The wind blowing through the Midwest right now is at least partly the collective sigh of relief from the Kansas State faithful. The Wildcats escaped Lubbock with a 25-24 win over Texas Tech, an outcome that seemed impossible after Kansas State found itself in a 14-0 hole just five minutes into the first quarter. Thanks to solid second half play on both sides of the ball, and a stellar punting and kicking display from Ty Zentner, the Wildcats snapped an eight-game conference losing streak.
It’s definitely better to be on the winning side of the scoreline, especially on one of the weirder college football Saturdays of recent memory. On the one hand, Kansas—yes, that Kansas—went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma and might have pulled off the upset but for the inevitable encounter with “Sooner magic.” On the other hand, Iowa State managed to knock off an undefeated Oklahoma State squad on a controversial fourth-down stop. It was also a weekend where Wake Forest scored 70 points despite only holding the ball for 17 minutes, and on the other end of the spectrum, Illinois knocked off a ranked Penn State team, but needed nine (9!) overtimes to do it, and the two teams scored 38 points combined.
On a day like that, a one-point win over a team Kansas State has beaten over and over for the better part of a decade was a good result. Whether the result means anything beyond that one game, I don’t know. Some random observations from the game and the week that led up to it:
— I’m not a fan of Chris Klieman’s call out to the Kansas State media to be more positive. I have no doubt that his old team, North Dakota State, got the same sort of treatment in Fargo that Ohio State gets in Columbus: almost always glowing, only rarely critical. This has never been true for Kansas State, where even the area press has been negative from time to time, not to mention the national media. Bill Snyder learned to roll with this, even turning the negative coverage into motivation for his team. Klieman is certainly a different animal, but it’s not the media’s job to boost team morale; that’s his job.
— Kansas State has lost at least two games this year because the team is often sloppy. This team—indeed, this program—has little margin for error. In order to compete with the rest of the conference, the Wildcats have to out-execute, but they also have to play near-perfect football. The team cannot afford muffed kickoffs, fumbles, almost an entire football field in penalty yardage. If this team can play within itself and play clean, there are good things ahead. If not, yeah, we might even lose to Kansas. Yes, that Kansas.
At the Jayhawk Jamboree, the Kansas State rowers took home gold in one race, and also tallied three top-five finishes. In the Novice 4+ race, the Wildcats in Boat A (coxswain Paige Fox, freshmen Neva Roenne, Emily Stark, Anna Ryan and Kendra Hamman) beat Iowa’s boat by nearly 20 seconds to finish in first place.
This is the last event for the team this fall, and they will be back in action in the spring.
Kansas State soccer finally had their win streak against ranked teams snapped at three, dropping a 3-2 decision to #11 TCU. The Wildcats moved ahead of the Horned Frogs in the 58th minute with a goal from Brookelynn Entz to add to Marissa Weichel’s score in the 49th minute. But TCU mounted a stiff comeback and found the goal twice in quick succession (66’, 68’) to put the match away.
The Wildcats have now scored twenty goals on the season, a new program record. Up next, the team plays its final home game of the season on Thursday night, hosting Iowa State.
The tennis team is having itself a tournament at the ITA Central Regionals. Senior Karine-Marion Job has made the singles semifinals in the main draw, beating #38 Indianna Spink of Arkansas. She’ll take on Maria Titova of Kansas tomorrow. Ioanna Gheorghita lost a tough three-set match to SEMO’s Myroslava Zelenchuk in the consolation bracket finals.
The VolleyCats beat TCU 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-21) in Fort Worth on Friday night, splitting the season series with the Horned Frogs. Kansas State’s victory was keyed by a banner night from Aliyah Carter, who had 23 kills and three service aces to go with seven digs. This was Carter’s fourth game this season with 20 or more kills, the 10th of her career.
Up next, Kansas State plays Texas Tech on Wednesday and Thursday at Bramlage Coliseum.