Saturday’s win over Oklahoma and the attendant celebration should be behind K-State now, as laser focus turns to the Sunflower Showdown. But some lingering tidbits remain.
In 2003, when K-State upset the Sooners at Arrowhead Stadium, the most common parking lot retort of OU fans was “At least we didn’t lose to Marshall,” which had a special kind of grousing resignation about it. This week, the sour grape that has gotten the most media run is something along the lines of, “Enjoy your token win, K-State. And thanks for ruining the Big 12’s playoff chances.” How ostentatious of K-State to forget its place...again. Chicken wings, horrible space creatures, and now, this abominable breach of its rightful barriers. As “reported” this morning by TB, K-State has (again) been forced to apologize to the rest of the Big 12.
Controversy also continues to swirl—at least in some isolated pockets—about the onside kick and video review at the conclusion of Saturday’s game. Jason Kersey at The Atlantic (subscription) says that Big 12 officials handled the review correctly but muddied public perception by explaining the decision imprecisely. Essentially, conference spokesperson Joni James Lehmann said that touching of the kick and timing of the touch were reviewable, but whether the touch was influenced by K-State blocking the OU player was not. Some Oklahoma fans are dissatisfied with this explanation, of course, and you can probably look for the already voluminous NCAA rulebook to grow by a few more lines as a result. As Big 12 Director of Officials Greg Burks noted:
“[A]s of now my point to [Coach Riley] was we followed the rule exactly as it is right now. All new rules that come about happen because of different plays that occur in our game and that is something that will be reviewed in the offseason. But we handled this correctly in this scenario.”
So, there you have it. The league favorites lost because of a blind spot in the replay rules. Officials enforced existing rules correctly, but (even though Burks stated the belief that contact with the ball was not the result of the creepily named “forced touching”) the outcome may have been wrong.
However it happened, if you’re the sort who likes to rub unexpected and perhaps tainted victories in the face of the vanquished, you can order a T-Shirt commemorating the conquest.
During Saturday’s broadcast, ABC broadcaster Bob Wischusen hyperbolically referred to Bill Snyder Highway as the only paved road into Manhattan. Hey, if you talk enough and try too hard to be clever, you’re guaranteed to say something stupid, right? Some K-State fans were not about to let this outrage go unchallenged, though, and the Star’s Pete Grathoff republished some of the notable social media responses.
Ignoring the minutia and focusing on the game in total, the Football Writers Association of America honored K-State as its national team of the week. For his individual efforts, Skylar Thompson was honored by both the Manning Award and the Davey O’Brien’s “Great 8” List.
Looking the to future, the athletic department posted its preview of the Sunflower Showdown, which will start at 2:30 Saturday in Lawrence and will be broadcast on FS1. Despite the program-defining moment last week that no doubt led to all kinds of adulation on campus, Coach Klieman wants the Cats to stay humble focus on the task ahead (Robinett, Eagle).
The future, unfortunately, will not include the play of Eric Gallon II, who Klieman confirmed to be lost for the season after his gruesome knee injury on kickoff coverage.
Finally, the November 9 game at Texas will be either at 11:00 on FS1 or at 2:30 on either ESPN or ABC. Holding a 10-9 advantage in the all-time series, K-State will need to end a two-game losing streak in Austin if it wants to remain above .500 against the Longhorns.
Coach Mittie and the women’s team open exhibition play tonight at 6:30 against Washburn. You can put that ESPN+ subscription to good use and watch as Brian Smoller and Missy Heidrick call the action. Among other intrigues, the game will be fans’ first chance to see Houston graduate transfer Angela Harris in action. Also joining the Wildcats is 6’5 freshman Ayoka Lee, who Harris believes will be a 20-point, 10-rebound performer by the end of her career.
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