Kansas State beat South Dakota 34-0 to kick off its 2022 campaign.
It’s hard to say much about a game where the Wildcats comfortably beat an opponent they were meant to beat. The outcome itself was never in doubt and it was nice to come away with an emphatic win.
But it’s also true that a win like this isn’t an especially useful data point. We didn’t necessarily learn anything new about the team. In his first game for Kansas State, Adrian Martinez was adequate to the task. He didn’t set the world on fire with his passing game, but he ran well, and importantly, he didn’t throw an interception and even his one fumble on a blindside blitz wasn’t a disaster. He also distributed the ball to different players and appeared to see the field pretty well. Brought in late in the game, Jake Rubley took some time to settle in, but was also adequate in the moment. I don’t think the quarterback room will be a huge concern this season even if it’s not a huge highlight either.
The running game looked great even when Deuce Vaughn wasn’t the ball carrier. The offensive line was able to create huge running lanes for Deuce, but also for Martinez and for DJ Giddens, who had a great debut in purple yesterday.
Most importantly, the offensive play calling was fine, if a bit vanilla, and that’s ok. It’s a season opener at Kansas State, after all. We know the drill.
The defense was stellar, and given that the opponent never made it into the endzone, I’m willing to look past the relatively high average yards per carry for South Dakota. The secondary in particular played really well, with Kobe Savage flying around everywhere and living up to his name and Cincere Mason snagging a reception.
We are, of course, #SpecialTeamsU, so naturally, that team added a score on a blocked punt, and Ty Zentner punted well throughout the game. But Chris Tennant had his first missed extra point yesterday and also missed a field goal late in the game, so we’ll see.
The VolleyCats had their first loss of the season, dropping a hard-fought five-set match to their future Big 12 rival UCF Knights 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 28-30, 25-15, 15-11). The loss ends a five-match winning streak and is also the first five-set loss of the season for Kansas State.
Elena Baka led the team with 19 kills, with teammate Aliyah Carter just behind with 18. Libero Mackenzie Morris led all players with 25 digs, her first 20-dig performance for this season.
Next up, the VolleyCats come home to host Missouri at Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night.
At the Bob Timmons Classic in Lawrence, the women’s cross country team took first place, while the men’s team took silver. The women finished with 24 points, ahead of Kansas, while the men’s team finished just behind the Jayhawks. All the Wildcat women finished in the Top 20 (out of 32) while all the men finished in the top 30 (out of 43).
Individually, Hannah Stewart took second place in the women’s 5K while Hadley Splechter finished second in the men’s 6K, both runners notching personal best times in the process.
The teams will next travel to Lincoln on September 17 for the Woody Greno/Jay Dirksen Invitational.