Let me start off by saying this is not going to be the same type of recap as my last post.
As I sit here at my computer thinking about the game, it is hard for me to really get upset like a lot of people probably are. Don’t get me wrong, I am disappointed in the game and the fact that we did not come out as the victor, but let’s be honest, Oklahoma State is a good team with a very potent offense, and if you really think about it a lot of us didn’t really give the Cats a chance in this one.
On paper, it didn’t even look like we were going to stack up well. We have a horrendous rush defense, and they are one of the best rushing teams in the nation (They have actually won the Big XII rushing title the past four years). We did come in with the 36th rank pass defense, but if you ask me, that is a very bloated number because nobody has really had to pass the ball on us all year. At the same time we were coming off of two straight games where we averaged 50 points, so we at least had a chance.
In the end, they were too much, but that is not to say that we didn’t play at least a decent, in my opinion actually a good, game. My positives and negatives are after the jump.
I’ll start with the negatives so that we can end this post on a happy note:
1. Dropped passes- There were multiple times throughout the game where we’d have a receiver get his hands on the ball only to see it fall to the turf. There were a couple of times this happened on third down and it killed a drive. That is something we have to get better at next week. The biggest one had to be by Aubrey Quarles. I don’t know if you want to count this as a drop so much as it was a tipped pass that got intercepted. Either way, he should have caught it and we would have been inside the red zone with momentum.
2. Missed opportunities- This is not just counting a missed field goal by Josh Cherry. This includes the offense after two different fumbles in the first half, and a turnover on downs by the Pokies that we were not able to capitalize on. The defense was not safe from this either missing two picks in the fourth quarter (the second of which being thrown right to our defender). We convert on even one of these I think the game is completely different.
3. Coaching miscues- The most blatant one of these has to be the timeout taken after an apparent touchdown by Daniel Thomas was being reviewed. There is no excuse to not have a play ready when you have so much time to think about what to do. You have to be prepared in that situation. Not only was this bad, but in my opinion, the play calling itself throughout most of the game. Once again it happened that we went to the play action pass in the fourth quarter and it moved the ball effectively. I don’t know how many times this is going to have to happen before we implement it earlier in the game instead of trying to hand it off so many times.
4. Coffman’s late game decision making- In my opinion, Carson Coffman played a good game for about 3 ½ quarters. When it came down to about the last 8 minutes of the game, he tried to force too many passes, or just took too long to decide where to throw it anyway. Overall, I’m not that disappointed in how Coffman played, he managed the game pretty well for the most part, but just made a couple bonehead plays late in the game.
I know there are some other negatives that I’m missing, or some of you may disagree with these, but again that is just my opinion from what I saw. Now on to what I found to be positive in the game.
1. Defense- I know this may not get a lot of people on my side, but I think they rebounded very well from their last game. Yes we gave up over 500 yards, but we also only gave up 24 points to a team that is averaging nearly 50 on the year. In my opinion that’s an improvement. My one concern would have been wrapping up on their tackles. I saw a lot of them being bounced off of because there was no wrap up.
2. Freshman Ty Zimmerman- The kid played out of his mind today. From the get go he was in on plays, and I remember hearing his name called all day. I like that he’s already playing like this as a freshman. I think that bodes well for us in the future.
3. Innovative play calling- I like the fact that when it came to the fourth quarter (granted again I would like us to start it sooner) the coaches changed up the styles of plays they called and gave many different looks that I’m not sure the Pokies were ready for. We moved the ball late in the fourth quarter almost at will.
4. Never give up attitude- The Cats once again showed that no matter what the score is they will never give up on a game. I think that is actually a great thing for us and I think it may come into play in the next couple weeks and end up helping us and getting us a win (I would say next week against Texas). I am the type of guy that likes to see his team competing no matter what and that’s what the Cats did again today.
Overall, I think the game essentially came down to three plays. A missed field goal, Quarles’ tipped pass interception, and Coffman’s pick six in the fourth. Outside of those plays we played OSU even (actually I believe we beat them other than those), but therein lies the problem. When it all boils down, the difference in the game is that Oklahoma State capitalized on their opportunities and we did not. We forced two early fumbles and only cashed in on one of them, and then when OSU handed us points in the first drive of the second half we decided not to take them.
At the end of the day I think the reason that we did not come out on top is because OSU came in with a good game plan and neutralized our special teams where everyone said we had a very large advantage. My hat is off to the Pokes for coming in and executing and doing what needed to be done to win. We need to take a lesson from that and come back hard next week.
As for Kansas State next week, I think we actually have a very good chance if our secondary can slow down their passing game. I believe Texas is a very beatable team and we definitely have the capabilities of doing it. They do have a quarterback in Garrett Gilbert who knows how to sling the ball around, but at the same time he is only a sophomore and is prone to make many mistakes like he did against Iowa State.
I believe if we come out and execute on offense and don’t give up big plays on defense we will end up walking out of senior night with a win against the Longhorns and looking forward to a trip to Missouri where we could always pull some magic out of a hat. In my humble opinion, if we play a good game next week we will end with at least an 8 win season, possibly nine with a little bit of magic.
Here’s hoping to a good game next week where we can get back on track and back into the post season.