Postgame Report: Kansas State vs. Texas Tech

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

The Wildcats appear to have found their stride -- in Lubbock of all places.


Final - 11.9.2013 1 2 3 4 Total
Kansas St. Wildcats 14 21 0 14 49
Texas Tech Red Raiders 10 0 9 7 26

There's been a lot of talk about identity lately when it comes to K-State football.

Who are the 2013 Wildcats?

Well, on Saturday in Lubbock, they were dominant.

K-State did what it normally does on offense -- attempted to establish the run -- but it's been a while since the 'Cats had as much success early as they did against the Red Raiders. After just two offensive plays, John Hubert had run for 65 yards and a score. Sixty-three of those yards and the touchdown came on a sideline sprint that was almost shocking in its explosiveness.

Hubert finished the first half averaging more than a first down every time he carried the football. In fact, the Wildcats as a whole averaged 8.5 yards per play in the first half and scored on every offensive possession except the last one, only because there was one second left in the half when they got the ball.

Daniel Sams threw one pass in the whole first half and managed 41 yards on seven carries and a score on the ground. Jake Waters completed all five of his pass attempts for 50 yards in the half, including a beautiful 20 yard pass on a play that looked doomed due to a bobbled snap and a good pass rush, but Waters secured the ball and and scrambled till he found Tramaine Thompson open in the end zone for Thompson's lone catch of the day.

After giving up a field goal and a touchdown on Tech's first two offensive possessions -- which lasted 14 and 15 plays respectively -- the K-State defense finished the half forcing two punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs. The Red Raiders only managed a total of 36 offensive yards on their final four drives of the half after getting 144 yards on their first two. The struggles led Kliff Kingsbury to make a change at quarterback, going from starter Davis Webb to backup Baker Mayfield for the final two drives of the second quarter.

Advanced Box Score
Kansas State Texas Tech
Basics Possessions 12 12
Plays 56 97
Yards 367 459
Yards/Play 6.6 4.7
Yards/Poss. 30.6 38.3
Rushing Rushes 44 27
Rush Yards 298 135
Yards/Carry 6.8 5.0
Passing Comp-Att-Int 7-11-0 47-64-2
Pass Yards 76 354
Sacked-Yards 1-7 5-30
Net Pass Yards 69 324
Yards/Attempt 6.3 5.1
Yards/Completion 9.9 6.9
Turnovers Total Turnovers 0 3
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Total Fumbles-Recovered 0-0 3-2
Int-Passes Defended 2-6 0-2
3rd Downs 3rd Down Conversions 5 for 9 9 for 17
Avg. Yards to Go 5.9 6.5
Avg. 1st Down Gain 4.7 4.1
4th Downs 4th Down Conversions 0 for 0 1 for 2
Field Position Avg. Starting F.P. 34.8 23.4
Special Teams Punts-Net Yards/Punt 4-38.8 3-45
Kickoffs-Net Yards/Kickoff 8-42.4 6-27.2
Field Goals 0 for 0 2 for 2

The 35-10 lead the Wildcats built in the first two frames carried them through a tough third quarter as Mayfield led Tech to nine unanswered points, which would have been 10 if not for a blocked extra point by Travis Britz. It might have been even more if not for the roller coaster status of Tech star tight end Jace Amaro, who spent the whole game being rotated in and out of the lineup due to an apparent shoulder injury. Amaro still finished with nine grabs for 67 yards but clearly wasn't himself through most of the contest. Eric Ward finished as the receiving leader for the Red Raiders with 11 catches for 107 yards and a score.

Tyler Lockett led the category for the Wildcats, finishing with four receptions for 44 yards. He was the only K-State receiver with more than one catch. As you can see above, the 'Cats finished with only 11 pass attempts. After going six for six with a touchdown in the first half, the two-headed monster of Waters and Sams completed only one pass in five attempts in the third and fourth quarters. Daniel Sams led the only sustained drive of the second half for the K-State offense, a seven play, 46 yarder that was capped off by a touchdown on the first play of the final frame.

After that, it was left to the defense. Three plays into the ensuing Tech possession, Ty Zimmerman picked off a Baker Mayfield pass and returned it for a touchdown in a manner that made the Red Raider special edition "Never Quit" Wounded Warrior uniforms particularly ironic.

Techlol_medium

This was the exclamation point on an admirable performance from Zimmerman, who fought through a shoulder injury to anchor the Wildcat secondary against the ever-dangerous Tech passing attack. Despite Zimm's efforts, the defensive MVP award for the 'Cats has to go to Ryan Mueller who continued his one-man rampage through Big 12 offenses with three sacks, a forced fumble and numerous disruptive hurries on the young Raider quarterbacks.

After this performance, there should no longer be a question of identity for the Wildcats. No, they're not the same national threat they were a year ago with Collin Klein and Arthur Brown leading the way, but over the last four to five games, they have slowly come in to their own. They won't win any championships. They probably won't even sniff any post-season individual awards. But as they go about forcing turnovers, avoiding penalties and playing to the whistle on every down, they have proven that despite the early season mess, they still are Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats.

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