redshirt.

Outlook

One thing to know about Kansas State's defense is that when it comes to the pass, the Wildcats are downright Kovacsian when it comes to limiting big pass plays. On the season KSU has give up just 24 pass plays of 20+ yards (t-5th nationally). Michigan is going to look to work the ball deep at times against this defense and that might not always be an easy proposition. On the season KSU is giving up just 6.3 yards/attempt (good for 17th nationally) and the Wildcats pass efficiency defense is top 25 nationally as well.

Michigan will need to be able to run the ball against Kansas State, but finding ways to work the ball down the field through the air is going to be very important. While Michigan showed signs of life on the ground against Ohio State, it was the pass game that kept Michigan productive all day long. Judging by KSU's pass defense so far this year, Michigan will have its work cut out for it.