Before Saturday’s game against the Minutemen of Massachussetts, Jug of Snyder posted the top five things to watch during the game. Unfortunately the match up wasn’t broadcast, so a ticket to the game or subscription on K-StateHD was required to watch – but even if you couldn’t catch it, feel free to pretend you did anyway as we recap the contest.
- Daniel Sams Average Yards Per Carry: Sams saw his first action on third-and-three and carried for a first down before being replaced by Jake Waters. He was brought in a couple drives later in similar circumstances, but was allowed to stay in the game to lead a touchdown drive. Both series were in the first half. With Waters being generally ineffective, Sams replaced Waters in the third quarter and finished the game with 77 yards on 11 carries. So the thing to watch was seven yards per carry average. His longest run was for 37 yards and he also turned in a touchdown. At the end of the day, his runs were for 3, 15, 37, -2, 4, 1 (touchdown), 1, 7, 3, 2, and 6. So aside from the big 37-yard pick up there weren’t many explosive plays, but with the defense keying in on Sams he was often running against eight defenders in the box. More holes should open up once he starts passing.
- Defensive Rotations: Unfortunately, a couple of injuries allowed us to see more rotation than I’d prefer. Defensive tackle Chaquil Reed went down with a minor injury (he returned later in the game), and finished with 1.5 tackles. Alauna Finau filled in for Reed and provided two tackles as well while helping hold down the middle of the line. K-State experimented with some back up linebackers as Mike Moore and Will Davis saw time in the second half. Dorrian Roberts was kept in much of the game, although his performance merited a rotation to the sidelines. The coaching staff seems set on the secondary. I’m not.
- Shutout?: While crazy things can happen in garbage time, I was looking for K-State to blank UMass for the first three quarters. Instead, the Minutemen owned a 7-6 lead after the first quarter. However, the Wildcats managed a shut out the rest of the way after allowing a five play, 46-yard drive. UMass still racked up 309 yards and the defense had a hard time knocking quarterback A.J. Doyle off his game, but seven points is still seven points. No shut out, but still well done.
- Offensive Line Play: Boston Stiverson missed his second game with an injury, with Keenan Taylor again starting in his play. I would rate the line’s performance as ok. Waters had adequate protection, but the team failed to consistently open up big holes and John Hubert had to fight for the yards he gained. It was ok.
- Enthusiasm: Similar to the offensive line play, I’m giving this an ok, and nothing more. Part of the equation is the offensive line playing with a nasty streak – once they start doing this, play will also improve. Texas will be demoralized after a second straight let down, but also angry. This should be one of the most anticipated games for the players. After Tre Walker stated that Texas “rolled over” in the second half last year, there’s some bad blood boiling under the service. Texas will be ready – K-State better be too.