Notes at the half:
MORE TRICKERY! Fake punts, onside kicks, and flea flickers. Underdogs use these and other plays to beat heavy favorites. They employ these plays early to deflate their opponent’s confidence while inspiring some of their own. KU is obviously more aware of this than K-State, as they pulled off both a fake punt and fake field goal on their second drive on the way to a 14-7 lead. It’s not okay to be burned once, and completely inexcusable being burned twice. You need to expect these plays, but the players don’t look ready. In fact, they haven’t look ready to defend much of anything. The coaching staff needs to have the defense ready to play, and they obviously don’t. Maybe these boys still need some Gatorade.
K-State scored their second touchdown on a beautiful hookup between Klein and Tyler Lockett. This offense may become more aggressive in its play calling to score some points and negate an awful start to the game. Of course, quick strikes give the ball back to the other team, and I’m not so sure I want KU to have the ball with the way this defense is playing. Game producers showed it on replay with this 34-yard lob, but Klein’s overall pass protection has been stellar so far. The line is also opening running seams, and made the offense look pretty unstoppable after the first possession. The problem, once again, is that KU’s offense isn’t being stopped either.
KU field goal kicker Doherty missed an easy chip shot that would have made the game 21-17. Maybe KU is better off running fakes than actually kicking the ball.
One thing every unit is doing right is continuing their demonstration of clean play. They’ve managed one penalty in the first half (a false start with a minute to go in the half) and haven’t turned the ball over. At least these hallmarks of smart play remain evident – although Klein did fumble at the one yard line after a long run. The fumble was recovered by Harper, and he earned the recovery, fighting to get in position and jump on the ball.
I don’t know in what the capacity will be, but Klein will be drafted and play in the NFL. I could even see him in Kansas City. With TE Kevin Boss out with another concussion following a string of head injuries, he would be an excellent playmaker for the Chiefs. He’s got the height (6’6″) and grit to make it work.
KU’s receivers have dropped a couple decent passes without getting hit. If they make these routine plays, this game would be even more infuriating. The Wildcats have created decent pressure, but Crist has looked damn good today. He was intercepted off a tipped ball from a bad pass, but has been solid overall on the day. It was good to see Malone get something good fall his way with this interception.
That takeaway gave K-State the ball with 16 seconds left at the 5-yard line. The offense had to call their final timeout before running their first play. K-State then runs a bootleg to the left, Klein is tackled at the one, and the clock runs out. Unacceptable. I’m very rarely critical of this coaching staff, but they have not done their job today.
Important stats at the half:
K-State leads 21-14
KU has outgained K-State 263 yard to 214. And the Jayhawks get the ball back at the beginning of the second half.
Klein is only 4 of 11 passing so far today. Crist is 14 of 22.
K-State is averaging 13.2 yards per rush. You read that right – 13.2. Keep the damn ball on the ground.