1st Half Thoughts
Skylar Thompson played well in the 1st half, with the exception of a terrible interception. You can’t throw the ball late down the middle of the field with a safety sitting there waiting. I have no idea what he was looking at, because Baylor wasn’t disguising their coverage. The safety was camped out in center field at the snap and only moved when Thompson threw the ball at him.
The passing game wasn’t particularly dynamic, but it was sufficient and kept the Baylor defense from loading the box. Thompson was hitting the out routes and comebacks to the sideline with regularity. He under throws a bunch of passes, which prevents any run after the catch, but at this point, getting the ball out of his hand and to the receiver is good enough.
Per usual, Alex Barnes brought his hard hat and went to work. He had great vision on his two big runs, using his eyes to make the play, and then showing enough top end speed to get to the endzone. I’m always impressed with his violent running style. He does an excellent job of getting behind his pads and lurching forward for extra yards on almost every run. He did, however, make a crucial mistake when he fumbled the snap out of the Wildcat formation on 4th down, causing a turnover on downs.
They are much better at run blocking than pass blocking in this game. In the run game, they are finding their blocks, climbing to the second level, and giving Barnes plenty of room to operate.
They have been abysmal in pass protection. Abdul Beecham got abused by an inside swim move for a sack. Once again, Dalton Risner and Tyler Mitchell fail to communicate on a blitz pick up and let a Baylor player come off the edge untouched while they both blocked the defensive end. This isn’t the first time this has happened this season, and I have no explanation on why it hasn’t been cleaned up. It’s one thing to get beat, it’s another thing to simply not block a guy.
Not a bad half for the wide receivers. They caught the catchable balls but didn’t have a chance to do much after the catch. I wonder if Isaiah Harris could have done more on the Thompson interception, but the ball had no businesses being thrown late down the middle. Thompson is lucky he didn’t get Harris carted off the field.
Don’t buy the explanation, the defense didn’t miss tackles because they don’t play physically in practice. The defense missed tackles because they take bad angles and don’t wrap their arms. I don’t like to call players out, but Justin Hughes was terrible in the 1st half. He let the Baylor QB out run him to the corner for a touchdown where he appeared to be the QB spy, and he missed numerous important tackles. At one point, I’m not even sure he made Jalen Hurd break stride when he met him in the hole on a run that went for a big gain.
There were some missed tackles, but in general, the secondary was good, and has been consistently good this year. Duke Shelley continues to be my favorite player on this team. If the rest of the defense played like Duke, the Wildcats would be in business. Eli Walker was all over the field, but missed a few tackles because he didn’t wrap his arms. The secondary came through with 2 interceptions in the half, so they did their job.
I had to look up synonyms for bad:
atrocious, awful, cheap, crummy, dreadful, lousy, poor, rough, sad, unacceptable, blah, bummer, diddly, downer, garbage, gross, imperfect, inferior, junky, abominable, amiss, bad news, etc...
They get some sympathy because they are banged up, but the frustrating part is that for the most part, the linebackers have been in decent position, but haven’t been able to bring down the ball carrier.
Meh, they were OK. The Baylor QB had too much time to throw on a few occasions, but they were able to get some pressure on passing downs and did a decent job in the run game. Nothing outstanding, but nothing terrible.
I feel like the coaches had a bad 1st half.
I liked going for it on 4th down, but I hated the play call. Baylor hadn’t stopped Barnes all day, putting him the Wildcat just increased the level of difficulty on the play, when a simple hand off probably picks up the 1st down. That’s a little picky, because the play could have worked if Barnes handled the snap.
My biggest issue was the time out use (or abuse). I have no idea how you let the play clock run down and burn a timeout after a kick off. They burned another timeout after a Barnes run for a 1st down. It was wasteful and killed any chance of the Wildcats putting together an end of half drive because it took the run and the pass in the middle of the field off the table.
2nd Half Thoughts
It’s hard to knock Thompson, because he played a decent game overall, but he left two touchdowns on the field and threw another terrible pick in the 2nd half in a 1 score game.
First, you’ve got to hit Barnes for a touchdown when no one is within 30 yards of him. That’s got to be a pass you complete 100/100 times. The only way you don’t complete it is if over throw him, and that’s just what Thompson did. Literally any other pass ends up in the endzone. Thompson could have chucked an underhanded lob and Barnes would have still had time to settle under it and walk into the endzone. The fact that K-State missed the field goal compounds this missed opportunity even further.
The second miss on the deep ball to Dalton Schoen is a little more excusable because it’s a tough throw to make, but at the same time, it’s a tough throw a D1 quarterback should make. Schoen walks into the endzone if Thompson leads him with a pass down the sideline, but Skylar under throws the receiver once again and allows the Baylor DB to recover and make a play. Again, not an easy throw, but Thompson coming up short on the deep ball is a disturbing trend.
Finally, the pick is both an inexcusably bad decision and throw. The decision to throw the ball to a receiver being triple teamed was bad from the start. It was time for Thompson to tuck it, turn the ball up field and get what he could get, instead he decided to throw the ball into coverage. To compound matters, he probably gets away with the throw if he throws the ball outside where it’s just the receiver and the sideline. Instead, he throws it short and inside giving up a crucial pick.
Skylar made some outstanding plays in the 2nd half. His touchdown run was a great read with Baylor in man coverage, leaving the middle of the field wide open. He did a nice job of breaking through the line, and showed good speed in the second level on his way to the endzone. Thompson may not be the QB power guy, but his ability to break the pocket and run in the open field helps make up for that.
