The game against South Dakota was not a pleasant experience for the Kansas State Wildcats — fans, players, and coaches alike.
The Cats came out flat, played flat, and nearly got flattened for the better part of three quarters of football. It took an electric punt return for a touchdown by Isaiah Zuber in the 4th quarter to spark the Wildcats to victory, though it still went down to the final second and a missed field goal opportunity by USD to tie the game. The Wildcats prevailed, but there was little positive about the 27-24 result.
About the only real positive is that the coaches and players had plenty of fuel to keep their fire hot during the week. There could be no resting on laurels this week, no chance to relax or feel confident. There could only be intense focus and preparation, determination to prevent the mistakes — 13 penalties and four turnovers among them — that plagued the team last weekend.
At least, that’s what we all hope happened this week.
For their part, the Mississippi St. Bulldogs cruised over an ill-prepared and over-matched opponent last weekend, crushing the Lumberjacks from Stephen F. Austin 63-6 in a game that wasn’t even really that close. The Bulldogs rolled up 618 yards of total offense, averaging nearly nine yards per play, and the defense held SFA to just 254 yards on the night. It was a slaughter in Starkville.
So all those things that the Wildcats had going for them this week, the Bulldogs had the exact opposite. Joe Moorhead is a good coach, and knows not to overlook the Wildcats, but sometimes it’s hard to explain that concept to a bunch of young adult males who really just see their own impressive win and the pitiful win by the Wildcats over a similar* FCS foe.
*USD probably would have rung at least 40-50 on SFA too, especially the way the two teams played last weekend.
This Wildcat team is not as bad as it looked last weekend. Kansas State hitting on all cylinders can still be quite the force, and there is enough talent on the depth chart to give anyone fits. But the Wildcats have to play focused, clean football. The kind that Wildcat fans expect from a Bill Snyder coached team. Do that, and K-State should be able to play with, if not even beat the Bulldogs. Play anything like last week and the Cats are doomed to an embarrassing home loss.
Lets hope for the former.
It’s an early game in MHK, kickoff scheduled for 11:00am CDT assuming the weather holds out (it’s supposed to be rainy at kickoff, but should be clear by around halftime). Since you’re up bright and early and not hungover at all, be sure and check out TB’s Kicking the Tires preview of today’s match-up. Plus, AMS has your How to Watch details, with odds and ticket info.
Today’s contest can be seen on the Deathstar proper, with the game coming up first on ESPN immediately following the conclusion of ESPN Gameday. Mark Jones (play-by-play), Dusty Dvoracek (analyst), and Molly McGrath (sidelines) will be on the call for TWWL.
If you can’t connect get to a TV, or you don’t have ESPN, the game can be heard across the 39-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst), and Matt Walters (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also be on Sirius channel 134, XM Channel 199, and available on the TuneIn app. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, and Twitter updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage from K-State Athletics.