Another game, another set of fans who feel like they should have won afterward.
Texas Tech had 580 total yards to K-State's 339. The Red Raiders had 32 first downs to double K-State's total. Tech ran 96 plays to K-State's 65. And yet, for several fairly obvious reasons, K-State left Lubbock with a 41-34 win, and remains undefeated on the season.
Turnovers and special teams plays were the most obvious difference in this game. Tech quarterback Seth Doege threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, while K-State blocked two field goals and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Additionally, K-State was efficient with its offensive possessions and won the time of possession battle again.
Hit the jump for things I liked, things I didn't like, what it means and where we're going, and the Big 12 Roundup.What I liked...
...special teams keeping us in the game in the first half. I don't like to think about this, but if we don't have two blocked field goals and a kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half, we're down 34-13 at halftime, assuming Tech makes both field goals and we don't score on the drive that would have ensued after Tyler Lockett's kickoff return. Obviously, those are big assumptions, but those plays undoubtedly made a big difference in the game.
...making big plays in the fourth quarter that kept the clock running. In particular, I'm thinking about the third-down conversion on K-State's drive that resulted in Anthony Cantele's missed field goal. Facing third and two with about 8:30 remaining in the game, John Hubert picked up five yards for a first down. That first down allowed K-State to run the ball down another three minutes off the clock, leaving Tech with the ball on its own 20 yard line and only 5:13 to play.
On Tech's ensuing drive, which ended with a made field goal with 2:32 remaining, K-State made two stops in bounds that kept the clock running and forced Tech to waste a timeout. By making Tech drive the length of the field and holding them to only a field goal, while burning almost three minutes and a timeout in the process, K-State left the Red Raiders still needing a touchdown with less than 2:30 remaining. Of course, the biffed onside kick coverage almost wasted these big plays, but all's well that ends well, I guess.
...seeing Collin Klein average 8.1 yards per attempt. Klein only threw the ball 18 times and still came away with 146 total yards. The two biggest plays were a long completion to Tramaine Thompson off a zone-read play action and a 22-yard completion to Chris Harper on the first drive of the second half. While the completion to Harper came on a shallow cross, the Thompson play was the type of pass that will stretch defenses out and take the heat off K-State's running game.
...Tysyn Hartman's interception and eight tackles. I had such a love-hate relationship with Hartman last night that I feel obligated to mention the good plays he made. The interception in particular was a perfect read by Hartman that stopped the momentum Tech had from K-State's turnover on downs on its previous possession.
What I didn't like...
...a bunch of stupid penalties. K-State was penalized 10 times for 78 yards, nearly double its average for the year coming into the game. Most of those penalties were the defense jumping offside and the offensive line starting falsely. The Cats got away with it, but losing the penalty battle is not going to be a part of K-State's formula for winning very often.
...a slow start and inability to establish the running game in the first half. Hubert led the way at halftime with 18 rushing yards. As mentioned previously, if not for the crucial plays on special teams, this game could have been ugly at halftime. K-State scored one offensive touchdown in the first half, and that came on the drive that started in Texas Tech's territory after Raphael Guidry's second blocked field goal.
...Hartman's lazy play on the onside kick. A lot of credit has to go to Texas Tech kicked Donnie Carona on the onside kick, as he hit the ball perfectly and by doing so gave Tech a chance to run under it and recover. But Hartman went up expecting to cradle the ball when it came down, rather than going up and trying to catch the ball with his hands. And don't even get me started on Hartman's disturbing tendency to lead with his head on some of his tackle attempts. I'm just happy that he only ended up with a stinger after his helmet-to-helmet collision with Tech's Eric Crawford.
What it means and where we're going...
With the win, K-State becomes bowl eligible for the second straight year. It also pushes the Wildcats to 3-0 in conference play, keeping pace with the Indian Territory schools in the Big 12 standings. Road wins in conference play are gold, especially in a place where you haven't won since last century.
K-State now sets its sights on the Sunflower Showdown, which will be played in Lawrence for the second straight year. While KU has been a laughingstock most of the year for its defensive ineptitude, the Jayhawks put up a decent fight against Oklahoma before losing by 30. The KU offense has shown itself capable of scoring some points, and those who think K-State can just show up and roll to an easy victory next Saturday are mistaken. Preparation, focus and execution, the likes of which we have seen the last four weeks, will lead to a comfortable victory. This is KU's chance to validate its otherwise pitiful football season, and it will undoubtedly pull out all the stops to do so.
Here's a look at what's going on with K-State's non-conference opponents this season:
- Eastern Kentucky: Moved to .500 on the season with a 41-17 victory over Southeast Missouri.
- Kent State: It just keeps getting worse for the Golden Flashes, who lost their homecoming game to Miami (OH) by the impressive score of 9-3.
- Miami: Like EKU, the Hurricanes got back to .500 on the season with a wild 30-24 victory over North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Big 12 Roundup
Texas A&M 55, Baylor 28
This game kicked off at 11:11 a.m. Three hours, 24 minutes and 1,161 yards of total offense later, Texas A&M won the final Battle of the Brazos. A&M quarterback Travis Tannehill threw for six touchdowns, with Ryan Swope catching four of those. Christine Michael also ran for 105 yards against the Bears' helpless defense. Robert Griffin III threw for 430 yards and three touchdowns, but Baylor couldn't run the ball at all, netting 50 yards total (it would have been 76 without sacks). Baylor is off next weekend, while Texas A&M travels to Ames, Iowa, to play Iowa State. I hope an Arctic cold snap hits Ames on Friday and that game is played in snow with a high temperature of 30.
Missouri 52, Iowa State 17
Missouri got back on track in its centennial homecoming game -- you knew it was Mizzou's homecoming, right? -- by beating Iowa State easily. The good feeling engendered by Iowa State's 3-0 start has quickly faded after blowout losses to Texas, Baylor and Missouri, with two of those games played at home. James Franklin (20-28-2 for 289 yards and three touchdowns) and Henry Josey (129 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown) clearly enjoyed not having to face Arthur Brown and the K-State defense. As mentioned, Iowa State welcomes Texas A&M next weekend, while Missouri has an intriguing home matchup with the undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Oklahoma State 38, Texas 26
Texas falls to 1-2 in conference play with this home loss to the Pokes. While UT did a decent job of slowing down Okie State, the Cowboys had an answer each time the Longhorns threatened. Interestingly, this game featured back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns to open the second half. Brandon Weeden's numbers were pedestrian by his standards at 23-41-0 for 218 yards and one touchdown, but Okie State relied on its running game, with 202 yards on only 27 rushing attempts. Next week, Oklahoma State faces another tough road game in Columbia, Mo., while Texas gets what is surely a welcomed week off.
Oklahoma 47, KU 17
Oklahoma sleepwalked through the first half of this game, leading only 27-17 at halftime. It's not like the game was ever really in doubt though, and OU shut out the Jayhawks in the second half to coast to a 30-point victory. KU had two long scoring drives in the first half (77 and 81 yards), but could only muster 252 total yards for the game. Ryan Broyles torched KU's defense for 217 yards on 13 receptions and two touchdowns. Oklahoma welcomes K-State's latest victim to Norman next weekend, while KU stays at home for Super Bowl CIX.