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Kansas State loses to Stanford

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Was this loss good or bad? The Slate wonders out loud.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Someday, on a crisp fall day in the future, maybe even while Bill Snyder still walks the sidelines, we will one of these games. When it happens, it will be one for the ages. You will remember where you were when it happened, that magical, unexpected win over a much-higher rated team where everything clicked into place at just the right time, with no weird miscues or blown coverages or inexplicable timeouts. In short, it will be a singular moment of pure unadulterated joy.

But that someday was not this day.

The farmers couldn’t quite take over The Farm, and Kansas State lost to Stanford 26-13, despite a stellar effort from the defense and the emergence of a couple of young wide receivers as genuine offensive threats. The offense is still looking for rhythm and consistency, and while the quarterback play was mostly the stuff of nightmares, the passing game and the offensive line improved as the game progressed.

In other words, there may well be light at the end of the dark tunnel we entered way back in 2015, as Jon Morse notes in his post-game recap: Stanford 26, Kansas State 13: Five Things We Learned.

Predictably, the ESPN recap suggests this was a relatively easy outing for Stanford, highlighting Christian McCaffrey’s two touchdowns while largely ignoring how well-contained he was for much of the night. Rule of Tree also focused primarily on Stanford’s inability to execute and not really on how Kansas State’s defense might have contributed to that.

Ken Corbitt of the Topeka Capital-Journal, taking a slightly more purple-friendly approach, called the team “inconsistent” and echoed Bill Snyder’s thoughts on the offense. The players were disappointed by the outcome, and frustrated by the mistakes and lack of execution, but also noted seemed to take some solace in not being dominated. Now they have the opportunity to clean up their act over the next 11 games.

Despite the loss, Kansas State actually had more total yards and greater time of possession than the Cardinal despite struggling offensively for most of the night. It was, in other words, a mixed bag, and with a bye week to commiserate but also correct deficiencies, the team should do much better against its next opponent (Kevin Haskin, Capital-Journal).

In the Wichita Eagle, Kellis Robinett found the entire game far too familiar. I’m just going to quote him here, because I think this may be the most accurate assessment of Kansas State football I’ve read in a while:

Kansas State began its new season the same way it ended its last one, displaying enough grit and moxie to compete against a ranked opponent on the road while lacking the poise and playmaking skills needed to win.

A bye week and a couple of relatively easier opponents may be just what Kansas State needs to address the pressing problems on offense before the Big 12 season begins.

Happy Labor Day, all! See you on the flip side.