Tramaine Thompson had a heart-skipping punt return to open up the fourth quarter. It looked like he’d be pinned back ten yards from where he caught the ball, bounced off a hit, reversed field, and turned in a solid nine yard run. He covered about 35 gross yards on the return. Speaking of returns, The Jug didn’t give credit where credit’s due during the third quarter. Tyler Lockett had an excellent kickoff return for 33 yards and was stopped by the kicker. Not giving credit to Lockett, giving credit to the place kicker – not a lot of them are capable of taking down Tyler Lockett, even if Lockett was funneled directly into him.
It’s ok to chide Lockett a little bit about getting tackled by a kicker – on K-State’s first drive of the 4th quarter, Lockett ran a beautiful post route across the field on first down, Collin Klein hit him without a defender in a five yard vicinity, and Lockett hauled in a 55-yard touchdown pass.
On the subsequent Texas drive, Meshak Williams hit Case McCoy and didn’t get off the field for quite a while. There was no obvious injury on the replay although it appeared to be a shoulder injury. We’ll keep you posted as information is forthcoming. On the next play K-State allows a first down pass and is assessed with a hit to the helmet by Ryan Mueller. Mueller screwed up again by getting a personal foul call two plays later. A play was called dead due to a Texas false start, and Mueller gave McCoy a light hit while slowing down. There was an acting job by the quarterback, but he still went to the ground and what should have been a play in favor of K-State ended up giving Texas additional yardage.
The drive should have been stopped on the play MeShak Williams came back in for. Texas bobbled a pitch and Nigel Malone immediately jumped on it. It appeared a Texas player hit Malone and ripped the ball away after Malone had already secured possession and was lying on the ground, but possession was awarded to the Longhorns. However, K-State came up big on the next two plays by holding the Longhorns to a five yard pass on 2nd and 21 with a great open field tackle and pass batted down by Ryan Mueller on third down. After Mueller redeemed himself with the play, kicker Nick Jordan missed a 40 yard field, returning possession to K-State. It wasn’t time to write ‘gameover’ at that point, but it looked
Collin Klein actually had a bad option toss on the next possession. Klein pump-faked and looked confused, ran forward, then threw the ball forward as he was going down, being assessed with an illegal forward pass. The drive would have ended with K-State punting on 4th and 14 due to some uninspired play calling that didn’t give any threat of pass, but Texas muffed the punt and K-State recovered at the Texas 39 after a mad scramble that pushed the ball an additional ten yards downfield. It was vintage Klein from there. On third down he took a draw 18 yards to get the team to the five yard line and had another two yard run before Hubert was hit at the goal line. On third and goal at the one, Klein executed a quick toss to Hubert before looking the other way to distract the defense/block 35-17, Kansas State. The crowd is chanting “we own Texas.”
Case McCoy attempted to engineer some late game heroics and completed one long pass, but Allen Chapman was sitting in zone coverage and made a break on his next pass for McCoy’s second interception. McCoy saved the touchdown by hitting Chapman out of bounds, but Klein scored on a nine yard run two plays later to go up 42-17 and punctuate one of the greatest careers Manhattan has ever seen. The crowd is now chanting “Klein for Heisman” as the team has scored three straight touchdowns in the final quarter, extending their lead from four to 25.
K-State seemed to be celebrating a little early, and the kickoff coverage unit was celebrating while lining up for the kick. They were caught off guard as D.J. Monroe provided a 72 yard return to put Texas in scoring range. Malcolm Brown caught a touchdown pass to close the gap to 42-24, but the margin is still impressive.
So, K-State wins the Big 12 championship. An invitation to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl follows tomorrow night, likely against Oregon. Interesting scenarios to discuss later, but for now it’s time to just savor the moment. EMAW.