Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Crazy (Train) Ride Continues

Get pressure on Doege: no sacks, but we did force some bad throws. Half a check.
Continue to be stable on offense: yes, but it almost got us into trouble.
Throw in the occasional mix-up: yes, but not until the second half.

These were things that certainly contributed to yet another unbelievable, inexplicable win for the Kansas State University Wildcats, but the biggest reasons are unbelievable as well. Time of possession: K-State wins it 33:33 to 26:27 (K-State leads the nation in time of possession, by the way - think that has something to do with 6-0?). Turnovers: K-State 0, Texas Tech 4. Even though we didn't score on every turnover, the scores we did get certainly helped and the others kept the ball away from Tech for that much longer. K-State also had unbelievable special teams performance, with Tyler Lockett returning a kickoff for a touchdown and Ralph Guidry blocking TWO field goals. Those were the keys to the win. And they certainly are unbelievable.

But now to the things that make sense. The game. The first half was awful. Period. If it wasn't for special teams and defense scoring and giving us short fields, we may not have scored at all. And the defense didn't even play that well. They played just about perfectly the first two Tech drives, with Malone's pick-6 (which happened on the THIRD play by the way, not the SECOND as the announcer said every time he mentioned it for the rest of the game. Drove me crazy) and a six-play drive that led to a punt. But K-State went three-and-out twice and did little to reward the defense for those efforts, making them have to go back out onto the field tired and facing another efficient Tech offense. They did enough to keep it tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, (which included Ralph's first field goal block) but Tech had obviously found the holes when they marched easily for another score to go up 14-7. Lockett's incredible kickoff return kept K-State in it, even though Cantele missed the extra point (the kid has got to find some confidence. If he doesn't, it could hurt us down the road). The defense came up big again with Ralph's second block (who blocks two field goals? the kid came to play), giving the offense a short field to work with, which they finally took advantage of to go up 20-14. The rest of the half, though, belonged to Tech. They scored easily on two subsequent drives and it was looking pretty dicey for K-State, down 28-20. Tech had 387 yard to K-State's 94. Needless to say, there wasn't much hope.

Something we need to start learning, though, is that there is always going to be hope with this team. K-State came out with a brand-new offense in the second half and started their comeback ways from there. They called 6 pass plays to 2 runs, and Klein went 4/5 and a TD (he ran for 25 yards on the one he decided not to throw). Perhaps his best throw of the year was to Chris Harper in the corner and all of a sudden K-State had done exactly what they needed to do to be in the game, only down 28-27. K-State then forced a punt. More good signs. K-State offense stalls, but forces a long Tech field goal that Ralph couldn't block this time, putting Tech up 31-27. Then the real fun began. Klein connected with Tremaine Thompson on his second-best throw of the year for 35 yards. Hubert breaks off a great run to get to the three. Klein runs it in (big surprise, I know) and all of a sudden, K-State HAS THE LEAD in a game in which they were being outgained by almost 200 yards. Beginning of the fourth quarter. Meshak forces a fumble. K-State fails to convert 4th down (a dumb play call, by the way) but Tech still didn't have that ball for that time. Tysyn Hartman intercepts a pass. K-State Klein scores to go up TWO SCORES. I, and plenty of other people I'm sure (including plenty of poor Tech fans) were in shock. Could this be? Could K-State keep this up to go 6-0 for the first time since 2000 and win in Lubbock for the first time since 1997, especially after being down and looked as if there was no way? Doege threw another pick (his third of the day, when he had only thrown ONE ALL YEAR) and all of sudden I answered yes to those questions. Cantele missed a chip-shot field goal (seriously, kid, you need some confidence or one of these days you'll cost us a game). Tech drives, but is stood up at the goal-line in typical K-State fashion. I can't get enough. Tech kicks a field goal to go down a TD and recovers the stupid on-side kick. But remember about my very first blog post? K-State doesn't play overtime. Miami didn't score when down a TD in the fourth. And neither did Texas Tech. Four plays and out. K-State wins again. Unbelievable. Stats for the second half: Tech 200 yards, K-State 240 yards. Second half score: 21-6. Final score: 41-34. THAT IS HOW YOU WIN A BALLGAME.

Sorry for the long play-by-play, but it was such an exciting game I couldn't resist reliving it here in one of my favorite places to relive K-State sports. K-STATE IS 6-0!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??? Ranked 12th in the AP poll, 16th in the coaches. Unbelievable. Have I used that word yet?

And now, on to the next game, the first one we will be favored in since playing Kent State five weeks ago. And there names? The dreaded Kansas Jayhawks. Blech. I can't believe I just wrote that on my beloved K-State page. I visited their website today to look at tickets and my whole body was yelling: "What's wrong with you!? Why are you here!?" But enough about that. To the football team. Ok, so they're not very good. They are 2-4 with wins over pretty terrible teams. They gave up 66 points to Georgia Tech, 45 to Texas Tech, 70 to Oklahoma State, and 47 to Oklahoma. They rank last or close to last in almost every defensive category. Easy win right? Wrong. K-State has proven they will not pull away from opponents. They will keep the ball, limit your scoring opportunities, take advantage of your mistakes, but not to the extent that they are up any considerable amount of points. And further to that effect, KU's offense is no sham. Jordan Webb, KU's qb is one of the highest rated as far as efficiency in all of college football. For as sloppy as the rest of the team is, he doesn't make many mistakes. Granted, he didn't look as good against OU as he has the rest of the year, but that's OU. He's decent with his legs too, and he has a decent running back to enhance that in James Sims. These guys are no pushovers. I repeat: NOT PUSHOVERS. As soon as you start taking a team for granted, that is when they will surprise you and take advantage of your mistakes. I'm sure Bill Snyder will have his team prepared, telling them that same thing. Do not overlook them. They are a decent football team that only needs a few breaks their way, and they could win a ball game or two. And that includes the one against us. KU played OU tough for three quarters, which means they could certainly do the same this week. I hope not though. There should also be a good showing of K-State fans to make the confines a little more friendly, but we'll see. Part of OU's problem was the conservative play-calling. Sound like some familiar team? That's right, I'm going to say it again. Open up the playbook. But more than that, BE AGGRESSIVE. More drives like the one to open up the half against Tech. And the defense has to be better against the pass. The safeties need to quit tripping over themselves and linebackers have got to stay with the running backs and tight ends. Just play smarter. Oh yeah, and don't turn the ball over - that was another problem OU faced. So here we go: Be aggressive on offense, stay smart on defense, and DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER (your welcome Sam). Let's make it three in a row in the Sunflower Showdown. Go Cats.

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