There’s no way around it, that was horrible. Every K-State fan went from rationalizing a huge blowout loss, to getting all excited about coming back and taking the lead, to feeling good at the half, to complete disbelieve as the second half unfolded. Oklahoma went on a tear of scores while Kansas State basically sat and watched. While the media is going to play this as K-State being exposed, I think rational fans understand that this should not have been unexpected. That doesn’t make what took place Saturday any easier to swallow but let’s not go jumping off buildings quite yet. (More on that this week.) For now, continue reading and get the good, bad, and ugly of the game.
1st Half Fight… Oklahoma came out swinging and landed two quick blows straight to the jaw of Kansas State and took the lead 14-0. It would have been easy to lie down and take an early T.K.O. but instead the Wildcats fought back. Continuing the storyline of the entire season, it wasn’t pretty but it got the job done. The O-line started opening up some big holes, Klein put up some big yards rushing, and the game stayed squarely within reach.
Nigel Malone… For all the bad team and individual performances witnessed, Nigel Malone played a good game. He had two big interceptions and defended passes well. This season he has proven his knack for reading the quick passes and continues to step up into the passing lanes game after game. If nothing else, take some joy in knowing that the player with the second most interceptions in the nation will be here next Saturday and in 2012.
Decisions… Colin Klein wasn’t up to the challenge in this one. The most impressive aspect of his game all season long has been how sound the decisions have been. Klein has made the correct read on about 90% of the run plays and has recognized coverages well enough to be a serviceable thrower but against OU that was all gone. Klein missed his reads in the first quarter way too many times and by the middle of the third quarter it didn’t really matter. He also missed some opportunities in the passing game but that seems to be the norm rather than something OU forced specifically. I’m going to watch the game again to see if OU threw in some twist that made reads much more difficult but I don’t think that’s the case. Klein, for the first time all season, just seemed a little rushed and rattled.
Blocking… Maybe a big part of the bad reads can be placed on the offensive line. OU controlled the line of scrimmage on defense, which limited K-State’s ability to get the ground game going. Klein had plenty of defenders in the backfield each time he needed to make a read and the hogs have to be faulted for that. Pass protection was non-existent. The o-line gave up 7 sacks and I don’t think there was one pass attempt that Klein wasn’t basically running for his life. For the first time this season, the offensive line go tit handed to them and the results speak for themselves.
Stubbornness… Kansas State has one game plan on both sides of the ball and everyone knows it. Offensively, it’s all about the run. Defensively, it’s all about a soft zone. It’s worked up to this point against bad and middle of the road competition. No one expected the Wildcats to come out with anything different but if it didn’t work against OU there had to be a plan B. When it didn’t work against OU, nothing changed. Offensively, there may not be anything else available. Defensively however, somebody in charge needed to step up and do something. To watch OU continue to pick apart a defense that wasn’t able to stick in coverage and wasn’t getting even slight pressure on the QB was infuriating. So much so I turned the game off and watched the rest of the pummeling later. When it’s going that bad, change it. There was absolutely nothing to lose by the time OU was up by even 3 scores but Bill Snyder and the rest of the staff kept sending in the same junk over and over again. I’m waiting for some explanation of why to come out but it seemed like simply stupidity.
Special Teams… Every week something goes wrong with this unit which finally earns it a spot in the “ugly” category. The 54 yard field goal earlier in the game was great but it makes everyone wonder that much more what in the world happened then on the 25 yard attempt. Cantele is so inconsistent in his field goals that it will probably cost K-State a game sometime over the last 4. There’s absolutely no way that Cantele making that field goal makes this a win for K-State but taking points off the board from that close after a decent drive as well as not giving the morale boost of tying the game has its effect. This has to be fixed but unfortunately it’s looking like that may not be possible without a new recruit.
690:240… That’s the ratio of OU’s offensive output to K-State’s. For every 1 yard the Wildcats gained, Oklahoma gained 2.875. That’s better than it would have been but OU mercifully played their second, third, and fourth string from about halfway into the third quarter. It doesn’t get much uglier than that.
What’s next? Let us never speak of this day again! K-State won’t gain anything by dwelling on that performance and neither will anyone who roots for them. Remember, if someone had told you the Wildcat’s had been 7-1 to start the season in August you would have laughed at them just like me. This team still has an opportunity to make this season incredibly special and finishing with only 2 or 3 losses is absolutely within reach. EMAW!