Postgame Report: K-State vs. West Virginia

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Snyder takes a page from H.G. Wells to put away the Mountaineers.


Adapt or perish.

Let's get one thing straight. Since August 30, there has been an argument a spirited debate among the K-State faithful. Many have considered it to be Sams v. Waters. The wise among us have known better.

Now everyone should know. The real debate has been Snyderball v. Waters and Sams. Collin Klein was the quintessential Snyderball quarterback. He was durable. He was reliable. He did exactly what was needed and nothing more and he nearly singlehandedly carried the K-State offense for the better part of three seasons. Klein is gone now. He is not coming back and try as they might, neither Daniel Sams or Jake Waters can be Collin Klein.

Both quarterbacks had a rough first half. Aside from one beautiful pass to Tyler Lockett for a score, Waters only completed one pass in five attempts for 11 yards in first two frames. He also managed to fumble the ball away after a great 15 yard run on the first drive. Sams finished the half completing all three of his pass attempts for a total of 32 yards but only ran once for a loss of five. John Hubert had 11 carries for 53 yards but the offense was lucky that the defense played so strong and the Mountaineers struggled in the kicking game with a few short punts and a blocked extra point.

With a baseball score and no offense to speak of in the first half, it was reasonable to assume that the Wildcats might be in for their fifth heartbreaking disappointment of the year. Even through the first two drives of the second half, it looked like there might be trouble. When Daniel Sams did the unthinkable and fumbled the ball in the end zone on the second drive, it appeared things were for sure doomed.

Then, slowly, the offense began to evolve. After the defense again stepped up when it mattered and held West Virginia to only a field goal on the ensuing drive, Sams and Hubert took control and pushed the offense down the field 78 yards, capped off with a great Tyler Lockett TD catch to give the 'Cats a two point advantage.

After another great defensive stop, K-State's offense looked like it was reverting back to first half struggles. After a short gain by Hubert and no gain by Sams, Waters stepped in to hit Curry Sexton for 32 yards and a huge first down. Sams came back in on the next play as the coaching staff was clearly trying to burn some clock, but failed again in two plays. Waters returned again and scrambled for a first down, then hit Tramaine Thompson for a big 30 yard TD to give the Wildcats a two score lead.

After that, Waters was cut loose. In the fourth quarter alone, Jake Waters completed all eight of his passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns and added 24 yards on three carries on the ground. The offense adapted and for the first time all season, we got to see what the offense might look like if Jake Waters is allowed to be Jake Waters.

Coming into this season, K-State fans had a lot of worries about the defense, but we were confident that the offense might be even better than last year. Even early when it became clear that there would be two quarterbacks, we still hoped that they would be able to properly compliment each other. That hasn't happened yet. So far — in almost every game — in order for one quarterback to succeed, the other has to fail.

Waters supporters probably felt vindicated Saturday night, and they had reason. But don't get too excited yet. Much like in the Texas game, the coaching staff only allowed Waters to shine in the way he's accustomed after Daniel Sams had failed to execute the true game plan. Even though Waters is listed first on the depth chart, he appears to be firmly settled as Plan B for this offense. And there's no way Bill Snyder will allow Plan B to become Plan A anytime soon. It's just not Snyderball.

The first K-State scoring drive of the second half — led by Sams — went 78 yards in 14 plays and took over eight minutes off the clock. The next three drives combined — led primarily by Waters — covered 196 total yards in 20 plays in just under 11 minutes.

Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was nice to have a comfortable victory. It was great to look up into the stands midway through the fourth quarter and see the fans pouring out of the exits for a good reason. But it isn't the Snyder way anymore. It really never has been.

But it was good to see Waters have a game that many hoped was possible. It was good to see Sams be so supportive on the sideline despite his own struggles in the rushing game. It was good to see the defense continue to step up and stop an offense that a lot of fans feared all week. And it was good to see that this team just might be willing to adapt before it falls out of bowl contention.

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