Possibly the most important fact of the first half as the Wildcats cling to a four-point lead: K-State hasn’t punted, and Tech has.
Our halftime thread tonight will be presented in diary form, with hot observations. (Comments on format welcome.)
Tech drive one: the K-State defense hit the running back or receiver early on and solidly on nearly every play, but in almost every instance failed to make the tackle. D.J. Reed was also eaten alive on a big pass play, never looking for the ball or making a play on the receiver's hands, which is what you have to do if you're not turning your head. Still, it took Tech over five minutes to get down field and take the lead.
K-State drive one: Charles Jones matriculated the ball downfield. On a third-down play, Tech got absolutely no rush on Jesse Ertz, but he very nearly took a coverage sack before finally spotting Byron Pringle, who'd broken open. To make matters worse for Tech, Kris Williams gave Ertz a shove in the face at the end of the play, drawing a personal foul. Ertz finished things off with a pass to Isaiah Zuber, who looked like he was going to get stopped at about the five but lunged forward, reaching out with the ball, and clipped the pylon. It only took the Cats three and a half minutes.
Tech two: More of the same, interrupted by a late hit... on Texas Tech OL Justin Murphy. On the next play, Reed redeemed himself, jumping the route on a screen pass and...
K-State two: ...streaking all the way to the end zone unmolested.
Tech three: The entire defense got roasted on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Keke Coutee, on which Reed missed the initial cover.
K-State three: Some trouble passing early, but Ertz busted a 27-yard run, and Charles Jones blasted for 26 on the very next play to get to the 11. An out pattern to Zuber almost resulted in another pylon-tap, but Isaiah was held up short as the first quarter came to an end. Dimelcat didn't work, fade to Dominique Heath didn't work, so Matt McCrane punched one through the uprights for a 17-14 lead.
Tech four: Bad tackling, a well-executed receiver screen pass for a big gain, and a running play got Tech into the red zone, third and five at the 16. And Mahomes, bottled up in the backfield, somehow managed to escape and scored with his legs.
K-State four: Dalvin Warmack got into the act after another big 19-yard designed run by Ertz. A nice pass and a brave catch by Deante Burton moved the Cats inside the 30, and a couple of plays later Ertz hit Pringle on a slant to get inside the 10. After a couple of runs didn't get much, Ertz hit Burton, who reached for the goal line but came up literally inches short, at least according to the refs. On fourth-and-nothing, Ertz was bulldozed into the end zone by the entire offense to put K-State back in the lead.
Tech five: I hate football.
K-State five: I love football, as Pringle returns the kickoff 99 yards.
Tech six: A third-down sack by Jordan Willis becomes the first third down Tech has failed to convert, and Michael Barden got the honor of being the first punter to step onto the field. K-State almost blocked it, but it got a huge Tech bounce and went for nearly 60 yards.
K-State six: With only 17 seconds left, and getting the ball to start the second half, Ertz took a knee.
And that's where we are at halftime, with the Cats holding the lead and getting the ball in 20 minutes.
Overall observations: Tech has 363 yards of offense. Only 33 of them are on the ground. But the Wildcat defense seemed to start figuring things out late in the second quarter, so that’s a thing to watch in the next thirty. Conversely, K-State has two rushers over 50 yards already (Ertz and Jones).
Buckle up, because we have no idea what to expect in the second half.