Well folks, Farmageddon 2012 is in the books and—if you read Revelation—no good Farmageddon tale would be complete without the Anti-Christ, personified in this matchup by the collective efforts of the officiating crew. But more on that later. Fortunately, we had the Second Coming on our side in the form of Optimus Klein. Too much on the biblical metaphors? Perhaps. All in all, the game lived up to the hype and for what seems like the 827th straight year, the Cats barely escape those pesky Cyclones by less than 10 points.
Enough with the silliness. Read on for my analysis.
I joke by referring to him as the Second Coming, but really this man can work miracles. Against arguably the best linebacker duo in the country, Klein rushed for 105 yards and three scores on 25 carries. He also passed the ball 24 times, completing 16 for 187 yards.
Time management was an issue for the Cats for the second (or eleventy-billionth?) straight week as—even more so than last week—the offensive unit seemed to have left their discipline and near-perfect execution on Owen Field in Norman. Klein was openly frustrated as the Cats were out of time outs almost before this game kicked off. They were forced to call time out on only the second offensive play from scrimmage as Klein appeared to have difficulty communicating with the sideline. FX sideline reporter Darius Walker made the comment that crowd noise was preventing Klein from seeing the signals on the sideline. Apparently—much like a T-Rex's vision is based on movement—Optimus Rex's vision is based on sound.
The other two timeouts were arguably on Klein as the Cats broke the huddle with 12 men and 10 men (10?) on the field respectively. Just like he should know to get out of bounds inside the five with eight seconds left in the half, he should take a second in the huddle to count and make sure there are 10 other dudes there.
To be fair, Snyder had this to say in post-game about Collin's role in the issues:
"I’m not so sure that it was the crowd noise, and I haven’t visited with Collin and our offensive linemen about it but I think it was more us not getting the calls where they needed to be and putting him in a position where he had too many decisions to make and not enough time because we didn’t get plays in as quickly as we should. It was that more than anything else, just not getting in position and not getting lined up."
Klein is a great quarterback and I doubt at this point that any true Cat fan would trade him for the world, but they better get this business cleared up before they head to Morgantown. At any rate, there's no question the man is phenomenal when all the logistics are taken care of. There was at least two times in this game that Klein dropped back to throw, went through his progressions, found nothing and scampered out of the collapsing pocket for a huge gain.
Klein's passing accuracy is not something that gets talked a lot about but it deserves some recognition. While the passes are not always caught, more times than not he is able to "put it where only his man can get it" as the kids say. On K-State's first drive he threw a pass to the front corner of the end zone and Curry Sexton nearly pulled it in with one hand until he remembered he isn't Devin Smith. Early in the second frame—with wind in his face—Klein was able to drop a perfectly lofted pass in between two Cyclone defenders right into the waiting arms of Tramaine Thompson for first down to set up the Cats second touchdown of the day. He finished the day completing 67 percent of his passes, including a few fairly deep balls which is something considering the wind. Gotta love that.
Also overlooked is Klein's increasingly exceptional ability to check plays at the line. There's no way of knowing what he is checking out of but Snyder seems to put more and more trust in him to call plays at the line as the season goes on and if the Wizard trusts him, so do I.
According to cfbstats.com, the Wildcats doubled the number of penalties they had for the year in this game. Nine flags were thrown on the men in purple for a total of 62 yards. Some of them were routine (delay of game to give Doerr more room to be a fabulous human being and punt the ball inside the five), some were deserved (at least one of Braden Wilson's holding calls, if not both), some were questionable (tripping on Keenan Taylor), some were wacky (sideline interference?), and some were just downright ridiculous (pass interference on Ty Zimmerman to set up the Clones final score of the day).
It wasn't just Manhattanites getting the shaft in this game as the boys in stripes seemed to oppose the Morrill Act, agriculture and America, flagging the Clones eight times. They gave us a gift on a non-call PI on Nigel Malone when he went over the top of Josh Lenz way too early to try to intercept a pass. They handed us another by calling Rhoads' warriors for targeting when Deon Broomfield clearly hit Travis Tannahill in the shoulder pad.
This game was so ugly that there were really no other stand out stats to devote an entire section to, so I'll skip to the notes.
The Cats held the ball for nearly 41 minutes in this ball game. For those of you who only speak in fractions, that's over two-thirds of the contest. For those of you who only speak in exclamations, thats WOW!
Klein passed the ball 24 times in this game, which is his highest total since throwing 28 passes against Missouri State in week one. His 16 completions were also the most since Missouri State.
For the second straight week, the Cats biggest "duff'd it" play of the game was followed by a positive highlight. Last week it was Hubert being tackled in the end zone for a safety followed by a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff and a touchdown after that. This week it was a muffed punt by Thompson that the Clones recovered, followed by a Ty Zimmerman interception at the goal line. Let me speak for all us Cat fans when I say… stop that. It's not funny.
The defense didn't register a single tackle for loss in this game. For what it's worth though, the pass rush did shake up Jared Barnett enough to force some hurried and off-target throws throughout the contest that probably ultimately won us the game.
For the second straight week, the defense allowed the longest touchdown of the season. Last week it was 19 yards, this week it was a 30 yard pass from Barnett to Ernst Brun. Again, stop that.
The Cats are the first Big 12 team to qualify for a bowl and the only undefeated team in the conference as they head to Morgantown next week. The 'Eers showed that they are more than beatable in Lubbock but the air raid offense always gives us fits. West Virginia's defense is so bad though. Seth Doege passed for 499 yards against them while only registering 331 through the air against the 'Clones earlier this year. Thats almost a 51 percent increase so by the nonexistent transitive property of college football, Collin Klein will throw for roughly 282 yards at Milan Puskar Stadium next week. If my math is off, just know this kids. Math is hard.
Well folks, that's all I've got for this week except to say we are roughly half way from partying like it's the way 1998 should have been. Let us pray. In Klein we trust.