I’m excited to write a happy, positive article regarding Wildcat football. I know I’ve come off as a bit of a pessimist recently, but honestly, I’m an optimist by default and have to work hard to be negative. I wish I had a little more time to get into this game, but my brother-in-law is getting married in Knoxville on Saturday (it is my deeply held belief that getting married on a Saturday in the fall should be illegal and I will back any politician that is willing to draft legislation on this point) and we’re leaving in an hour to drive to Knoxville and I have yet to pack, so I’ll keep this brief (mainly out of fear for my life if my wife comes home and finds that I haven’t finished my list).
Bill Snyder Family Stadium
My buddy Kenny came through with a ticket for me again, so I spent a pleasant morning watching college football. I had a great view, the crowd was engaged (slightly pensive at first, but that is understandable), the beer in the parking lot was cold both before the game and at half time, and Kansas State played some good football. Bill Snyder Family Stadium is a different experience than Death Valley (the real one in Clemson, South Carolina, not the cheap knock off in Baton Rouge) or Kyle Field (the new one with the crazy ticket prices and none of the charm) but I enjoy the atmosphere immensely. Hats off to you Wildcats, you do college football right.
I’ve been talking up Alex all year. It doesn’t matter what the score is, if you give Alex Barnes the ball he is going to run with it as hard as he possibly can until multiple defenders drag him to the ground, and then he’s going to get up and do it again. This offense belongs to Alex Barnes and it will go as far as Alex can drag it. The Oklahoma State defense had no answer for the wrecking ball from Pittsburg (the one in Kansas), who ran the ball 34 times for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns. When he wasn’t destroying defenders with the ball in his hands, he was running by them in the passing game, leading the Wildcats with 3 receptions for 51 yards, including a great one handed catch down the sideline for 29 yards. My only worry is the beating Alex takes on weekly basis is going to catch up to him, but if he wants the ball, K-State would be stupid not to give it to him.
Skylar did just enough in the passing game to keep Oklahoma State from loading the box on Barnes, and that should be his job for the rest of the season. The threat of Thompson throwing may be more important to the offense than Skylar actually throwing the ball. He only completed 11/22 passes for 130 yards, but he didn’t turn it over and he used his legs to scramble for key first downs. I think the coaching staff has finally figured out that Skylar is a quarterback who can run, and not a running quarterback. I like him much better rolling out and scrambling than I like him running read option and QB power. In a weird way, Delton not being available may be helping with the play calling, because they are giving Barnes the carries that would normally go to the quarterback.
That was it, that was the game I was looking for. The Wildcat offensive line was the best unit on the field for either team. It appears that with Thompson in the game, they are able to get to the second level a little easier because they don’t have to worry about 2 extra defenders in the box. Dalton Risner was good, the guards pulled around and led Barnes through the hole and everything worked. The only worry is Abdul Beecham, who suffered a leg injury in the 4th quarter and had to be helped off the field. Hopefully he’s available for Oklahoma.
I called out Hughes last week for poor play, so I’m excited to get to call him out for exceptional play this week. Hughes was all over the field, leading the K-State defense with 8 tackles (7 solo) and a TFL. He used he speed to track plays and when he found a ball carrier, he got him on the ground this week. Seeing week to week improvement in players is always a positive sign. Let’s hope Justin keeps up the good work down the stretch.
Do not test my man Duke Shelley. Just don’t do it. Sure, he’s only 5’9 on a tall day but my man is a baller and will punish you for disrespect with tackles and interceptions. The Cowboys went at Duke and he responded with 6 solo tackles and 2 interceptions. Shelley may not look like the MVP of the defense in street clothes, but put him in uniform and he’s a savage, looking to track down any stray pass or wide receiver in his area.
Denzel Goolsby and Eli Walker
Having Denzel back in the mix does wonders for the defense. He is another aggressive tackler in the back end of the defense. He is the perfect partner for the rangy Eli Walker, and together they accounted for 14 tackles on the day. The performance of the secondary gives me hope moving forward.
I want to tip my hat to the Oklahoma State offense for cooperating with the Kansas State defense. Baylor (as well as a few other teams) laid out a nice template for beating up the Wildcat defense. You run the ball enough to pull the linebackers up and then you start throwing it over the linebackers heads. The weakness of the defense is the second level, in the middle of the field, but the Cowboys decided to test the strength of the K-State defense and go after the corners. It made no sense and at the same time, the ineptitude was beautiful. I have no idea what film Gundy watched before this game, but it certainly wasn’t film from this season. Hats off to you Mike Gundy, may you stay in Stillwater forever.
I’ll have some more stuff a little later in the week, until then, enjoy the off week. I’m already getting geared up for OU. They come in third in the “Teams Drew Hates” rankings.