Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Before taking over this website I wrote for Arrowhead Addict, a Chiefs blog you may be familiar with. One of my favorite weekly articles was always ‘Earning Their Arrowheads,’ where we’d look at the players that were truly impressive during the game. Because there were so many great individual performances yesterday by Kansas State, we’re bringing the concept to Jug of Snyder. Here are the players that earned their Powercats Saturday.
Jack Cantele: It’s hard to belief that a sophomore college kicker in November has never kicked a game-winning field goal. Yet at kickoff yesterday, Cantele had never experienced the thrill of booting a kick through the uprights to propel his team to victory at either the high school or college level. Yet that’s exactly what he gave the Wildcats yesterday. The coaching staff has been timid about unleashing Cantele so far this year, but on a day of wind gusts up to 40 mph, he knocked in kicks of 23, 31, 34, and then 41 yards to win the game.
Tyler Lockett: Lockett’s stat line was impressive on its own: eight catches, 123 yards, and one touchdown. How he did it was even more impressive. Lockett was shadowed much of the day by All-American Jason Verrett. Verrett is the Big 12’s top cornerback, is bigger than Lockett, and was constantly jamming him at the line of scrimmage. Yet Lockett was making moves that made Verrett look silly, and he was wide open on a 74-yard touchdown reception when Verrett completely bit on a little stop-and-go when there was no one within 10 yards once the ball came. Lockett also had two clutch receptions on third-and-ten that saved the game. The first was a 12 yard catch to keep the game-winning drive alive when Verrett was once again matched against him. The second the offense’s final play – an eight yard grab on third down that changed Cantele’s attempt from a 49 yarder to a more manageable 41 yards. Lockett also had 67 yards on kickoff returns.
Dante Barnett: Ty Zimmerman was lost very early in the game, which caused TCU to test safety Dylan Schellenberg early and often. Barnett was everything in the defensive backfield, carding nine tackles to lead the team while helping hold down his side of the field.
Daniel Sams: I actually go back and forth on putting Sams here. Sams once again led the team in rushing with 109 yards on 19 carries (there were a couple touchdown drives in which he seemed to single-handedly move the ball) for an average of 5.7 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 3/5 passes for 23 yards. Yet Jake Waters took the majority of snaps (something we’re very accustomed to) and Sams provided the fumble that let TCU back into the game. When TCU snared a touchdown on its first possession of the 3rd quarter to climb withint 17-14, K-State needed to answer. Yet Sams fumbled the ball on the drive’s second play at the K-State 41, which TCU converted into a touchdown and its first lead of the game.
The Entire Offensive Line: I may be cheating here, but I don’t care. There was a drive when K-State was pinned at the five and Jake Waters didn’t seem to have any time to throw, but those three plays were rarity. On the whole, Waters was able to scramble around inside the pocket for hours while searching for receivers – TCU had just one sack for four yards. The line was also blowing holes open for Sams to help him gain solid yardage. If I’m to single out just one player, it’d have to be Cornelius Lucas. He looked dominant taking on defensive ends. Interestingly, it didn’t seem like TCU blitzed that often. We’ll see how the line responds when Oklahoma dials up the pressure when the Sooners visit Manhattan next Saturday. It will be a battle to see who’s the Big 12’s #4 team and bowl representatives will be present to observe both sides.