Observations from the five things we were watching coming into K-State’s season finale against KU.
1. Daniel Sams Playing Time: Daniel Who? Jake Waters might as well be the only quarterback for the Wildcats the past two weeks. Sams saw a couple snaps on the day, had -7 yards on two rushes, and didn’t attempt a pass. Throughout September and October, I thought Sams gave the team the best chance of victory. Either this is an elaborate ruse and Bill Snyder plans on surprising K-State’s bowl game opponent by riding Sams the entire game, or he’s completely fallen out of favor.
2. Linebacker Play: This was a total team effort, and the defense was dominant. Four interceptions, two fumbles recoveries. It was the secondary and defensive line putting up stats in the game, as Jon Truman led all linebackers with just three tackles while none of the LBs were in on the four sacks and multiple tackles for loss. However, the players upheld their assignments and didn’t prove to be a liability in the game.
3. Tyler Lockett’s Encore: Three catches, 43 yards, 14.3 yard average. Explosive when he got the ball, but that didn’t happen all too often. Lockett was a victim of Waters struggling throughout the day (just 10/21 passing) as well as an emphasis on running the ball and the clock. He was still the most dynamic pass catcher on the field, either team. Lockett was held without a kickoff return as two of KU’s three kickoffs were touchbacks.
4. John Hubert’s Effectiveness: What a day to make this the thing to watch. After struggling for much of the season, Hubert had a career day with 220 yards on 30 carries – his greatest utilization of the year by far. Hubert averaged 7.3 yards per carry – outshining a largely overwhelmed James Sims – and punched in a touchdown for the team. After netting just 17 yards against Oklahoma last week, it was great seeing him bounce back and gain a career high in his final Big 12 game.
5. Can K-State Break The 50-Point Barrier: K-State is still capable of breaking the 50-poing barrier against KU, but it wasn’t in the cards Saturday. With the defense recording six takeaways and holding KU to just 223 yards, the final score was never in question in the 31-10 victory that saw the Wildcats jump out to a 21-0 lead. K-State ground out a victory a week after failing to do anything in the rushing game just to prove it can run the ball if it wants to. Good enough for me.