Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
When we left the Wildcats, they were driving downfield and finally looking to gain some more momentum after going down 32-10. The momentum continued in spite of another false start penalty, which made it the team’s fifth of the night after averaging only three per game. However, Hubert showed why it is so important to get him in the game as he took a shovel pass almost untouched for the touchdown to cut the lead to 32-17.
With only 12 minutes to go, it’s important to note the lack of turnovers created tonight. Although Klein has technically thrown for an interception, it was on a hail mary at the end of the first half to see if K-State could secure another score. Other than that, tremendous ball security on both sides of the ball.
Another stop for K-State brought the ball back to the Wildcats, but the drive lost a lot of momentum when Cornelius Lucas was called for a false start. Combined with the holding call during Tramaine Thompson’s punt return, the team has now been tagged with seven yellow flags tonight. It’s interesting that even on this drive most of the passes were for only short gains (and featured several runs). It’s almost as though the team is afraid to go deep, which is exactly what it needs to be able to do with less than eight minutes to play.
When K-State punted with eight minutes left, there was a question of whether K-State should go for it – you know the Ducks are going to run, and take time off the clock with every play. With 2:30 left in the game, Oregon managed to make its way into the end zone and kick another field goal, going up 35-17 in the process. That a team incapable of kicking field goals all year manages to nail both attempts this year is both frustrating and a microcosm of how everything Oregon needed to go right did. On the team’s final play, Klein finally launched the ball downfield we’ve been waiting for all game, but it was into double coverage and resulted in a touchdown. It’s been a helluva year for the Wildcats, and you can’t knock a Big 12 championship and 11-2 record.
Final stats: K-State led the game in 3rd down efficiency, going 7-15 while Oregon was 4-12. However, Oregon led the game in total yards by 387-283. While the Wildcats were first in turnover ratio during the regular season, they didn’t force a single turnover while Klein ended the game with two touchdowns. The least penalized team in the Big 12 also finished with seven penalties for 57 yards, while Oregon had five for 33. Final score: Oregon 35, K-State 17