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A tale of two halves

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The Wildcats woke up in the second half, thank goodness.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Football

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Kansas State beat Kansas yesterday 21-17, taking the Governor’s Cup for the 10th consecutive season. This was Bill Snyder’s 23rd win (in 27 tries) over Kansas. If you’re keeping track, that’s the longest streak of any active coach over a single opponent.

It was the best of times. Kansas State finally discovered some semblance of an offense in the second half. Alex Delton showed toughness and grit. He had a 21-yard score that gave the Wildcats the lead with just over two minutes left in the ball game. But Alex Barnes was the star of the day. He had another 100-yard rushing outing, and topped 1000 yards to become the 16th Kansas State player to reach that mark in a season. Kansas State’s defense too showed up to play, and never more so than on Peyton Bender’s last drive of the game.

It was the worst of times. The offensive fireworks in the second half were almost not good enough to beat Kansas. Mull that statement over for a minute, let it really sink in. For much of the game, and by any objective measure, Kansas looked like the better team yesterday. The Jayhawks had more first downs (5), more passing yards (347), and held the ball nearly seven minutes longer than the Wildcats. But Kansas is Kansas, and thanks to poor execution and drive-killing penalties, Kansas ended up losing a game it should have won.

In a tale of two programs bringing up the bottom of the conference, Kansas State may just have been the luckier of the two teams in a sloppy contest that neither team really deserved to win. For Kansas, the loss should make clear that the Beaty era is well and truly over—and deservedly so. For Kansas State, the uncertainty that has marked much of the season will continue, if only because we know no other way.

A bowl game seems all but impossible for Kansas State now, and if current form holds, we may just have witnessed the last win of the season, possibly the last win of the Bill Snyder era.

Tennis

The Kansas State women’s tennis had a decent weekend at the 29th annual Thunderbird Classic in Tempe, Arizona.

On Friday, the Wildcats went 3-1 matches against San Diego, with Maria Ponomareva, Rosanna Maffei, and Ines Mesquita all winning their singles matches in three sets. Maria Linares took the lone loss against USD. Anna Turco added to the singles win column for Kansas State, winning a singles match against Washington/Kansas. Unfortunately, the Wildcats dropped both doubles matches.

Yesterday, Linares turned around her singles fortunes by beating Washington’s Vanessa Wong, currently ranked 24th. Maffei beat also beat Kansas’ Julia Deming, leading to a singles split with the Washington/Kansas squad, with Mesquita and Ponomareva both dropping their singles matches.

In today’s action, the all-Wildcats team takes on Texas Tech in doubles and the combined Arizona State/Pepperdine team in singles.

Volleyball

Kansas State ran into a defensive buzzsaw in Baylor last night, and ended up losing in straight sets (18-25, 17-25, 11-25). The Bears held the VolleyCats to their lowest total kills and hit percentage of the season.

Kansas State managed just 28 kills in the entire match, with senior Kylee Zumach leading the team in the category with seven. In contrast, Baylor’s Shelly Fanning led the Bears with 11 kills and eight block assists.

Up next, the VolleyCats will take on Kansas in the second leg of this season’s Sunflower Showdown. First serve is set for 6:30PM on Wednesday.