Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
You know how K-State wasn’t able to run the football tonight. Well, Collin Klein can still scramble. After starting the night with two carries for no yards in the first quarter, Klein kicked off the second quarter by scrambling 18 yards for first down. He follows this up with an excellent option pitch to Angelo, who goes on to pick up seven yards, and another Hubert run of the gut for four yards and first down. It’s now K-State ball at the West Virginia 20. A screen pass for nothing, and then another option run by Pease for 17 yards. K-State ball at the three. A Klein run up the middle moves the ball to the one, and you know what’s coming. You just can’t stop it. On second and goal West Virginia tries its damnedest to stand him up, but Klein is eventually ruled in on his second sneak attempt. 17-0, good guys.
Pease got a lot of action on that drive, and I’d hate to think John Hubert has become the second option tonight. He turned several awful plays into positive yardage even though there was no blocking provided by the line.
I really like the pressure this defense has been able to put on Geno Smith. No sacks yet, but some good hurries and hits. Smith is extremely impressive under pressure, I will give him that. He’s delivering the ball to the best option while the pocket collapses, and looks like a quarterback I’d think about drafting as an NFL team. Although West Virginia has been ineffective as a whole, Smith is still seven-for-ten on the night so far. One thing he hasn’t demonstrated any ability to do is scramble though. I haven’t watched this team that much and don’t know about Smith’s physical attributes, but he doesn’t look terribly fast. K-State is providing the right combination of pressure, coverage, and convergence on the ball after the pass.
Last year there were a lot of questions about K-State’s receiving corps. This year people were cautiously optimistic, but a little doubt remained. There can be no question about this unit’s abilities now. Harper is gaining some nice yards after catch. Lockett is just as good as ever after returning from last year’s injuries. Tannehill is still a reliable, Kyle Rudolph sort of presence in the middle. And on the drive starting with seven minutes left after West Virginia punted the ball (again), Hubert was back on the field and came alive. However, after several good run and passes, I’ll give you one guess as to how K-State managed to go up 24-0. That’s right, Collin Klein, your knight in shining armor, opting to keep the ball on an eight yard option run for the touchdown. It appears Bill Snyder decided to exploit West Virginia selling out on the run by passing all over the field, the Mountaineers moved to a more balanced approach after Klein was lighting them up, and now the Wildcats are an unstoppable force on the field.
West Virginia finally got on the board, but no thanks to its offense. On the subsequent kick-off, the electrifying receiver Tavon Austin caught the ball in the end zone and took it back 100 yards for a touchdown. On the prior kickoff an election to take the ball out of the end zone was ill-advised, and K-State dropped him on the 14 yard line. It looked like the same scenario might happen again, but a large seam somehow opened up to bring West Virginia within 24-7.
K-State’s ensuing possession should have made the game 31-7, as Klein slightly overthrew a Tyler Lockett who had beat his man and was streaking down the sideline. The next play, Klein underthrows Lockett, who had once again beat his man but had to slow down for the ball to drop and was hit upon catching it. West Virginia’s defense is becoming visibly frustrating, and the cornerback laid on Lockett for about seven seconds while pushing him into the ground. It was a piss poor show of sportsmanship, and borderline worthy of a flag. I guess after getting burned for 44 yards and being down 24-7, he figured it was his only opportunity to beat the Wildcats. K-State actually did go on to up the score to 31-7, by the way. I assumed it would come on a Klein keeper on an option play, but after 15 yards he was yanked down a yard short of the goal line. So he just punched it in on the next play.
Some of you may know remaining doubters of this K-State team. Maybe West Virginia will still come back in the second half. All I see right now is an absolutely dominating performance. This Wildcat team has earned every BCS point it received so far. Heading into the locker room, it’s #4 K-State at 31 points, #14 West Virginia at 7 points. K-State has not punted yet. The only score it has allowed was on special teams. It has controlled the clock for more than twice as long as West Virginia. And it looks ready to send these fans home early.