There were two big positives that fans took away from Saturday’s game against Baylor, even if the Wildcats came away with a 35-25 loss. The first was that a previously invincible Baylor offense was greatly impeded most of the day. Baylor scored off some big strikes, but for the most part the Bears failed to consistently move the ball. The second was that Daniel Sams demonstrated the potential to held K-State turn its season around. Add those two together, and you have two teams that were dead even in total yardage: Baylor had 446 to K-State’s 445. However, Sams can’t play like that every week.
It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent, but his body can’t keep up what he’s been subjected to the past two weeks. I loved seeing the Wildcats put 327 rushing yards on Baylor, but Sams contributed 199 of those on 30 carries. 30. Yes, he averaged 6.6 yards per carry, had three touchdowns, and changes the dynamic of the offense in a way Jake Waters can’t. There’s more to consider though.
Sams had to come out of the game due to an injured shoulder (actually, it looked like both were hurt on Saturday), and was forced into the locker room for a while during the third quarter. Against Oklahoma State he had 27 carries. No running back is asked to endure that sort of physical pounding, yet a quarterback who must also be subjected to blindside hits in the pocket is. That’s brutal.
It’s not that the coaching staff called for 30 rushes by Sams – he’s reading defenses and keeping the ball based on what he sees. However, quarterbacks coach Del Miller will be instructing Sams over the bye week that he can’t keep choosing to carry the load throughout the rest of the season. John Hubert had his second best game of the year, taking 15 opportunities 90 yards – good for six yards per carry. And despite being one of the most disappointing players of the season, Jake Waters will have to continue coming in from time to time to spell Sams. I’m not saying he’s not a tough kid, but he’s not Collin Klein. Sams is 6’2″ and just 207 pounds. He’s not built to take the beating he’s been subjected to recently. So look for Sams to take the primary quarterback responsibilities the second half of the season, but don’t bemoan the occasional appearance by Waters – the periodic relief of Sams is in everyone’s best interest if he’s to remain healthy the rest of the year.