Well folks, it appears the Cats have a lot of work to do. I wasn't able to attend the live game this week due to a wedding but I watched the replay and this is what I saw.
Again showing that he is more than just a runner, Klein threw the ball reasonably well against a defense that currently stands as 37th against the pass in the nation. Granted, that stat is probably deceiving since LSU gashed them for over 300 yards on the ground in week one so they didn't really even have to throw, and their week two opponent was Texas Southern. Even so, Klein looked efficient and threw for over 200 yards for the second week in a row. K-State seemed to want to pass the ball more much like in week one against Missouri State. Klein attempted 20 passes after only 11 a week ago. Some of that was probably game plan and some of it might have had to do with North Texas completely stuffing our run game outside of Klein himself. The Cats also were only able to run 48 offensive plays after running 71 and 68 in the first two weeks respectively. Klein also fumbled the ball on a poorly pitched option play to Hubert early on. Still, another solid game from Optimus who had another poorly thrown interception (that probably should have been batted down by Harper) but two pretty good touchdown passes and a fairly accurate game overall. Not to mention averaging nearly eight yards a carry for 85 total on the ground. All in all, Klein accounted for 84% of K-State offensive production in this contest. Not so sure that's a positive thing, although it's a great stat.
Thompson had by far his most productive game as a Wildcat receiver accounting for over 100 yards on five catches, including the Cats only two touchdown receptions. Both touchdown catches were pretty special too. Thompson seems to be Klein's go-to receiver through three games as he has 13 grabs and is averaging just over 16 yards per. Going into conference play, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a 5'7" receiver being our most reliable target but Harper just hasn't been very aggressive, although he was a little better this week. There's no question though that Thompson is playing great football and as long as he can continue to find the space that he's been finding around the field, his size won't matter.
The running game
The rushing attack was especially mediocre this week. After averaging almost nine yards per carry in the first two games, John Hubert was held to just over three yards per touch for a total of 52 yards rushing in this one, his first game where he didn't get over the century mark. I guess the Mean Green didn't steal his cookies. Hubert also had the one fumble in the red zone. HCBS contested both on the field and in the post game that the forward progress had been stopped. On the tape it appeared to me that he had stopped moving but in my opinion as a running back if you aren't on the turf you need to hold on to the football. It was a bad play. Hubert did have a few monster blocks though and continues to be great in that regard despite his size. The offensive line continues to get banged up with Finney going down but it sounds like he'll be ready to go against Oklahoma. If the UTEP game is any indication and the O-Line plays like they did against Miami, Hubert may rebound in Norman but both of those things are huge unknowns. Not sure why we didn't see anything from Angelo Pease but I will say I didn't really miss him. He hasn't been especially productive and he's certainly not what I would call a "change of pace back". Klein continues to be our most effective weapon in the running game. As long as the Sooners don't get any cheap shots in on him like they may or may not have last year, I think he'll have a good chance at a decent game.
Our defense looked like a whole different unit than what we saw against Miami. The North Texas offensive line played really well and even though we got two sacks and 10 tackles for loss again, there didn't seem to be an energy behind the D like what they showed the Hurricanes. Derek Thompson had only been 19 of 45 passing prior to this game and was 25 of 28 against us. Thats 89% folks. They killed us on the underneath routes and then used that success to stretch the field deeper a little later on. If we allow that against OU it will be a long day. They are certainly capable of it and I can't see how we will fix those issues in a week. Missouri State did it to us and—as I said in my Miami post—if the Hurricane receivers wouldn't have had teflon hands, that might have made for a significantly different contest. As it stands right now it seems our only chance to beat the Sooners is in a shootout and we don't do well at those. All my sources have told me that Snyder has had the facilities locked up air tight all week so he's obviously planning something. But unless the soft pass coverage has been a fluke or we find a way to sack Landry Jones 20 times, I think we're in for a tough night in Norman.
Tyler Lockett is fast. I haven't had a chance to watch any tape of OU yet so I don't know what their kick coverage looks like but from the stats it looks like UTEP average 16.5 yards per kickoff return and Florida A&M averaged just over 18. Lockett will always be a factor in that regard but it's likely that if Stoops has any worries, he'll just have his team kick it away from him.
Arthur Brown's injury was scary but it sounds like its no big deal. He looked solid when he came back in the game and Snyder said he would be ready to go.
Daniel Sams is human. I didn't go back and look at the Miami tape too see if they did it too but I could tell that North Texas was stacking eight in the box as soon as he came in. Getting 4.8 yards a carry is pretty damn good, but after the last two weeks, anything less than a 40+ yard touchdown was disappointing. I half expected him to throw the ball but that's just wishful thinking. HCBS would never throw the ball with his team up by 14 with two minutes to go. It would be nice to see Sams throw before the season is out but it doesn't seem likely.
Bob Stoops is 14-4 coming off of bye weeks and undefeated at home against ranked opponents. I know you've all read that somewhere else but I mention it only to highlight how much I hate pointless historical statistics like that. Those stats mean nothing. Every season is different. Every team is different. Every week is different.
This week is going to be interesting.