The pass to Dalvin Warmack on the wheel route was a thing of beauty. As soon as Warmack beat his man, Thompson ripped the pass into the perfect sport, allowing Dalvin to make the catch on the run and take it to the house. That was a big league throw and Skylar deserves a ton of credit for the touchdown.
What a waste of an epic game by Alex. If you told me that Barnes was going to run for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns before the game started, I would be homeless now, because I would have bet everything I owned on K-State. Barnes ran with speed, power, and incredible determination. With everything that has gone terribly wrong this season, don’t lose track of the effort Barnes has displayed on every play. Dude is a gamer.
That was the best performance I’ve seen out of this line in the run game. The guards were pulling, the tackles were kicking out, and everything was timed up perfectly. Even the pass protection looked better in the second half. That was the line I was expecting to see all season. I don’t know if they’ve finally got it figured out or Baylor is just bad on defense. It’s probably a combination of the two.
I feel like they played up to their ability. I didn’t see any egregious mistakes, but I didn’t see any big plays either. For the most part, they caught the ball and got down. This group lacks explosion and run after catch ability, and that was obvious once again, but they made the catches they should make. My only minor gripe is with Schoen who should have tackled the Baylor defender when he realized just how terrible the throw was from Thompson on the INT, but again, that throw was atrocious.
I was ready to sing the praises of this group and then Reggie Walker went brain dead and gave Baylor an easy 15 yards. I thought they did a solid job with the pass rush and didn’t give up many open rush lanes. When Baylor had success, it was outside the tackle box.
I don’t know man, it was still bad. The tackling improved slightly, but the entire Baylor passing attack was predicated on the linebackers not being able to drop in coverage. It almost looked like the Wildcats were only playing defensive linemen and DBs. To make matters worse, Da'Quan Patton gave Baylor 15 yards on an idiotic late hit. He was able to lay out a quarterback stepping out of bounds, but couldn’t get outside to stop a running back all game. If I had to put this loss on any one position group, I’d lay it at the feet of the linebackers.
There were some missed tackles, and Denzel Goolsby should have made a play on the jump ball touchdown, but overall, not bad. I wish they had played more physical in the 4th quarter and made the refs call defensive holding on the endless procession of inside post / slant patterns but they were really left out to dry by the linebackers inability to get into the passing lanes. The secondary, in general, has been the most consistent unit on the defense. Duke Shelley is my short, athletic spirit animal.
Football is a tough game. Sometimes you have to make split second decisions and they turn out poorly. I can excuse that. What I can’t excuse is Reggie Walker committing a useless and textbook targeting call which not only set up a Baylor touchdown but also disqualified Walker in the 4th quarter of a must win game and the 1st half of next weeks game.
I can say the exact same thing about the Patton late hit that jump started Baylor’s game winning drive. That was inexcusably stupid and selfish. The Baylor quarterback was obviously heading out of bounds and Patton had every opportunity to not do something idiotic, but instead chose to hurt his team. It was a shocking lack of discipline.
Another abysmal showing from a unit that has to be good for the Wildcats to win. Isaiah Zuber took the bait and tried to return the pop up kick off instead of signaling for the fair catch. I wonder if the new rule came into his mind at all. It was a stupid mistake by a veteran player and Baylor was able to cash in with a touchdown soon after (I’ll talk about the over turned fumble call in a second).
The kicking game was bad, which wasn’t totally unexpected with Blake Lynch out with the dreaded “unspecified injury”. Nick McLellan must be able to hit them in practice, but his 38 yard attempt looked like my normal tee shot off the first tee, it was slicing right all the way and had no chance. His missed extra point barely made it off the ground. He’s obviously in a tough spot, but man, that wasn’t a good showing.
By my calculation, K-State lost 11 points on special teams in a game decided by a field goal.
I have no idea what was going on with the on-field communication. On 3 separate occasions in the 1st half, Thompson couldn’t get the play and the Wildcats had to burn a timeout. The same thing happened again in the 3rd quarter. You can see him trying to get the play from the sideline, but he either doesn’t understand the play call or the call isn’t being properly signaled in to him. There is no excuse for this to happen 4 times in one game.
I also have no idea what Bill Snyder was doing with his remaining 2 timeouts on the final drive of the 4th quarter. It was obvious that Baylor was running clock and trying to end the game with the field goal. Instead of using his 2 remaining time outs to give his team a chance with some time on the clock, he sat on his timeouts and the offense only had 8 seconds. The Wildcats still had a timeout in their pocket when time expired. I just don’t get it.
I’ve watched too many games this year where the replay official goes beyond the purview of his job and inserts himself into the outcome of the game. Replay is designed to fix clear errors. In no sense of the words was the Zuber call a clear error. Unless the replay official had a totally different angle it certainly appeared that the ground caused the fumble.
It wasn’t hard to pick out the only 5* player on the field on Saturday. Athletically, Jalen Hurd was significantly more talented than anyone on the Wildcat defense or offense. He made calling plays for Baylor easy. If you don’t think raw talent matters, watch the film again, because Hurd looked like a grown man playing against children. Hopefully K-State can find a few transfers like Hurd in the off season (cough...Kelly Bryant...cough, cough).
That was a fitting end to a 2018 K-State football game. It was stupid and frustrating and the Wildcats have no one to blame but themselves. They should be riding a two game winning streak but instead, barring a miraculous and improbable turn around, they will be home for Christmas.
The Wildcats were the better team, but couldn’t overcome poor special teams, stupid turnovers, incomprehensible penalties, missed scoring opportunities and questionable coaching decisions.
It will be interesting to see what this team looks like against Oklahoma State.