Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder said he didn’t see this coming. A better effort? Sure. Overall improved play? Yeah, that was possible. A win? Totally within reach.
But a 62-14 pounding of Texas A&M a week after the Wildcats themselves were on the wrong end of a 66-14 score at Texas Tech? No, he couldn’t have predicted that.
As he said in the postgame media interview, if he could predict the future, he’d be working “in Vegas.”
The few people out there who figured K-State could beat A&M by a massive amount of points are likely wishing they could reverse time and go to Vegas today. In one of the biggest turnarounds you will ever see, the Wildcats went from losing to a Big 12 south team by 52 points to beating one by 48. That’s a 100-point difference.
There were several reasons for the improved performance, but the MVP was Jeffrey Fitzgerald. The senior defensive end led the Wildcats’ charge up front and pressured Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson all night.
He forced a fumble on the second play of the game and ended up with two and a half sacks. K-State’s defensive line overall recorded six sacks, incredible considering it took it six games to hit that number before Saturday.
Pushing Texas A&M backward and forcing five turnovers gave the K-State offense short fields all afternoon, and it took advantage of that fact. Daniel Thomas scored four touchdowns and Grant Gregory managed a very good game before being taken out in the second half.
After every first-half turnover, K-State immediately scored. That’s why it led 38-0 at the break. Gregory said after Thomas scored his third rushing touchdown of the game he could just see Texas A&M’s spirit disappear.
“We could really see that they were starting to get tired,” he said. “We were really imposing our will up front. At that point we could have run the ball downfield on every play.”
Added Thomas: “I could tell they were kinda backing off me they were doing the same with Grant. They were backing away when he was running, too.”
A Brandon Banks touchdown return on the opening kickoff of the second half and a Keithen Valentine TD soon after stretched the lead to 52-0. K-State went ahead 59-0 before allowing Texas A&M to get on the scoreboard.
It was an impressive win and everything seemed to go right.
And all of a sudden, K-State sits all alone atop the Big 12 North standings at 2-1. With Colorado up next, the Wildcats will have a shot at going to 3-1 and extending that lead.
That would be a good place to be.
But as Gregory said after the game, “We handled adversity well. Now let’s see how we handle prosperity.”
- 13 Texas A&M rushing yards
5 Texas A&M turnovers
4 Rushing touchdowns by Daniel Thomas
2 Rushing touchdowns from Keithen Valentine
0 Turnovers committed by Kansas State
38-0 K-State’s lead at halftime
59-0 K-State’s biggest lead of the game
4 Seconds, the length of K-State’s shortest TD drive
5 Seconds, the length of K-State’s second shortest TD drive
6 Sacks by K-State
Quotes of note
“Yes, you can always do better,” — Bill Snyder when asked if K-State left room for improvement
“He played well, but all of our guys on defense played well,” Snyder on Jeffrey Fitzgerald.
“It’s good to get 60 points on any Big 12 team. It is very exciting and hopefully it will carry on next week.” — Brandon Banks
“To be in first place in the Big 12 North, that’s great for us.” — Daniel Thomas
“I was not as much surprised as much as I was excited and happy that we had the ball finally rolling our way and had some thing going right for us.” — John Houlik
“Goes to show how good we can play when everybody is playing like they need to,” — Tysyn Hartman