If I told you three weeks ago that three games into the conference season, KSU would be first place in the North, would you have believed me? Especially if I told you that in one of those three games, KSU would lose a game by fifty-two points?
However, due to the cripple fight that is the North division, KSU stands alone on top of the conference standings, and the supposed "powers" (and I use that term loosely) all sit at either 1-1 or 0-2. Granted, it's early in the conference season, and things can change during any given week, but right now, KSU looks to be sitting in good shape considering that three of their four remaining home games against the North teams are in the comfy confines of "The Bill". Also, KSU got that priceless "South win" that only teams who play the recently neutered Baylor Bears seem to get.
But that's enough putting the cart ahead of the horse. In the meantime, all Wildcat fans can rejoice over the 62-14 win over Texas A&M, and Aggie fans can finally come to the realization that Mike Sherman is an awful football coach.
KSU impressed in almost every single facet of the game Saturday night, and their domination at the line of scrimmage, on defense, and in special teams was matched only by the cruel efficiency in the way the Kansas State offense, especially Daniel Thomas, found a way to put the ball in the end zone. Honestly, it was the kind of game you dream of having as a coach; you ask your team to create turnovers (A&M had five to KSU's zero), score points off of those mistakes, and make the other team easy to defend by making them one dimensional (A&M had -13 yards rushing). When Coach Snyder and his staff look at the tape, I'm sure they'll have some things to critique (a couple of A&M touchdowns in the second half are good film to break down), but most likely, they'll look at the tape and say, "Well, uh, good job. That's kind of what we're looking for."
The one thing that surprised me last night was the relative ease in which KSU was able to move the ball. I know that A&M isn't the greatest defensive team in the world, but KSU was able to move the ball seemingly at will, which if you've watched any KSU game this year, that's about as shocking as sticking your hand into a light socket after hosing yourself down. Does it mean KSU finally turned the corner offensively to the point where they can finally rely on the offense to help them win games and not be a hindrance? Or does it mean that KSU just had a good night against a really bad team?
Hit the jump to figure out what we think it means and how the rest of the conference fared on this wacky weekend.
What it means and where we're going...
KSU scored 62 points last night and gained 424 yards. Not only did they move the ball with little trouble, but they racked up 232 rushing yards in the process. This team executed the desired game plan with perfection; run to set up the pass, and on those few pass attempts, make them count. Grant Gregory completed 10-13 passes for 147 yards with one touchdown, and Carson Coffman was 5-6 with 45 yards in the air in the second half. KSU was balanced, they were efficient, and they didn't turn the ball over. That is exactly the kind of game plan that KSU needs to execute every single week, and it's the kind of game plan that will win them the necessary five games for bowl eligibility.
Defensively, KSU simply looked faster and more athletic than A&M. Jeffrey Fitzgerald was a beast on the edge with five tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss (which accumulated to 30 yards). Josh Moore was absolutely brilliant in the secondary with four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception, and three pass breakups. Even the often inconsistent linebackers found their way to the ball carrier with speed, and they were sure tacklers when they got there. Every part of the defense was on point last night with the exception of two second half drives (six total plays) that resulted in 137 yards for the Aggies. Otherwise, it was the most dominant performance against a Big 12 team that KSU fans have seen since a 58-7 thrashing of ISU in 2002.
It's pretty easy to get excited after your team dominates a conference foe in every single facet of the game, but given how inconsistent KSU has been in their previous six games, the editorial staff at BOTC will remain cautiously optimistic. Will this momentum carry over into next week's pivotal game against Colorado? Or will this be an aberration that we can write off as an instance where a coaching legend mind raped the only guy that ever found a way to lose with Brett Favre?
I'd love to answer that for all of you, but really, I don't have a clue. I think this game shows us that KSU can put together a complete performance, and when they do, they can probably hang with most of the teams in this conference. The fact that we know this is possible could make poor performances in the future less acceptable. Any time you can whip a team in the Big 12 like this, you have talent. It's on the coaches to make sure they continue to get the most out of it.
UMass beat the previously unbeaten New Hampshire Wildcats this week to move to 4-2.
Louisiana beat Western Kentucky 30-22 to move to 4-2 and 2-0 in the Sun Belt. However, losing this game is still an abomination regardless of the fact that they are doing well in their conference.
UCLA got drilled by Arizona this week 45-26. UCLA is now 3-3 and winless in the Pac-10.
No one gives a crap about Tennessee Tech. Moving on...
Iowa State and Texas Tech recaps can be found below.
Big 12 Roundup
Texas 16, Oklahoma 13
I'm going to spare you all a long write up about this because I'm as sick of hearing about it as you are. Texas won, Oklahoma lost, it was actually a pretty entertaining game, and Sam Bradford may have played his last game in a Sooner uniform. If any of this is news to you, please crawl out from under your rock and join the rest of civilization.
Texas Tech 31, Nebraska 10
Nebraska actually outgained the Red Raiders this week (285-259), but they couldn't put the ball into the end zone consistently against a quality defense. This is starting to become painfully familiar to the Huskers, and seeing this happen at home was even more painful. Steven Sheffield continues to prove that he's probably better than Taylor Potts as he accounted for three touchdowns...and two of them were rushing! Now that Tech has started to put their season together behind a hot-handed quarterback, and their defense is playing competently, the Oklahoma schools now have a threat for second place in the South division behind the Longhorns. Nebraska simply continued to expose their weaknesses and added more chaos to an already whacked out North division. Of all of the games this week, this was probably the most telling for both teams involved.
Colorado 34, Kansas 30
LOFL. History Awaits...
Oklahoma State 33, Missouri 17
This was a pretty tight game in the first half, but in the second half, the Cowboys simply beat the Tigers into submission on the road by scoring nineteen unanswered points. Blaine Gabbert continued his descent back to Earth with a 22/44, 1 TD/3 INT performance, and the Tigers continued to struggle with the run after gaining only 68 yards on the ground. Oklahoma State didn't really miss Dez Bryant after Hubert Anyiam hauled in ten catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys moved to 2-0 in conference while the Tigers fell to 0-2.
Iowa State 24, Baylor 10
I really have no idea what happened in this game because watching any Baylor game without Robert Griffin is like going to the dentist and having a root canal without any sort of local anesthesia. On the plus side, Iowa State won their first conference game since November 10, 2007. The honest truth is that this probably saved ISU from being considered as the worst team in the conference this season, so you have to give them kudos for that.