As always, I had a great time at Kyle Field. Thanks to all the Aggie fans for being such great hosts. As we were driving back to Houston, my buddy (an A&M grad) called and asked how everything went, how we were treated, etc. I told him that, as always, we were treated well by everyone. Mystman995 then remarked from the passenger seat that it's kind of eerie to go on the road and not take a bunch of abuse from the opposing fans. I have a feeling that will change next week when we travel to Boulder.
Anyway, the Cats got a road win yesterday against Texas A&M. It sure felt better to see the team on the right side of the score when the clock hit 0:00, but it didn't erase all my concerns about this team.
What I liked...
Josh Freeman being Josh Freeman. The man-mountain hit on 21 of his 26 pass attempts for 234 yards. Ironically, despite all that efficiency, he had zero passing touchdowns on the day. I don't have a big problem with that, though, because we won and he didn't throw any interceptions either. Also...
Josh Freeman running the ball on designed runs. I'd like to give credit to Panjandrum for suggesting this two weeks ago, before the game against Texas Tech. I understand that Freeman is easily the most important player on the offense, but he is a sturdy 6'6", 250 lbs., so there's no reason he can't carry the ball a few times. He has decent moves for a guy his size, and his size makes it possible for him to break some tackles, too. Maybe he doesn't need 18 carries per game -- 17 if you exclude the sack -- but five or 10 carries would keep the defense honest.
Logan Dold. Great job by Dold to step in for the injured Lamark Brown and be productive. The Aggie fan next to me asked about Dold during the second half, noting that while he wasn't a particularly elusive runner, he was smart, he found the creases, and he got upfield. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Pressure by the defensive front. Some of these were coverage sacks, but four sacks is more like it. More on this later.
Yet another blocked punt for a touchdown. This team has an uncanny ability to get to the opposition's punter, as this was the fourth blocked punt of the year.
Stopping Jorvorskie Lane on 3rd and Goal and 4th and Goal. The first time Lane came into the game, in the first half, I screamed at the top of my lungs -- much to the entertainment of all around me -- that A&M was going to hand the ball off to No. 11, right up the middle. Apparently someone heard me the second time Lane came into the game.
Getting a win. As Kaos State said last night, 4-2 is damn sure better than 3-3, especially when the opponent was A&M.
What I didn't like...
I don't want this part to sound overly negative, but there are some realities behind beating a team like Texas A&M this year.
Giving up 544 yards of total offense. Let's take this one at a time. Coming into this game, A&M ranked 83rd in passing offense with 192 yards per game, 84th in rushing offense with 125 yards per game, 95th in total offense at 318 yards per game, and 84th in scoring offense at 22 points per game. Against K-State, the Aggies had 419 yards passing, 125 yards rushing, 544 total yards, and scored 30 points. That 30-point total is the most points A&M has scored in a single game this year.
Now, I suppose you could argue that A&M picked up yards and scored junk points late in the game. But did they? After our "March to the Sea" in the fourth quarter (which I should have included above on the things I liked), the Aggies were down three touchdowns and had 4:37 remaining on the clock. Yeah, that should mean the game was over, but it's not like it was completely out of reach. Especially when the Aggies covered 73 yards in 1:07, and then later covered 74 yards in 43 seconds for another score. I thought the idea of the prevent defense was to protect against the big play and the quick score. If that's true, ours needs some serious work.
Whatever we think about those last two drives, the defense still gave up way too many yards to a really bad A&M offense. That doesn't mean we can't win games the rest of the way, I see at least three games the rest of the way that we have realistic shot at winning. But the point is that the defensive issues have not been addressed, and when we play teams who are actually competent on offense, we're going to be putting a lot of pressure on our offense to keep pace. Maybe they'll respond, like they did yesterday -- albeit against a really bad A&M defense -- or maybe they'll disappear like they did the week before against Texas Tech. We better hope they show up.
The final thing I didn't like was seeing the offense kneel on the ball with 90 seconds to go in the first half and a drive starting on the 31 yard line. Really? Coaching smart, not scared, with a quarterback who hadn't misfired on a pass in the entire half? Not impressed.
What it means and where we're going...
This season is going to be an exercise in patience for K-State fans, because we're not going to know what it all means until it's over. Yesterday's win was a nice antidote to the despair after the Tech debacle, but I cannot stress enough how deplorably bad Texas A&M is this year. It doesn't mean we're back and that we have a bunch of assured wins the rest of the year, but at least it shows that the players haven't mailed it in.
In the immediate future, it means we're on our way to Boulder to take on a reeling Buffalo team. Colorado has lost three straight games, and quarterback Cody Hawkins was pulled in the fourth quarter of the Buffs loss to KU. Suddenly, this looks like a winnable game for the Cats.
TB's trip around the Big 12 follows after the jump.
Texas 45, Oklahoma 35: The Sooners, previously invincible, went down to Texas at the Cotton Bowl, shaking up both the Big 12 conference and national title races. The Horns vault into the national conversation, while the Sooners are going to have to hope to win out and get some help. Also...45 points on the OU defense? Daaaamn.
Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 23: Another game that will have an effect on the conference and national race. Mizzou is suddenly on the outside-looking-in nationally, while Okie State may be a legitimate threat in the South. They played excellent defense against the vaunted Missouri offense, almost entirely taking away the Tiger running game and putting the game squarely on Chase Daniel's shoulders. Good as Daniel is, he wasn't up to it tonight, tossing three picks against only one touchdown. Validation also to Panjandrum's pick of the Oklahoma State offense as the most dangerous in the country. A team that can run consistently well is a match for anyone, and the Pokes look dangerous right now.
Baylor 38, Iowa State 10: Yeah, that Robert Griffin kid is pretty good. Even with his running game taken away -- he had -32 rushing yards, thanks to three sacks -- he only completed 21 of 24 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Iowa State crashed and burned in Waco only a week after nearly knocking off KU at home.
For More: Clone Chronicles
Texas Tech 37, Nebraska 31 (OT): A valiant effort on the road by Nebraska went for naught as Joe Ganz threw a bonehead interception in overtime after the Red Raiders gave NU a golden opportunity to win with a missed PAT. A lot of credit to the Huskers for limiting Graham Harrell to 284 passing yards, and now NU has a chance to 'get well' with games against Iowa State and Baylor on the horizon.
KU 30, Colorado 14: As mentioned previously, CU is in a tailspin right now. Not that losing at KU is any huge shame this year, but the Buffs managed to allow 151 rushing yards to a KU offense that pretty much sucked at running the ball prior to this game. Fourteen points isn't going to get it done in the Big 12, either.