THE MORNING AFTER… Iowa State

Here’s Levi’s thoughts on the “Abomination in Ames.” He was there, after all. I like the middle part, by the way:

All of this is compelling, I give K-State that.

Then again, I’m on the outside looking in and have zero invested in this team. The frustration oozing from this fan base, at least from what I’m gathering in the hours following this loss, is immense, and by all means, it’s warranted.

The Cats had too much to play for Saturday to play the way they did. They got beat by an inferior team. They got out-played and out-coached — Prince’s words, not mine.

What do you take away from this? Or should you take anything away? In other words, do you just forget it and move on to Lincoln?

On a side note, this is interesting. … I have last week’s “Morning After” pulled up and J-Mart wrote this: “The Wildcats are fortunate they played a flat 30 minutes against a team (Baylor) that was powerless to take advantage.” Prince said essentially the same thing after the game yesterday, adding, of course, that Iowa State was good enough to take advantage. The players indicated they weren’t flat; that they practiced well and Jack Trice’s mostly stale environment didn’t hinder them. But how else do you explain back-to-back first halves like the previous two we’ve seen?

Granted, James Johnson’s fumble on the opening kickoff changed the game’s complexion right away. But if you’re K-State, you can’t allow yourself to get down 14-0 on the road, and you certainly can’t give up a 90-yard drive to a team with as poor of an offense as Iowa State’s. This team’s margin for error so small –again, Prince’s words, not mine — they can’t get away with that against anybody, except for Baylor, I guess.

I thought the Wildcats abandoned the run too early in the first half and stayed with it too long when trying to rally in the second.

I’ll end with this: We’re running out of superlatives to describe Jordy Nelson. He put together another record-breaking day yesterday (your paper or online box score might not have had it right, but Nelson had 14 catches for 214 yards, which is a school record — the ISU stat crew gave a 20-yard reception of his to Marcus Perry). And we in the media get frustrated sometimes because Jordy isn’t flashy — almost dull — and is pretty cliche overall, but he’s a great kid, and we all respect him. A lot.

All that said, Jordy — the first player to show up to the post-game press conference, as usual — showed some fire after the game, and I loved it. He was asked — not by me, by the way — something along the lines of, “With the Big 12 North title out of reach, what’s a reasonable goal for this team?”

Nelson glared at the reporter and said as forcefully as I’ve ever seen him answer a question before, “Win on Saturday.”

That was it. It took a few seconds for the next question to be asked because we were so thrown off by the direct answer and the manner it was given. Good for him. He’s a senior and should be frustrated with this season.

What else can he possibly do?

That’s good stuff, especially the part where he quoted me. Seriously, it’s nice to hear Nelson say the Wildcats need to come out and win because, let’s not forget – that should be the motivation. Winning every Saturday.

My reaction? Read my Q&A. I’ve answered several questions about this. If you’re upset at Ron Prince, this is the same Ron Prince some of you were touting as a great coach following some earlier wins. If you’re upset at Josh Freeman, this is the same Josh Freeman who was locking onto receivers in earlier wins. If you’re upset at the defense, this is the same defense that surprised teams earlier in the season but by now has been exposed to every team remaining on the schedule.

College football is an emotional game. And with how the Wildcats have played all season — get off to fast start, virtually everything in the first quarter scripted, with minimal room for error — a fumbled kickoff is going to be deflating. It was. And an inexperienced head coach didn’t know how to get his team out of its funk.

I’m in the weird position of kind of defending Prince. He’s still learning on the job, folks. His overall record is now 12-10, which is almost the epitome of mediocrity, but he’s been better than that, hasn’t he? Maybe he hasn’t. I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll hear plenty from all of you.

One last thing – Mike Beasley is the goods. You know how everyone groaned when Frank Martin was telling people Beasley would have a similar impact as Kevin Durant had at Texas? Martin wasn’t stretching the truth. He might have undersold it, to be honest. Listen, I know it was Fort Hays State, but that’s not even the point. Martin said Marquette coach Tom Crean said Beasley was “efficient,” and that really is the perfect word to describe him. He figures out ways to score – I was told he took 26 foul shots in the scrimmage against Marquette. Last night, he took 25 shots, which might seem like a lot, but he got 35 points out of it. Oh, and he made 15 of those shots.

And defensively? That was a treat. He’s real active, out on the wings, pressuring his man. Helping out Luis Colon and blocking Colon’s man’s shot.

He’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent, just like Durant was. If you have a chance to see him in person, you’d better do it soon before you have to pay those inflated NBA arena prices. It’s your own fault if you miss him, and it’s your own fault if you don’t fully appreciate what he is. I got the sense some people still don’t understand how good Beasley is. The man sitting next to me in those expensive floor seats – I was on press row – was harping on Beasley’s missed free throws. He hardly had any reaction when Beasley scored, or started a fast break, or made a steal, or found an open man, etc.

Tough crowd.