Stanford can expect big doses of Deuce Vaughn against Kansas St.

Kansas State Wildcats

Stanford can expect big doses of Deuce Vaughn against Kansas St.

Here’s a piece of advice for both Stanford and Kansas State as they head into their season openers Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Don’t worry about what you can’t control.

That applies especially to Kansas State, a member of the Big 12. There’s undoubtedly been some anxiety in Lawrence, Kan., over the team’s long-term future since late last month after news broke that Oklahoma and Texas intend to leave the Big 12, which includes Kansas State, and head to the Southeastern Conference.

So coach Chris Klieman is better off thinking about what he can control, and that includes the usage of running back Deuce Vaughn, who became a star as a freshman in 2020. He led the Wildcats in rushing yards (642), receiving yards (434) and all-purpose yards (1,221) on his way to earning a bevy of postseason honors, including True Freshman of the Year from 247Sports and Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Despite Vaughn’s diminutive stature — he’s 5-foot-6, 173 pounds — Klieman said recently that he might give the running back as many as 25 touches a game this season.

Vaughn said he’s up to the challenge, a season after averaging 14.8 touches per game. He scored seven touchdowns.

“I’m ready to go,” Vaughn said this week. “As many touches as they give me, every time I touch the ball, I’m ready to go. If that’s 25, if that’s 10, I’m ready to go and play. I know that I’m not a big guy. I’ve been able to shy away from some big hits and contort my body so I’m not taking huge hits and it has really helped me throughout my career.”

The Wildcats are entering their third season under Klieman, who led the team to a 4-6 (4-5 Big 12) record in 2020. At quarterback will be sixth-year senior Skylar Thompson, who played just three games last year because of a shoulder injury. He’s started 30 games for the Wildcats, which is third-most for the program since 1990.

On the other side of the ball, Stanford coach David Shaw hasn’t said if senior Jack West or sophomore Tanner McKee will start against Kansas State.

Stanford is coming off a 4-2 season and will be breaking in a new quarterback to replace graduated starter Davis Webb, who completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 1,508 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

West and McKee, both four-star recruits in the Class of 2018, have limited experience with the Cardinal.

West started last season in a loss to Oregon and completed 13 of 19 passes for 154 yards. McKee also saw action in that game, connecting on 3 of 7 passes for 62 yards.

“I’m not going to announce a starter, but we will play both quarterbacks in this game,” Shaw said Tuesday. “What we do offensively helps our defense (because it) gets to see different (formations).”

Stanford’s top two rushers — Austin Jones (550 yards, nine touchdowns) and Nathaniel Peat (204 yards, one touchdown) — return and will be the focal point of the offense.

–Field Level Media

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