Defensive line and MSU look forward to road test at Kansas State

Montez Sweat, a junior defensive lineman from Stone Mountain, Georgia, rushes the Stephen F Austin QB. Sweat had two sacks in the game.

Coming off of a 63-6 victory over Stephen F. Austin (0-1), Mississippi State University (1-0) heads on the road where the defense looks to prove itself against a talented offensive threat, Kansas State University (1-0).

In head coach Joe Moorhead’s press conference Monday, according to the press release sent out by the athletic department, Moorhead recognized this was the first non-conference road game against a power-five team since a loss to Georgia Tech in 2008.

"We have the opportunity to compete against a coaching legend like coach (Bill) Snyder," Moorhead said in the release. "If the stadium is named after you, then you know you've done a pretty good job, so we're certainly excited for that opportunity."

Kansas State is coming off of a comeback victory over the University of South Dakota where Kansas State won 27-24.

Moorhead said Kansas State's offense is one with some good talent and experience at the quarterback level, as they have Skyler Thompson and Alex Delton splitting playing time.

"The offense is a fundamentally-sound unit," Moorhead said. "They do what they do with a quarterback counter, quarterback power and zone red. They play with two experience dual-threat quarterbacks, and they force you to play with great eye discipline and gap integrity."

On top of this, Moorhead said the Kansas State's offensive line had an average 22 starts for each player. With a strong offensive line, it will offer a challenge for a strong MSU defensive line like Montez Sweat, a senior from Stone Mountain, Georgia, who had two sacks against Stephen F. Austin.

"Over a hundred starts across the offensive line, I know they do the little things right," Sweat said. "They also have an all-American offensive linemen, so definitely a big stage in front of us and we are just ready for the challenge."

Against Stephen F. Austin, the defense recorded 17 tackles for a loss, Sweat accounted for 3.5 of those. Sweat said there is some competition between the defensive line and linebackers.

"There is definitely a competition there, but we have it for one another when someone makes a big play," Sweat said. "We say before the snap that you better beat me to the Q (quarterback) or running back, so it is definitely a competition."

Kansas State needs to have a good strong rushing game to succeed and win games as more than half of their total yards are picked up on the ground, and Sweat said the MSU defensive line plans every game is to shut down the run.

"With any team we play, the first thing we do is stop the run," Sweat said. "If you stop the run, it opens up more opportunities to get out there and make a pass rush. So it’s is definitely a big part, stopping the run."

This will be the first road game for MSU this season, and Sweat said it can be very hard to prepare for a road game, especially one against a power-five team.

"It is definitely hard preparing for a road game because you haven’t been on the road yet with this group," Sweat said. "You just prepare mentally and you have the best experience by going through that road game."

Sweat said it can be much different preparing at home than it would be for a game on the road, because the mindset of the players is different.

"For a home game, I’m not going to say that you are comfortable, but I am going to say that you have a better feeling about that week," Sweat said. "When you go away, you are definitely on your toes, on edge. There is definitely more of a chip on your shoulder when you are preparing for an away game because it is a bigger challenge than playing at home."

As MSU has not won a power-five non-conference game on the road since 1995 in a win over Baylor, this weekend will be a challenge.

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas, and ESPN will televise the game.

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