Kansas State beat UCF 44-31 in front of a sellout crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium last night. It was a spot of redemption for the Wildcats after last week’s disappointment, and a bit of a rude welcome to the Big 12 for the Knights, who played well but couldn’t string together enough consistency in the second half to pull the upset.
As Jon Morse notes in his recap, this game was mostly DJ Giddens doing his thing, whether running the ball or catching it. He had 293 yards of offense (207 yards rushing, 86 yards receiving) along with four touchdowns, a stellar single-game performance outdone at K-State only by some guy named Darren Sproles.
Giddens’ video game-like numbers masked some other interesting facts from last night’s effort. First, the offensive line play improved considerably, not only in run support but in helping keep a less-than-100% Will Howard upright. He was not hurried for much of the night, and only took one sack. Christian Duffie’s return to the lineup has helped immensely, in other words. Second, Howard showed proper leadership skills in this game, playing within himself but also directing the offense like the field general he needed to be. Both things augur well for the rest of the season.
The special teams though? Woof. While the punting was mostly ok in this game, the kicking was so up-and-down that I found myself wondering if I was really watching Kansas State football. Something has to be done, and maybe the place to start is having an actual special teams coach?
Next week’s bye could not come at a better time for this team.
The men’s and women’s golf teams are in action this time of year.
At the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman, the women’s team is currently tied for 7th place at +2 overall. Alenka Navarro is low Wildcat at -2 overall, and has wrapped up play for the day.
The men’s team won last week’s Wildcat Invitational and will take that momentum into the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate hosted by the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Play begins tomorrow and the tournament runs through Tuesday.
At the Charlotte Invitational, the Kansas State tennis team started well enough on Friday, with new Wildcats Veronika Kulhava and Jillian Harkin winning their singles matches at the 5 and 8 spots, while teammates Charlotte Keitel and Aleen Quamar won at 4-doubles.
On Saturday, before weather suspended play, Kulhava won her second singles match of the event, but lost in doubles teamed up with Harkin. The lone doubles win yesterday was courtesy of Manami Ukita and Vanesa Suarez.
Playing this morning, Harkin and Keitel won in doubles, with Keitel also winning in singles, along with Ukita, Suarez, and Maria Santos also winning in singles.
The Wildcats fall schedule will continue at the ITA All-American tournament in North Carolina.
The VolleyCats won the program’s 900th match with a five-set (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 15-13) win over TCU and made up for dropping the season’s Big 12 opener against the Frogs the night before. Aniya Clinton (17) and Aliyah Carter (18) combined for 35 kills, and Izzi Szulczewski and Loren Hinkle both posted double-doubles in the match. This was first-year head coach Jason Mansfield’s first conference victory.
Up next, Kansas State will travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia for the first road Big 12 matches this year. First serve is scheduled for 5 PM on Wednesday (Sept. 27th).