Jake Waters threw an interception which led to seven UMass points, and was terribly shaky throughout, but two Waters touchdown passes, 118 rushing yards from John Hubert and 77 more (and a score) from Daniel Sams, and two Kip Daily interceptions -- one returned for a touchdown -- lifted the Wildcats over the Minutemen in Manhattan.
Without having actually seen the game, I can only speak to what the play-by-play shows, and to the reaction of fans as they watched. The Cats weren't impressive tonight. The defense was, once again, soft; after the first quarter they stiffened when it mattered, but against the opponent they were facing I don't know that this is really a cause for optimism. The second unit got some airtime late and looked relatively decent.
Waters had, not to put too fine a point on it, a horrible night. The junior was 5 of 10 for 115 yards, and 93 of those yards came on two touchdown strikes (one each to Hubert and Glenn Gronkowski). Waters only completed two passes to his wide receivers for only 15 yards (the fifth completion was a seven-yard hookup with Hubert). However, Waters did show that he can run the ball a little, notching 74 yards on nine carries; he actually averaged more yards per carry than Sams.
Sams, however, did have a pretty good night. He gained his 77 yards on 11 touches, and was 2-2 throwing the ball, although those two completions only amounted to 12 yards. It remains a befuddlement as to why Sams didn't get more action in this, the one game where we'd expect it above all others. First, let's assume that Snyder simply wasn't happy with Sams' passing in fall camp. At this point, either Snyder still isn't -- or he is now, but is playing the long game with. I guess we'll have to see next week.
Other goodnesses: Robert Rose got some action, carrying five times for 39 yards and busting off a 26-yard touchdown run. DeMarcus Robinson handled the entire load on the final clock-killing drive, picking up 21 yards on three touches. Amazingly, Hubert's 6.6 yards per carry was the worst YPC of the night for the Cats; all four other ball carriers averaged seven or more yards a touch. But don't take too much away from this; more than anything, it just indicates that the Minutemen can't stop the run. The secondary played well, except for some apparent sloppiness on the part of Dorrian Roberts.
And the Cats blocked a field goal. Yay! Also, the kick coverage units managed not to screw up.
The bad: Tramaine Thompson, a week after being the hero, had a lot of trouble holding on to the football tonight. The defense only allowed about five yards a play, but continued the troubling trend of being unable to get off the field in a timely fashion. And while the special teams had a passable night, they did allow the extra point after the first Wildcat touchdown to get batted.
Again, though, I wasn't able to actually watch the game... so stay tuned for Derek's in-depth recap tomorrow, where he'll detail things in a much more comprehensive fashion. To me, the situation is like a car that still seems to be able to get from point A to point B, but every time you step on the gas you're worried you're about to leave parts on the ground. You know what I mean -- rattle, lurch, thump. For now, let's just exhale and be glad that K-State won this one by 30.