I have emerged from my screwdriver-induced haze of early afternoon and hope to offer some rational thoughts on this game.
First of all, hats off to KU. The Cats have no excuses to offer in this one, as KU pretty much demonstrated it was the superior team throughout the afternoon. They outcoached the Cats with their 'check-with-me' offense, especially the screen pass for a touchdown (I doubt I've seen a dumber defensive call). They took a body blow from K-State when Leon Patton completed the halfback pass, and came right back.
While KU won this game, K-State had a golden opportunity to deliver a haymaker in the first quarter. Intercepted the first pass, great field position, wind at our backs...punt. Later we missed a field goal. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas, but we legitimately could have been up 17-0 at the end of the first quarter. We weren't and things went downhill from there.
I'm not really ready to say Josh Freeman had a poor game. Say what you want about his three interceptions, but one of them was a tipped pass (those things happen) and the last one he didn't have much choice but to force a throw, considering it was fourth down and he got flushed early. My biggest complaint with the offense was the complete abandonment of the running game. On a windy day, and after James Johnson broke off a couple nice gains, we just decided the run game wasn't worth our time. If we're going to play well north of the Mason-Dixon line, we better figure out how to run the ball.
The defensive effort, whether it be hurrying the quarterback or stopping the run, that we saw against Texas was nowhere to be seen today. Maybe the rest of the season will prove that KU is a better team than Texas, but I did not see on TV today the defense that I saw in person last weekend in Austin. KU did a good job of keeping us on our heels by mixing the run (McAnderson is a bull) and the pass.
After last week, I noted that the only question I still had about Ron Prince was his ability to get maximum effort from his team every single week. Say what you will, but we did not see the effort and execution this week that we saw last week against Texas. I definitely give KU credit for the special teams area, they took away the possibility of big plays away from us, which took away our advantage in that phase of the game. But we have to see this coaching staff be able to get the team ready to play every week. You only get one bye week per year, at most, so the coaches better be able to get ready in one week's time. We haven't seen that consistently, so the questions about Prince and staff remain.
So in conclusion, this rivalry is back. A one-sided series is not a rivalry, but now KU has won in Manhattan for the first time since I was in kindergarten, and we can no longer claim dominance of the state. As such, I no longer feel hesitant to relay to you that I hate Mark Mangino with the white-hot flame of a thousand nuclear explosions. His post-game comments were obviously rehearsed and obviously directed right at Ron Prince's scheduling philosophy. He basically said that he's rather stay at home and win than go on the raod and lose. That may be true, but I'll paraphrase Bob Stoops when I note that some programs would be happy to just beat a certain rival every year, but at K-State we want a little more. There's a lot of football left to be played, and we are by no means out of the North race yet. Mizzou is waxing Nebraska right now, which means that the North standings after this week will be Colorado, Mizzou/KU, K-State/Nebraska, Iowa State.
I have been loathe to play the "looking ahead" game thus far, but we have to do it now. If we can beat Colorado at home under the lights next week, we'll be 2-1 and right back in the thick of the division race. We still have games against three of the North contenders, and two of them are at home. Nebraska looks very beatable (granted, so do we). Oklahoma State looks like a winnable game (it looks loseable, too, if that's a word). We already have one big win over a top South team. It's going to take some serious hard work, but this season is far from over.
(I apologize in advance for any typos...I slept off my previous drunkenness, but I'm a couple Coors deep and don't feel like editing this post)