Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE
Good drive to open up the second half. In fact, let’s call it a great drive. Nice run by Tyler Lockett for 11 yards and a first down around midfield – I liked the utilization of his speed out of the backfield. Just like everyone else in his family to wear the Wildcat uniform, he’s a special player. Drive ends in a 22-yard strike to Tramaine Thompson for a touchdown. Klein could have led his receiver a little more and an interception in the end zone was possible if the d-back was a little more aware, but he wasn’t. K-State up 20-10. Also, I have a bad habit of spelling his name Tremaine. I’d apologize if he’s willing to grab a couple beers with me.
On the subsequent Texas Tech possession, Seth Doege looks to continue carving up the K-State defense. It’s getting frustrating. Then out of nowhere Randall Evans (how many times have you heard his name this year?) not only strips the ball from the wide receiver, but recovers the ball and returns it for 17 yards. The play was reviewed and looked a little questionable as whether possession was established because the Tech player was shifting the ball from left to right hand, but fumble eventually upheld. Adding insult to injury, the Red Raiders are nailed with a 15 yard face mask penalty as well.
Finally, this team is ready to play. Someday I’ll learn not to judge this team by it’s first half performances – you need to take the whole game performance into account. It’s frustrating though – if you’ve been following Oregon at all, they’re putting in their backups around halftime. It typically takes halftime for this team to wake up. Whatever the issue, this team is finally awake. With the ball back in his possession, Klein decided to put his team up big. It takes two runs. He gains four yards, and then 16 to find the end zone. K-State 27, Texas Tech 10.
Unfortunately, the same problem remains. Texas Tech gets the ball back, and K-State just can’t stop Seth Doege. This secondary can’t defend the short pass. I get it – Bill Snyder plays a ‘bend but don’t break’ style. He’s up against a quarterback challenging Collin Klein for the Heisman. In fact, if Oklahoma and Texas Tech win today, Doege could very well become the frontrunner. And there are too many receiving weapons to focus on shutting down just one or two players. But when voters see what Texas Tech is doing against K-State, and think about Oregon’s explosiveness, they’ll vote Ducks over Wildcats every time. Tech answers with an 11 play, 75 yard drive that features the same consistent play from Doege and his receivers. Turnovers are well and good, but at some point you have to demonstrate you can just step and and stop your opponent. K-State has failed to do so today, as Texas Tech has only had one punt so far.
I’m not taking anything away from Collin Klein. I’m not. He’s really an improved passer. But I could make some of his passes, and I’m not even coordinated enough to really dribble a basketball that well. I just watched him hit Chris Harper without a defender within five yards. Tech isn’t playing a lot of zone either – you’re seeing man defense. But these receivers have some combination of quickness, crispness, and deception that just allows them to get open against anyone. They may not have long careers in the NFL, but Klein has an incredible group of talent to work with. One thing Klein does I’d never bring to the field is the ability to just run over defenses. After a lackluster first half, he’s been finding his groove on the ground and just scored his second straight rushing touchdown on K-State’s third drive of the half. Klein up the middle for 22 yards, touchdown, K-State up 34-17. I hope they recruited a strong guy to be Willie this year.
Scary stuff – Tre Walker just went down clutching his knee and took a long time to get off the field. He hopped off with assistance from the trainers, but he’s been an absolute bull this year. We’ll monitor his status as updates are available. However, the drive finally gives an indication as to how to force a Texas Tech punt – let them beat themselves. After getting nailed with a holding penalty Tech seemed to force throws and ended up punting on 4th and 20. My dad had been texting me and I responded by saying, “defense is still playing awful. Turnovers are nice, but they’ve only forced on punt. Can’t bring that weak sauce to the county fair, let alone a national championship.” Then K-State forced their second punt, and I felt better.
Another K-State player has gone down, as offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas appears to have sustained a minor injury. However, Lucas is able to walk off the field on his own. I began thinking about how K-State has almost completely avoided the injury bug this year, and then began knocking on any wooden surface I could find. I suggest you do the same immediately. K-State starting to look good, and this team may actually avoid getting outgained in yardage this afternoon. K-State 34, Texas Tech 17.