Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Tramaine Thompson continues to position the Wildcats to be successful with his punt returns. After holding TCU to just one first down on their first possession of the half, K-State received the punt which Thompson brought back 28 yards to the Kansas State 42. He shouldn’t receive all the credit though – Thompson has been juking and jiving through holes five feet wide with the gaps his teammates are providing him. This is another aspect of K-State that has allowed them to be successful all season.
Hubert has a bright future in the NFL. Facing third and one on Kansas State’s first possession, Hubert was met at the line of scrimmage. And he wasn’t just hit on the side – this was a man-to-man meeting. He still bulled through to pick up the yard and avoid a three-and-out for K-State’s first series. He’s too low and too powerful to tackle on the college level. On the subsequent play, Klein was dropped for TCU’s third sack of the night. I can see this defense getting 5-6 sacks a game against teams that lack a mobile quarterback and call more passes.
Anatomy of a Touchdown
On the drive described above, TCU gave Wildcat fans little reason to get optimistic about a blow out. The sack was followed by a screen pass that went nowhere and a first down throw to Tyler Lockett that seemed to defy human ability, but Lockett held on while being hammered by two defenders about two inches past the first down marker. And then, Collin Klein did was Collin Klein does. K-State came out trips right, yet TCU put eight defenders initially in the box anticipating the run. The defender responsible for the inside receiver was a little late in reacting to the called pass, which also drew away the safety. On the left side, tight end Travis Tannahill was sent out as well. With the defenders drawn out, Klein immediately diagnosed his offensive line was opening a hole on the right side and took off without seriously considering a pass. Optimus Klein runs right, then heads left where only one defender remains. Tannahill engages the block and Klein is essentially untouched on the way to a 34 yard touchdown run.
Anatomy of a Potential Momentum Swing
Following Klein’s touchdown run, TCU starts the drive with a 17 yard pass that would have gone for longer but was called back after the video showed receiver Skye Dawson’s knee was down. Then after a five yard run, K-State recorded two straight sacks. Meshak Williams dominated his man on the first sack and set TCU back 18 yards. On the second sack, Adam Davis forced a fumble that was recovered by TCU, but set the offense back another 19 yards. Two sacks for 37 yards. Forced to kick the ball away, TCU’s punter absolutely shanked it off the side of his foot. The ball travels eight yards downfield before going out of bounds, giving the Wildcats the ball on the 18 yard line. And while the sequence of plays should have crushed the Horned Frogs, their defense once again refused to give and forced another Anthony Cantele field goal. And while Cantele nailed the 27 yarder to put K-State up 23-0, it was one more example of K-State’s inability to convert in the red zone.
Ty Zimmerman went out after a hard helmet-to-helmet tackle, although what initially appeared to be a head injury may be a leg issue upon further review. Zimmerman had a hard time standing up and looked very unstable at first, although his legs splayed during the play and his return status is unknown.
Travone Boykin may be one of the toughest players on the field tonight. The quarterback was absolutely rocked by Meshak Williams on a screen toss on a hit no one should get up from. Fortunately, he was able to jump back up. That drive is where the game stands after three plays, and TCU faces a fourth and four on the KSU 44 down 23-0.