1. Carson Coffman was limited to about 32 minutes of action, but you’d never know it looking at the final stats. The senior quarterback came on in relief of Collin Klein and absolutely torched Colorado’s defense by completing 16 of 23 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He also scampered in to the end zone from six yards away for a score.
Throughout the second half, he made beautiful passes and continually found Aubrey Quarles and Chris Harper in tight situations near the sidelines. He was on the money all afternoon, and the one time he made a pass and threw into coverage Quarles fought for him and caught a tipped pass. It was the best K-State’s passing game has looked all season.
2. David Garrett continues to standout on a weak defense. On an otherwise awful day, the junior cornerback was everywhere for K-State. He made a whopping 16 tackles (14 solo and two for loss) and broke up a pass.
3. Quarles and Harper looked like a strong pass-catching duo on Saturday. Quarles was open throughout the game and caught five passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Harper made some tough catches, including one for a 38-yard gain across the middle and another for a touchdown at the edge of the end zone, and ended with 74 yards. K-State needs to keep them involved in the offense.
4. Andre McDonald and Travis Tannahill both played large roles in this game. The tight ends combined to catch four passes for 98 yards. Tannahill made a nice, 40-yard catch across the middle in the first quarter and an incredible 24-yard diving catch in the third. McDonald was wide open a time or two and caught a two-point conversion pass from Daniel Thomas. Both should be more heavily featured moving forward.
5. We already knew Ty Zimmerman was a capable safety, but did you know the safety can also level defenders while returning a punt? In the first quarter against Colorado, he returned a punt 41 yards, and blew up a CU defender along the way. Rather than trying to juke past him, he lowered his shoulder, knocked him out of the way and kept going.
“I’ve never returned a punt before,” Zimmerman said. “I was just trying to make a play. That’s what happened.”
1. Rodney Stewart rushed for 195 yards and Colorado finished the game with 251 yards on the ground. You know the story by now. Much like Taylor Martinez, Jay Finley and Kendall Hunter, the Buffaloes had a capable runner and he took advantage of K-State’s woeful run defense (ranked 199th out of 120 Division I teams nationally). Afterward, Bill Snyder stated the obvious:
“We had difficulty stopping the run, which has been a nemesis for us.”
2. Why is it that K-State’s quarterbacks play better coming off the bench than starting? Last week Coffman started against Missouri and was a turnover machine. Behind him, Klein rushed for 141 yards despite playing for half the game. Then Saturday, Klein started to sputter after scoring two quick touchdowns and Coffman came in to throw for 270 yards. Just imagine if either quarterback played that way for an entire game.
3. The one time it looked like the Wildcats had made a big play on defense against Colorado, a Thomas Ferguson interception on a tipped pass, near the red zone in the third quarter it was wiped away by a roughing the passer penalty. Very bad timing.
4. The Wildcats were unable to force Cody Hawkins into making a single turnover. While it’s true the senior quarterback is playing better now that he has a chip on his shoulder and his father is no longer the coach, he still makes bad decisions when you put pressure on him. K-State was simply unable to do that.
5. Remember when Daniel Thomas said he was comfortable carrying the ball 30 times a game? That was a long time ago. The senior running back saw the ball 14 times on Saturday and rushed for a season-low 58 yards. Last week he carried 12 times for 66 yards. He has been anything but a workhorse lately.
1. Dan Hawkins toughed out the awkward situation and posed for pictures with his son during pregame Senior Day ceremonies. No boos could be heard in the press box, and Cody Hawkins received a loud ovation when he took the field. Other seniors all approached their former coach and hugged him before the game. All those emotions seemed to fire up the team. Despite falling behind early, the Buffs fought back hard.
2. Harper thinks K-State will be ready to rebound against North Texas. When asked about next week’s game, he offered some borderline bulletin material.
“We’re going to have a lot of guys that are really mad,” he said. “I don’t think anybody thought we were going to lose five games this year. Our goals are a lot higher than that, and we’re going to take it out on North Texas.”
3. Thomas lost a fumble in the first half, and Snyder said that play was a real killer. Colorado scooped up the loose ball and quickly scored a touchdown to take its first lead of the day at 16-14.
“Any turnover is monumental in the ball game,” he said, “and that was. It had an impact on the ball game.”
4. K-State used a variety of different strategies on the defensive line. At times Snyder sent three true linemen. At others he dropped linemen back into coverage and blitzed from the edge. Stephen Harrison came up with a sack, and the Wildcats hurried Hawkins three times. But overall the concepts didn’t work well.
5. If the Wildcats win at North Texas, they are likely headed to the Pinstripe Bowl at 7-5. Since they were projected for New York before Saturday’s game, losing to Colorado might not do any damage to their bowl stock. But winning at North Texas will be key.
If K-State falls in its season finale and finishes at 6-6, Texas Tech could pass it in the standings. Texas and Colorado could tie it. They say bowls don’t like taking teams that are coming off a loss. They really don’t like taking teams on three-game losing streaks.
The Wildcats are aware of that, and say they are taking nothing for granted.
“We’re not so sure we’re going to go to a bowl game if we don’t win this one,” Coffman said. “So as of now this is the biggest game on our schedule.”