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Slow and steady wins the game

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Kansas State's plodding but determined effort was enough...this time.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

On any given Saturday in the fall, college football can be both grand and terrible, sometimes within a single play. From the agony of defeat, to the joy of victory, and every emotion in between, the sport offers fans nearly the full range of human experience. Yesterday was a microcosm of all the things that make college football great.

On any given Saturday, college football lives entirely between the hash marks, and for all our complaints about corruption, media bias, exploitation, and the other ills that plague this sport, we can focus on the actual game.

On this particular Saturday, we experienced the terrible anguish of Notre Dame's Malik Zaire and his season-ending injury, and the sheer magic of BYU and Tanner Mangum in the dying seconds of their game against Boise State. We felt the enormous wave of relief at Auburn, perfectly offset by the unbridled joy of Toledo after the Rockets' monumental upset of Arkansas.

Hope grows in some places and fades in others, and the best part is that we get to do it all over again in a week.

College football, man.

Kansas State went on the road yesterday and came back with a workmanlike 30-3 victory over Texas-San Antonio.The win was neither as easy nor as dominant as that scoreline might suggest. The offense did not execute well for nearly the entire first half and offensive line play was a serious problem for at least part of the game. However, the team came out strong and determined in the second half, and with the defense dominating the line of scrimmage almost throughout the game, the offense began to find some rhythm. Credit to Joe Hubener who began to see the field better and distributed the ball well, despite lacking proper form and touch on some plays. Jack Cantele's redemption arc may have come full circle as he went 3-3 on field goals yesterday and tacked on an extra point as well. Finally, with Winston Dimel, Dalvin Warmack, and Justin Silmon, Kansas State might have a real running game this year.

Here's a selection of post-game coverage from various sources.

Our own Jon Morse weighed in immediately after the game, picking up on some positives and negatives: Kansas State 30, UTSA 3: Five Things We Learned

Max Olson was not too impressed with the Wildcats overall, but credited Hubener and the team with keeping things simple and coming away with a win (ESPN(blog)).

Kellis Robinett, writing for the Wichita Eagle, was equally underwhelmed by the victory, but gave the defense top marks, as the unit gave up exactly zero touchdowns for a second straight week.

Kansas State's win was not particularly inspiring. In fact, thanks to "no flash, nothing brash, and a pinch of dash," this may have been one of the most boring Wildcats outings to date, as Blair Kerkhoff suggested in the Kansas City Star. In fact, it was so dull, even Bill Snyder riffed on it:
Tempo on our side of the ball kind of puts you sleep

In case you didn't already know, Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal provides this reminder that Hubener is a former walk-on who only played sparingly at quarterback before this season, and had never started before. Still, he pulled off the win and in the end, and nerves or not, that's probably all that matters.

Maybe it's mostly curiosity about a former javelin thrower at quarterback, but Hubener got most of the kudos for the victory, even rating a mention in Dr. Saturday's Winners and Losers column.

It was an odd weekend in college football. The SEC looked vulnerable just a few days after the media and coaches totally set aside all their inherent bias and put ten teams from that league in the Top 25 (Mark Schlabach, ESPN).

Bret Bielema's pointed commentary on Ohio State's easy schedule seems like so much sour grapes now that Arkansas has lost at home to Toledo, for example (Des Bieler, Washington Post).

It's a sign that it's too early in the season to begin the debate on conference strength. Every conference can point to a marquee win or two (e.g., Oklahoma's come-from-behind victory over Tennessee, or Michigan State's statement win over Oregon), and every conference can also point to a debilitating loss or near-miss (e.g., Northwestern beating Stanford last week or Iowa State's disappointing loss to Iowa despite playing neck-and-neck for three quarters). At this point, there is no separation, and that's probably best.

As our JT VanGilder notes, context matters, in football as in all other things.

The VolleyCats are on a winning streak as the season hits high gear. Kansas State swept Middle Tennessee in three sets(25-12, 25-22, 25-18) to win their sixth straight match, and the Middle Tennessee Invitational. The team improved to 53-3 in non-conference games since 2011. After dominating the first set, the Wildcats struggled in the second, down 22-16, before roaring back with a 9-0 stretch. Junior Brooke Sassin was once again the spark, with a team-best 12 kills in the match and four in that tight second set. This was her ninth consecutive match with 10 or more kills, and Sassin was voted tournament MVP for her efforts.