At this point, who is not having fun this season?
If you were at the game on Saturday, then lucky you. That was one of the greatest games I've ever attended. K-State started poorly, battled back, fell behind and looked to be dead before finding a late aerial attack to force overtime. It took four overtime periods for Collin Klein to finally finish off Texas A&M, and of course it happened on a quarterback sneak.
Coming off consecutive losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, K-State desperately needed this game to stay on track for a Cotton Bowl bid. Of course, Texas A&M had its own losing streak to deal with. Thanks to K-State, the Aggies are still dealing with theirs.
Hit the jump for more.What I liked...
...are you tired of everyone talking about Collin Klein yet? If so sorry, but you're going to hear more. Despite playing with 100 aches and pains that would make it difficult for you and I to get out of bed, Klein just went out and scored six touchdowns -- five rushing, one passing -- against a physical A&M defense. And just when you thought that between the pain and the confusion A&M was creating on defense he wasn't going to be able to throw the ball downfield, he connected on back-to-back deep passes, including a bomb to Chris Harper a touchdown.
I'm still a little ambivalent about the "Klein for Heisman" talk, but it's not because Klein doesn't deserve the accolades. If there were an award for the player most important to his team's success, or an award for the toughest player, then he should definitely get it. And that's not to say I'd argue against anyone who pushes Klein for Heisman, but I'm not yet to the point where I'm ready to actively campaign for it.
...timely plays from the defense. The defense held Ryan Tannehill 90 yards below his season average for passing yards and forced an interception. Other than a couple big plays for Cyrus Gray the rushing defense wasn't awful. Overall, K-State held Texas A&M to 409 total yards before the overtimes, and held the Aggies to 31 points in regulation and forced two field goals in overtime.
...getting a win without big plays on special teams or winning the turnover battle. Admit it, you thought that the game was over when Klein threw the interception on the out route and we fell to a -2 deficit in turnover margin. Yeah, I did too. We know the Aggies are really good at coming from ahead to lose, but it's still impressive that K-State got the win without beating A&M in any of the hidden-yardage stats other than time of possession and penalties.
What I didn't like...
...yet another slow start. That's three games in a row in which K-State was down 14-0 in the first half. At some point, this coaching staff has to realize that whatever it's doing to get the players ready to go or the way they're preparing the team isn't working. I won't pretend to know the answer, but we're 1-2 in these games, and it took everything we had to get the one win.
...another poor game for John Hubert. It's become pretty obvious that Hubert is hurt. He carried 13 times for only 33 yards on Saturday, dropped a wide-open pass, and lost another fumble. At 5'8" and 185#, he probably just isn't built to take a season's worth of punishment at running back. That still was a sweet hit he put on A&M's defensive back during the second half, though.
...getting gouged by Cyrus Gray. Nothing against Cyrus Gray, who would probably start at most schools, but the A&M rushing attack had been good, though not exactly fearsome this season. Against K-State, Gray broke loose for 218 yards and two touchdowns. It would have been three but for Matthew Pearson's excellent effort, which ended up saving four points. Fortunately, nobody else for the Aggies was able to get much going on the ground, but 279 yards is a lot to allow rushing.
What it means and where we're going...
With the win, K-State has solidified itself as the best non-Oklahoma school in the conference. It also likely puts K-State one win away from wrapping up a Cotton Bowl appearance, and keeps alive the dimmest of hopes for a BCS bowl (although do you really think Baylor or Iowa State is going to beat OU? Yeah, me neither).
Although K-State is out of the running for the Big 12 championship, two wins would give the Wildcats their first 10-win season since 2003. To get those two wins, K-State will first have to take care of Texas in Austin. The Longhorns enter the game at 6-3 (3-3) after an ugly 17-5 loss at Missouri. Fortunately for K-State, the Longhorns are not the type of team that will bury an opponent, and they specialize in running the ball offensively. Chris Cosh should breathe easier knowing that he doesn't have to prepare for a Brandon Weeden or Landry Jones or even Ryan Tannehill this weekend.
Oh, and I'll be in attendance at Royal-Memorial Stadium this weekend. K-State doesn't lose when I'm at the game in Austin.
Here's a look at how K-State's non-conference opponents fared this week.
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels finally ran into a speed bump, in the form of Tennessee Tech (but nobody cares about Tennessee Tech). EKU is now 6-4 on the season and 3-2 in the OVC. Tennessee Tech is No. 20 in the FCS rankings.
Kent State: While EKU lost its first game in more than a month, Kent State has put together a nice little winning streak. The Golden Flashes have won three in a row following a 35-3 rout of Akron on the road. The Kent State defense is still impressive, and it's found some offense to go along with it.
Miami: Hurricane Rollercoaster continues. Florida State got a 23-19 win over Miami, and the Hurricanes haven't had a streak since consecutive wins over North Caroline and Georgia Tech. Miami needs a win over either USF or Boston College to qualify for a bowl game this season.
Big 12 Roundup
This is going to be abbreviated just because I'm so freaking busy this week.
Oklahoma State 66, Texas Tech 6
I'm going to ask the question everyone and their cat has asked in the last few days: how in the hell did Texas Tech beat Oklahoma in Norman? The Red Raiders have been blown out by Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State since. I can understand Oklahoma State, but you have to play some sort of awful to get blown out by Iowa State and Texas. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State rolls on, with only two games standing between the Pokes and a national title shot. Next up is a Friday trip to Ames to face Iowa State. Texas Tech limps up to face Missouri.
Missouri 17, Texas 5
I think the turf at Faurot Field really won this game. It caused two players to tear five knee tendons during this game. OK, it's probably unfair to say that the turf caused the injury, but it's a damn shame that Henry Josey and Fozzy Whittaker are out for the season. Texas gained only 247 total yards on offense and David Ash and Case McCoy combined for only 171 passing yards.
Baylor 31, KU 30 (OT)
For the first time since Northern Illinois, KU showed some fight. More than that, the Jayhawks took a 24-3 lead into the fourth quarter against Baylor. But Robert Griffin III woke up in the final stanza and the Bears forced overtime. KU scored what would have been a tying touchdown, but Turner Gill decided to go for two at home and, well, you ought to know how that turned out given the final score listed above. Baylor is now bowl eligible, and will be host to Oklahoma next weekend. KU is not and will not be bowl eligible, and travels to College Station for a possible derpfest with Texas A&M next weekend.