Kansas State (15/15, 2-0) beat Troy (1-1) 42-13 at The Bill yesterday, ending a 12-game winning streak for the Trojans in the process. That result didn’t produce much poll movement for the Wildcats, who remain at 15 in today’s AP Poll.
Yesterday’s win was another blowout, but unlike last week’s trucking of SEMO, we may have learned a little more about the team this time.
Borrowing from Jon Morse’s official BotC recap format, here are five thoughts I had about the game.
(1) Quarterback Will Howard can play, even when things aren’t quite as smooth as we fans might like. The long ball was really not there yesterday, he had a couple of poorly thought out throws into coverage (one of which resulted in the inevitable interception) and the long ball did him no favors, although that may have been the result of receivers, and particularly RJ Garcia, not getting separation. There might also be some issues at right tackle, with the absence of Christian Duffie, and Kansas State’s inability to clone Cooper Beebe to play every spot on the line on every down.
(2) Nevertheless, Howard had himself another excellent day, going 21/32 for 250 yards and three touchdowns through the air for 33 yards. He also added two more scores on the ground, and gave the world at another look at the beer shotgun celebration he and offensive lineman Hayden Gillum debuted last week.
Also, as celebrations go, it was rivaled only by Khalid Duke reeling it in after a big sack.
This is a fun thing, and I hope they keep doing it, but more than that, it points to just how much swagger this team has, and that can only mean good things for team chemistry and confidence.
(3) Let’s talk about the defense though. Take away two spectacular catches by Troy’s Chris Lewis yesterday (including the Trojans’ lone touchdown), and this may have been another shutout for the Wildcats, who notched five sacks and nine tackles for loss on the day. The Trojans only had 286 yards of total offense, including just 83 yards for star running back Kimani Vidal, more than half of that coming on a single 46-yard attempt late in the game. The team currently leads the nation in rushing defense, and is the top Big 12 team in yards and points per game.
(4) For the first time in a long time, the special teams don’t feel that special. Nothing is broken, but everything feels just adequate. I feel like Kansas State’s past performance in this area has been key to the program’s success and I personally enjoy watching a great kickoff return or a well-executed punt as much as any other play.
(5) As of today, there are only three Big 12 teams in AP Top 25, and Kansas State is one of them. The others are Oklahoma and Texas and I’m pretty sure they don’t count any more. That means our Wildcats are currently the highest ranked team in the actual Big 12, and that is exactly as it should be.
It was an interesting weekend of college football overall. Some results were predictable, others were heartbreaking, and the Texas Is Back memes should be out in full force. But as always, there is an ugly side to this sport, and that was also on display this weekend.
Specifically, USA Today broke a story on Saturday that Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker had been credibly accused of sexual harassment by a rape survivor. He is now the subject of a Title IX proceeding, and pending its own internal investigation, the school announced Tucker’s suspension without pay. This follows closely on the heels of Northwestern firing Pat Fitzgerald following the school’s investigations into serious complaints of hazing in the football program, and the future looks uncertain for both schools.
This isn’t just a Big Ten problem either. It’s genuinely hard to wholeheartedly enjoy the sport when its dark underbelly is routinely exposed.
After a hot start to the season, Kansas State’s soccer team appears to have hit a dry patch. Following a 1-0 loss to 16th-ranked Memphis at Buser Family Park on Thursday, the Wildcats are now staring at a 2-3-2 record. In their eight seasons of play so far, the team has never beaten a ranked opponent, and this effort against Memphis only featured attempted goal.
Unfortunately, the team’s run of bad luck continued last night, as they lost 2-1 to Oral Roberts. Although the Cats scored early in the match, two second half goals from the opponent sealed the game.
In the final contest of the current home stand, Kansas State takes on Cincinnati on Thursday night. Match time is 7 PM.
The VolleyCats were similarly unlucky this weekend. At the Lippy Invitational in Nashville, Kansas State fought back from a two-set deficit, but ultimately fell to Lipscomb 17-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-17 in five. Aliyah Carter led all Wildcats with 17 of the team’s 57 total kills, while teammate Sydney Bolding had a match-high eight blocks. Both players made the weekend’s all-tournament team.
Next up, Kansas State is back in Morgan Family Arena to host the K-State Invitational September 16-18. Other participants include LIU and Rice, and the first match is scheduled for 4 PM next Thursday.