"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
We all know how this began, and we're not sure how it ends. But how did we get here, to 0-6 in the Big 12?
Injuries have been absolutely unprecedented this year, especially at the quarterback position. We began the season with one of the deepest quarterback rosters we've ever had here, but Joe Hubener is now literally the last man standing.
Make no mistake. Hubener is absolutely 100% EMAW. He works hard both on-field and off. He runs hard, throwing caution to the wind and sacrificing his body to gain a few yards. He can manage the game reasonably well. But there are limits to what Hubener can do as a passer. He has the distance, but he has no touch, and there are routine passes he simply cannot complete with any consistency. But all that is irrelevant. He's all we've got at this point, so we have to ride the rest of this season out with him. Now that we know what Hubener can't do, we would do well to focus heavily on he run game and limit the passing game, right? Well...
"My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that."
Kansas State lost to Texas Tech 59-44 in a game that asked more questions than it answered, as noted in Jon Morse's Five Questions recap of the game.
The Wildcats actually outscored the Red Raiders 37-31 through three quarters. The problem was that Tech plastered Kansas State 28-7 in the first quarter and could never really dig themselves out of that huge hole.
One remedy to the slow start could have been the running game. Indeed, when the Wildcats did go to the run, they saw the only sustained offensive production in the game. Charles Jones had 99 yards on 18 carries. But we should have run a lot more, given that Texas Tech came into the game with one of the worst run defenses in the country. But a stubborn insistence on "balance" and a three-touchdown deficit ensured Kansas State would stick to the passing game whether it worked or not (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle). In fact, Kansas State had more pass attempts than rush attempts, and even came out throwing the ball down only 14-7 in the first quarter. That did allow Kyle Klein to have a career day, catching six passes for 131 yards and his first-ever touchdown (Ken Corbitt, Topeka Capital-Journal). That may well be one of the rare positive footnotes to this season.
But it's all irrelevant at this point. To paraphrase Mack Brown, it is what it is, and that's not fair at all.
The real problem though was the defense. Woof. Tech running back DeAndre Washington had 248 yards and a lot of that was due to lack of penetration from Kansas State and a criminal failure to tackle well after the first contact. It's hard to say what ails the defense but giving up over 7 yards/play isn't going to cut it even against the dregs of the conference schedule.
"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!"
Things have gone horribly awry for Kansas State this season. The Wildcats have now lost six games in a row and going winless in the Big 12 is a very real possibility. But the players are still determined to turn things around and reach for that elusive brass ring of bowl eligibility.
We're 0-6 in the Big 12. I don't know how long it's been since we've done that. We are at rock bottom right now, but I see a determined football team. Even after this loss the guys are still hungry, and still look like they're ready to get to a bowl game.
That's Cody Whitehair saying it better than I could.
"Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense."
That brings us to the awkward and painful part of our Sunday morning/afternoon introspection: what should Bill Snyder do, or rather, what should Bill Snyder do? Is this just a bump in the road for a Hall of Fame coach, or is it a sign that retirement is not far away? Is it better for Snyder to stick around for a few years and "calm the waters" or should he step down now so Kansas State can potentially attract one of the better young coaching prospects? I have no answers, but as a fan, I think it's worthy of discussion. The team seems to be trending downwards and fan support is starting to dwindle (Bob Lutz, Wichita Eagle, via Garden City Telegram). We should consider Snyder's age and/or longevity and the impact this has on recruiting. Moreover, we should consider if the way we recruit--for which we've received too much backhanded applause, in my opinion--really works in modern football, and whether Snyder is helping or hurting in this context.
"Nobody asked your opinion," said Alice."
My apologies if all this comes off as disjointed rambling. It's the expected consequence of rooting for two teams with seasons that have gone well south of expectations. Yes, I still hate Iowa.
The equestrian team provided this weekend's bright spot for Kansas State fans. The riders upset No. 6 TCU 10-9 at Timbercreek Stables to improve to 2-2 on the season. Kansas State has now won 19 home meets over two seasons. The Wildcats also won two of the four Most Outstanding Performer awards for the meet. Junior Christina Martinelli won her first MOP award for Equitation on the Flat, and she was joined by sophomore Brynn Critcher who took home the MOP for Reining in the final event of the day, with the score till tied.