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Postgame Reaction: Kent State

K-State notched its first shutout in five years when the Wildcats blanked Kent State, 37-0.

Given the outstanding defensive effort, it was appropriate that the first score of the evening came on a pick six, as cornerback David Garrett jumped an out route and took it to the house. Collin Klein and the offense took over from there, running the margin to 34 at halftime before essentially shutting things down in the second half.

As you'll see below, one of my frustrations with the game was how quickly the offense was reined in, but the first-half numbers were impressive. K-State totaled 244 yards in the first half and, but for some stupid clock management at the end of the half, should have had at least a shot at ending the half with a touchdown, rather than a field goal.

Hit the jump for what I liked, what I didn't like, what it means and where we're going, and the Big 12 Roundup.

What I liked...

...another solid defensive effort. Again, don't get too excited. As mentioned in the open game thread, this is not a prolific Kent State offense. But hey, you play to win the game, and part of winning the game is not letting the other team score. On top of the shutout, K-State held Kent State (barely) to fewer than 200 total yards. K-State held Kent State quarterback to a sub-50 percent completion percentage, and the Golden Flashes rushed for only 3.3 yards per carry as a team. The rushing average is still below four yards per carry (3.75) if you take out yards lost on sacks. Speaking of sacks, the Cats had two of those, including one apiece for Meshak Williams and Ray Kibble. Once again, the Cats find themselves atop the national rankings for total defense.

...a perfect day for Anthony Cantele. After my complaints about his miss two weeks ago, it's only fair that I compliment the kid from Kapaun for making three field goals, from 49, 30 and 22 yards.

...another big day on the ground for Collin Klein. We'll take 7.3 yards per carry from Klein all season long. He's not the fastest guy ever, but he reads defenses well on run plays and hits the seam when it's there.

What I didn't like...

...shutting down the offense so early. A team on pace at halftime for nearly 500 total yards ended up with only 335. I'm not saying I wanted us to hang 60 on Kent State, but given the issues we saw against Eastern Kentucky, and some of the issues we continued to see against the Golden Flashes, I would have liked to see more reps for the first-teamers, and more meaningful action for the backups. With a road trip to Miami looming, we need all the repetitions we can get.

...more inconsistent passing from Collin Klein. Granted, Kent State is a solid defense. But I'd still like to see Klein complete passes at better than a 50-percent rate. The lack of yardage is understandable given that he played less than a half, but even at that he wasn't on pace for more than about 150-175 yards. Maybe a nitpick, but I'd like to see more.

...utter lack of production from the running backs. The triumvirate of John Hubert, Angelo Pease and Robert Rose combined for only 74 yards on 19 carries (3.9 yards/carry). That just won't cut it. Again, Kent State is not a bad defense. But with Klein's inconsistent passing, we're going to have to sustain a running game, and we can't have Klein getting hit 20 times per game (see, e.g., Grant Gregory). I have no idea whether Bryce Brown was held out because he's still dinged up or because he was in the doghouse, but at some point we have to have him dotting the "i" if we're going to have a chance on the ground.

What it means and where we're going...

If you're like me, then you at least feel about a million times better this week than you did last week. It really speaks volumes about how crummy this team looked against EKU that I consider this type of game against a MAC opponent to be a vast improvement, but that's how I feel. And again, the defense truly does look like it might be average this year, which would be a vast improvement over last year, so that's a positive.

I like to keep track of the progress of the teams we have already played so we can see whether they are better, about as good, or worse than we thought they would be. For a team like Eastern Kentucky, I'm tempted to recycle my "nobody cares how Tennessee Tech did" line from a few years ago, but I'll wait to see what y'all have to say about that before pulling it out. In any event, the Colonels are 1-2 on the season, with a 28-14 win over Missouri State balancing out a 24-13 loss to Chattanooga (No. 14 Chattanooga, according to EKU's Web site, thank you very much). It will be hard to judge much about this team from a game like it played against a team like EKU, who is going to play nothing but FCS opponents this season (including Tennessee Tech!).

Nobody who cheers for K-State needs to be reminded of the opponent this weekend. K-State travels to Miami to face the Hurricanes in a game that will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU. The Hurricanes are 1-1, with a close opening-weekend loss on the road to Maryland and a big home win over Ohio State last weekend. Miami put the clamps on an Ohio State University's passing game, limiting the Buckeyes to a woeful four completions on 18 attempts for only 35 yards. The Hurricanes will have momentum, a home crowd, and a bunch of athletes on the field next Saturday. It will take a stellar performance for K-State to manage a win.

