I guess we have a quarterback controversy again, huh?
Of course, it's going to be hard for the Sams camp to argue their side after this game, in which Jake Waters asserted his dominance in the fourth quarter to save the game and, arguably, the season.
Both quarterbacks were mostly terrible for the first 40 minutes of the game. Waters fumbled twice, losing one. Daniel Sams coughed up the ball at the goal line midway through the third quarter, giving West Virginia a touchback. Early on, outside of a pretty 35-yard strike to Tyler Lockett, Waters passes had no touch -- not that he was being asked to throw many. Meanwhile, Daniel Sams couldn't get anything on the ground -- at all, as he was held to 16 yards on 14 carries, his longest of the day going for eight yards. (Waters, meanwhile, picked up 55 yards on ten carries; both quarterback's figures don't account for sacks.)
But late in the third, things started clicking. The defense held West Virginia to a field goal on the response drive after Sams' fumble, and then Sams led a 78-yard drive which took up 8:24 and ended with a nine-yard toss to Lockett, The defense held, and Waters led a drive which ended with a 30-yard strike to Tramaine Thompson. And after Ty Zimmerman stripped the ball from Clint Trickett near midfield, Waters again found Lockett from 24 yards out.
And that's before we even discuss the final drive, during which Waters absolutely clowned the West Virginia defense before getting inside the 10 and letting John Hubert go to work. They failed to completely kill the clock, though: Hubert scored with 21 seconds left to emphatically put the final punctuation on the game.
The most amazing thing, as bad as things seemed, is looking at the box score. Waters was 10-13 for 198 and three TDs; Sams was 8-8 for 93 and one. Neither Wildcat QB threw the ball into the wrong hands the entire game. Add it up, and K-State was 18-21 for 291 and four scores for the game. The Cats had two 100-yard receivers on the day: Lockett had 111 yards on 8 catches, but he didn't lead the team in either yards or yards per catch. That honor went to Curry Sexton , who pulled down six balls for 112 yards. Thompson added three catches for 53, and Hubert hauled in a swing pass for 15.
The ground game, on the other hand, was pretty mediocre, but wasn't a disaster. Although Sams was utterly unable to get his own rushing game moving, he did help Hubert roll for 86 yards on 14 totes.
The defense did what the K-State defense does when it's working okay. Trickett was 15-28 for 227 with no TDs nor interceptions; Paul Millard came in for the final couple of drives, going 4-13 for 37, and throwing a pick to Dorrian Roberts on the final play of the game. The Mountaineers were held to a total of 103 rushing yards (again, sack yardage not accounted for here), although that was only on 29 carries, and only 367 yards of total offense. Most importantly, perhaps, was third down: West Virginia was only 4-15 on third-down conversions, a very welcome result.
We'll have more in-depth analysis later in the week, as always; for now, let's celebrate getting a conference win in the books.