Kansas State was flattened by Mississippi State 31-10 yesterday in Manhattan, and honestly, it could have been much, much worse. The Bulldogs had 384 yards on the ground, 211 of those yards from elite running back Kylin Hill. For comparison, the Wildcats had just 213 yards of total offense.
The Kansas State offense operated in fits and starts, and even when it moved the sticks, it was inefficient and ineffective (Justin Toscano, Manhattan Mercury). Alex Barnes might have just spoken for all of us:
That’s embarrassing, man, that’s pitiful. We came in wanting to be one of the more efficient offenses, and we’re nowhere near that.
Wyatt Hubert said the team did not play with discipline, and Bill Snyder was clearly disappointed with the whole effort. In other words, everyone gets an F for this game (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle).
This was Mississippi State’s first road win over a Power 5 team since 1995, and it was well earned (Keith Farner, Saturday Down South).
As Jon Morse notes in the BotC post-game recap, it’s possible Kansas State is just not very good at football this season. It’s also possible that some of the problems that were evident against Mississippi State will be less of a problem against Big 12 teams.
Here are the official game recaps from the usual suspects:
- Kansas State falls flat (Robinett, Eagle)
- #18 Mississippi State too big a task for K-State (Tim Bisel, Topeka Capital-Journal; subscription)
- K-State can’t stop Mississippi State ground game (Ryan Black, Mercury)
- K-State O-line can’t contain MSU defensive front (Greg Woods, Mercury)
- Hill leads Mississippi State in win over K-State (Tyler Horka, Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
- Mississippi State downs Kansas State (Collin Wilmes, For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
We can take some solace in the fact that Mississippi State was clearly the better team, and Kansas State was supposed to lose this game. Unfortunately, we’ve lost several marquee games to non-conference opponents since the 2012 season: North Dakota State, Auburn, Stanford, and Vanderbilt. In each loss, Kansas State was exposed in one way or the other. The mystique around Kansas State is all but gone now (Dan Wolken, USA Today).
In my view, the thing that has been brought into sharp relief by this loss—and the many losses that preceded it—is not a particular lack of talent (although that is definitely a problem), or a specific lack of preparation (although sometimes I wonder about how Kansas State schemes for a specific team). Rather, what is on display in every game—and becomes especially obvious when the Wildcats take on opponents outside the Big 12—is a stubborn unwillingness to change what isn’t working. I’m not going to belabor this point too much, but case in point: Skylar Thompson can do several things well, but for whatever reason, the coaching and the playcalling isn’t used to maximize his obvious talents.
It’s a truism in college football that a team that has two quarterbacks actually has no quarterbacks, and at Kansas State, we’ve been down this road before. The inability to settle on one player almost certainly cost the Wildcats a couple of games in 2013, and the ominous start to the 2018 season suggests more of the same. Pick one guy, build the offense around his skills and the players around him, take your lumps as you let him grow into the role. If that player is Alex Delton, fine. Run with him. If not, give the keys to Skylar Thompson, and let him take the reins for the rest of the schedule.
In short, find an identity and stick with it.
Kansas State won its sixth consecutive match, this one a straight-sets (25-11, 26-24, 25-22) romp over Nebraska-Omaha in the finals of the K-State Invitational. This is the VolleyCats’ longest winning streak since 2016 when they ran off 10 matches in a row.
Sarah Dixon and Peyton Williams both made the all-tournament team. Dixon had her second double-double of the year in this match, with 29 assists and 10 digs. She also had six blocks to earn her first all-tournament award. Williams led the team with a .485 hit percentage to go with nine kills on 20 swings.
Next up, Kansas State heads to Kansas City to take on UMKC on Tuesday. First serve is scheduled for 6 PM at the Swinney Recreation Center.