Overall Assessment: It was ugly, but in the end a late touchdown pass from Collin Klein to Chris Harper was all the Kansas State football team needed to defeat Eastern Kentucky 10-7 on Saturday. It was followed by this celebration (left), which was fueled by feelings of relief from everyone in attendance at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The good news, obviously, is that K-State avoided disaster. Losing to the Colonels, an injured team from the Football Championship Subdivision, would have essentially ended any chance the Wildcats had at reaching a bowl game. A loss would have been a tragedy.
Still, while getting the victory was extremely important, I’m not sure anyone can say that’s all that matters today. K-State has some serious flaws, especially on offense, and will need to get them fixed in a hurry if the Wildcats want to be an improved team this season.
Five that were good:
1. Chris Harper. The junior wide receiver made the play of the game by beating his defender on a sprint to the right side of the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Leading up to that memorable play, he said he repeatedly told quarterback Collin Klein to loosen up and look for him, because he knew he was going to be open for a big play. That confidence paid off, and teammates say he his turning into a leader. Before embarking on the game-winning drive, Harper helped fire up his teammates on the sideline with some inspirational words. He finished with four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. A good start to his season.
2. Jordan Voelker. No one was more impressive on the defensive side of the ball. The defensive end continually pressured Eastern Kentucky’s quarterback, and made some very nice moves on his way to two sacks and five tackles. After the struggles of K-State’s defensive line a season ago, his debut as a starter was a welcome sight.