The best game in Week 4 of the 2014 college football season might be played on Thursday night when No.20 Kansas State hosts No.5 Auburn. It’s the toughest non-conference game on each team’s schedule, as they both look to remain perfect, following their first two wins.
It’s a key game in both Auburn and Kansas State’s attempt to make the College Football Playoff. Auburn is considered to be a more legitimate a national title contender, but a win on Thursday would give the Wildcats a strong resume before Big 12 play begins for the entire conference. Kansas State and Iowa State had the only Big 12 matchup of the year, with the Wildcats coming out on top 32-28.
A knee injury limited Sammie Coates to just one reception in the opener and forced him to miss Auburn’s last contest against San Jose State. He should be ready to go on Thursday, and give a boost to an offense that has scored 104 total points in two games. Last season, Coates led the team with 902 yards on 42 catches.
"When you take a guy like Sammie. ... you've got guys in different spots and you're used to throwing timing with certain people, you can be half-yard or yard off on something," offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said, via al.com. "That's going to make all the difference in the world."
While Auburn is getting back Coates, the Tigers will lose one of their top players on the other side of the ball. Safety Jermaine Whitehead won’t play because he’s been suspended for violating team rules. Whitehead has two interceptions in 2014.
Even on the road, Auburn is a big favorite at Las Vegas casinos. They are giving Kansas State 7.5 points, and the over/under comes in at 64 points. Auburn is 2-0 against the spread, while Kansas State failed to cover the betting line in either victory.
The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with WatchESPN.