So I was trying to figure out if K-State really did get better in their second game of the season when I decided to "crunch some numbers" (as Michael Scott says). Sure the scores were vastly different- you can't very well argue that a team didn't play better when one week they scratch out a 10-7 victory over an FCS school and their 3rd string qb while the next week earn their first shutout in five years and score 37 points. Nonetheless, the results of my number crunch were interesting though I'm not sure they really tell us much.
(This would not be a fun game to watch, by the way)
First, the most glaring similarity:
K-State offense week 1: 303yrds-21 first downs, week 2: 335yrds-24 first downs.
Granted, thirty yards different is nothing to scoff at, but I think it's safe to say that the offense played relatively similarly to the first week as far as production is concerned.
Opponent offense week 1: 119yrds-7 first downs, week 2: 199yrds-13 first downs.
Again, an eighty yard difference isn't that similar, but it's still under 200 yards, allowing the similarity to be drawn yet again that the defense played about the same.
The final similarity: K-State takeaways week 1: 2, week 2: 2
In both games K-State was able to intercept two passes, two by Nigel Malone in week 1, one by David Garret and Tysyn Hartman each in week 2. Here's where the differences start: David Garrett's first quarter interception was returned for a touchdown, getting the score out of the way and giving K-State some early confidence.
Now for the differences that I think made the most difference.
K-State turnovers week 1: 5, week 2: 0
I think it's pretty safe to say that we'll win a lot of ball games if we don't turn the ball over and our defense gets a few of our own. 303 yards of offense in week 1 just wasn't enough to compensate for giving the ball away 5 times, thus the late score was needed to pull out the victory.
Opponent penalties week 1: 8-68yrds, week 2: 11-136yrds
Kent State was called for EIGHT PERSONAL FOULS. You're not going to beat very many teams doing that, unless it's the Oakland Raiders who get called for a similar amount. I don't know if they were just frustrated from an already poor 0-2 start, but they needed to keep their heads on straight if they wanted to avoid 0-3. Guess that didn't happen.
Collin Klein's stats week 1: 13/21 128yrds 1td 1int, 25carries 78yrds, week 2: 9/18 74yrds 1td 0int, 19 carries 139yrds
Obviously the difference here is the rushing yards and yards per carry. Klein really showed what he can do with his feet in the second game, which I think does point to some improvement by the offensive line. He also threw the ball less, which is partly because we were ahead the whole game, but it's also nice to see our true offense being used.
John Hubert's stats week 1: 17 carries 91yrds, week 2: 9 carries 29 yards
Here is where the offensive line concerns me. If they can't run block for our starting rb (and the backups didn't have much either), then we are going to be in trouble. Maybe it was the lanes he was picking, or maybe it was because he didn't get as many chances as he did in week 1, but regardless the line has to do better. If they would have, we might have scored a couple more touchdowns and felt better going into next week's big game at Miami Fl.
Finally, the one that probably makes the least difference in terms of score, but is nice to see nonetheless: Anthony Cantele field goals week 1: 1/2 (made 36, missed 39) week 2: 3/3 (long of 49)
Our kicker has got to have some confidence and I was really worried when he missed the first field goal of the year in the Eastern Kentucky game that he was going to struggle this year and start some kicking battles. Fortunately for him and for K-State, he proved he can be big time and made some big field goals to keep it rolling in the the Kent State game, sealing the deal for him as our starter.
So what does this all mean? Well we did get better, but maybe not in the areas where we most need it. The offensive line has got to get off the ball and get some push or Miami will be all over us. They hounded Ohio State's qb into going 2/14 and only gave up 6 points. That's scary. I think as long as we avoid turnovers and get some of our own, Klein and company will be able to score enough points to win this game. The defense has to be as solid as they have been and keep Jacory Harris from breaking big plays. Arthur Brown has the speed to do it and hopefully he'll be even more motivated than usual playing against his former team. Win the turnover battle, create some holes for Klein and Hubert to run through, play solid defense. Easier said than done, but I think they might just do it...