Big 12 Roundup

The Rout 66 Game: Georgia Tech 66, KU 24

I'll admit it, at halftime I thought, "KU is looking competitive in this game." By the middle of the second half, any of those thoughts were long gone as the Ramblin' Wreck rambled to a record-breaking blowout of KU. After switching to a 3-4 defense this season, the Jayhawks are doing their best to imitate the K-State defenses during the Ron Prince era, giving up 604(!!!) rushing yards on an astounding 12.1 yards per carry on 50 attempts. That is an NCAA record, so it goes without saying that it was even worse for KU than that North Texas game was for K-State last season, which is really saying something. In yet another attempt to replicate K-State's Prince-era defenses, KU gave up two long touchdown passes in the second half in which receivers ran right down the middle of the field with nary a safety in sight.

Next up: Idle

Texas 49, UCLA 20

The beginning of the Case McCoy era in Austin went well, as the Longhorns managed not only to avoid another embarrassing loss to UCLA, but to notch an impressive win. McCoy was an efficient 12-15 for 168 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. In an encouraging sign for a team that hasn't been able to run the ball consistently in the last few years, Texas rolled up 284 rushing yards on 5.7 yards per carry. The Longhorn defense held UCLA to 317 total yards, had three interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble. It's way too soon to say Texas is back, but it looks like the 5-7 nightmare from last year is in the past.

Next up: Idle

Texas Tech 59, New Mexico 13

Texas Tech routed a putrid New Mexico team, with Seth Doege setting a single-game record for completion percentage by connecting on 40 of his 44 passing attempts, which resulted in 401 passing yards and five touchdowns for the Red Raiders. Not a bad day at the office. The Red Raiders also limited New Mexico to one meaningful score, giving up two field goals in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. Despite relatively weak competition thus far, Texas Tech is clearly a team trending upward from preseason expectations.

Next week: Nevada

Baylor 48, Stephen F. Austin 0

I have nothing to say about this one. Didn't even see highlights, and you can't tell much other than the Bears didn't have a letdown after the landmark first-week win over Texas Christian. It was so bad, in fact, that the game was called in the third quarter because of lightning. K-State's worst nightmare, Robert Griffin III, was 20-22 for 265 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions and 78 rushing yards for good measure.

Next up: Rice

Missouri 69, Western Illinois 0

The third of three shutouts by Big 12 schools, Missouri bounced back from a disappointing loss to Arizona State to annihilate WIU. Henry Josey did his best Georgia Tech-impersonation by rushing for 263 yards on only 14 carries. In other ridiculous stats, Western Illinois gained only one first down the entire game. That is not a joke (well, it is, but in a different sense) or a misprint. The Leathernecks really only gained one first down. Mizzou held WIU to only 44 TOTAL yards on the evening. I mean, Bill Snyder beat up on some cupcakes in his day, but my goodness, Mizzou, couldn't you find somebody that at least has a pulse?

Next up: at Oklahoma

Texas A&M 37, Idaho 7

Nobody cares about the Aggies. Hit the link above to see I Am The 12th Man's thoughts on this game.

Oklahoma 23, Florida State 13

While Oklahoma never trailed, they didn't put the Seminoles away until the last couple minutes of a hard-fought contest in Tallahassee. Certainly no shame in that against a fellow top-10 team on the road, and the Sooners have cleared their biggest non-conference hurdle now. Landry Jones struggled a bit for OU, throwing two picks and failing to crack 200 yards passing, but the Sooner defense had his back, limiting FSU to less than 250 total yards on the evening and picking off three Seminole passes. The Sooners get no respite, as they return home to open conference action against the Missouri Tigers squad against whom the Sooners own a one-game losing streak.

Next up: Missouri

Oklahoma State 59, Tulsa 33

When I finally got back to Kansas City at about 1:00 a.m. Sunday, I checked Twitter before conking, and was astounded that this game wasn't even at halftime yet. A 9 p.m. start coupled with severe weather in the Tulsa area led to 3:35 a.m. local time. Enjoy the Pac-16, Cowboys! Brandon Weeden (29-39-2, 369 yards, three TDs, although those INTs have to start becoming a concern at some point) and Justin Blackmon (7 catches, 57 yards, 1 TD) were their typically awesome selves for OSU, although the defense had a bit of a brainfart in the second half, allowing three third-quarter touchdowns, although the game was never even close to being in doubt.

Next up: at Texas A&M