Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE
Halloween has apparently come early in the Big XII. West Virginia’s defense bought a bunch of K-State football uniforms and is playing as the Wildcats in Manhattan this Saturday. At least, that’s what it looks like. For every set of downs the Wildcats will record one or even two good plays, but fail to force third and outs. At least the defense has put the team in position to score – the offense hasn’t done anything. This team needs to bring a little more diversity to the field. The option, which Klein and Hubert/Pease have been running so effectively all year, is getting shut down. Runs up the middle are being stuffed. This is arguably the best defense K-State will see this season. Rough patches will happen. Yet if K-State hopes to turn things around they must spread the field more. You see the team running multiple receiver sets on third downs and picking up yardage on short passes, but then it goes right back to multiple runners in the backfield and trying to stand up the Tech defenders. It’s not working. Spreading the field is. And as I type this, Klein has attempted three straight passes, made three straight completions, and has the ball at the Tech 20. The coaches apparently diagnosed this problem the same time I did.
After those three passes, Hubert rattled off an 11 yard run to the left, followed by another six yarder to the left. Then Hubert demonstrates how amazing he is by running up the middle, meeting a wall, then bouncing outside for the touchdown. K-State can run the ball against anyone, but not against defenses against of this caliber when they stack the box. You can’t understate the importance of keeping opponents honest. When you do, good things happen. Like tying the game at 10-10.
One place this team has been solid on all game is kick coverage. Texas Tech has been unable to return any punts, and its kick returns are going nowhere. If only they could swarm the same way on pass coverage. In fact, they’re only averaging 12 yards per return. Very nice statistic.
K-State is not allowing big plays. They aren’t. But this game is becoming a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ situation, wherein Tech picks up yardage every single play. Then they rush up to the line and run another play for 4-6 yards. I hope Meshak Williams has been doing his suicides this week, because there’s an obvious goal of tiring out the K-State defense. Collin Klein needs to lead a couple of his vintage drive that take eight minutes to move 80 yards and give Allen Chapman a rest. Otherwise, he’s gonna blow a play and let a receiver go for 50 yards and a touchdown in the 4th quarter.
K-State has dropped multiple interception opportunities today, none worse than Jarard Milo. Milo put himself in perfect position and had the ball thrown right at him and actually started running with it, but bobbled the ball and never actually got possession. The play helped stop Texas Tech and force a 50-yard field goal. Meshak Williams, who’s been a hoss all day, blocked the field goal and gave the ball back to the offense at the K-State 33. On the first play, Klein drops a bomb to Chris Harper for 47 yards. How did it happen? Because Texas Tech put eight men in the box, and K-State spread the field! It’s looking like the initial play-calling simply got Tech thinking “run, run, pass, run run, pass,” and they weren’t ready. Klein had a couple nice rice runs to get the team in scoring position. On third and goal on the three, K-state botched a trick play that had Klein handing off to Pease, who ran forward before passing the ball. However, Pease was hit as he was throwing and his intended receiver fell down in the end zone. Double whammy. Apparently this team shouldn’t be running trick plays in the red zone. K-State settles for field goal to go up 13-10.
- Unsurprisingly, K-State leads the turnover battle 1-0. Sounds about right.
- Time of possession is about tied.
- Low penalty game. Tech has one for ten yards, K-State has two for 15.
- Importantly, Texas Tech is well ahead in yardage, leading K-State 234-143.
- More importantly, K-State leads on the scoreboard 13-10. I expected a couple more scores at this point in the game, but I don’t argue with leads. Especially with K-State getting the ball to start the second half. The team is only averaging 2.7 yards/carry. With a stat like that, I’ll take a lead all day long.