1. The Wildcats responded from their first loss of the season, a 58-17 setback to Oklahoma last week, in encouraging fashion. Though they left Stillwater with a second straight loss, they earned a moral victory that will give them momentum and help them win their final three games.
2. The Wildcats surrendered 500 passing yards for the second time in as many weeks, and were unable to take advantage of an early 24-14 lead and a late 38-37 lead. A loss is a loss, and there is no redeeming value in playing the nation’s No. 3 team to a close game on the road.
K-State players took both approaches before heading home Saturday night, and it looks like most fans are split this morning, too.
I find myself somewhere in the middle, leaning toward answer No. 1. Though there should be no moral victories for a team ranked in the top 25 that began the year with seven straight wins, K-State showed many positives Saturday.
It battled back from an early 14-0 hole for the second straight week, and kept pushing when Oklahoma State tried to pull away. Collin Klein played his most impressive game yet from a leadership standpoint, and Tyler Lockett continues to amaze.
The defense continued to struggle against a high-powered passing offense. No pass rush and inconsistent coverage meant Brandon Weeden was in for a big day. Considering K-State faced a similar look last week, allowing 52 points was disappointing.
But the two toughest games on K-State’s schedule are now behind it. Coming into the year, any realistic fan circled Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as likely losses. The Wildcats close out the season with three winnable games against Texas A&M, Texas and Iowa State. Finish strong and maybe some good will come out of this loss.
Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
Five that were good:
1. Tyler Lockett. His performance against Oklahoma State will go down as one of the best offensive games from a freshman in K-State history. The receiver totaled a whopping 309 all-purpose yards, which included several jaw-dropping plays.
He took a double reverse up the left side of the field for 57 yards. He caught a 14 yard touchdown pass. And he returned a kick 80 yards in the closing minutes to help K-State tie the game at 45-45.
Not that the humble Lockett was all that impressed by any of them.
“There are still a lot of things I think I could have done that would have helped this team get a victory,” Lockett said. “You’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, because it’s the little things that help you win.”
Well, OK then. His teammates and coach took a different approach. They didn’t hold back praise.
“Tyler is a heck of a player,” Collin Klein said. “He plays with a lot of heart. He knows where he is supposed to be at the time he is supposed to be there. He plays his heart out.”
Bill Snyder offered some back story, which helps explain his consistently strong play.
“I used Tyler last night as an example in some dialogue with our football team,” Snyder said. “Tyler, when we were at Miami and he was a young pup, never really been on the stage before like that got up in front of the entire football team and quoted a poem that he had read.
“It went on and on and on and on. It was extremely long and how he memorized all of that I have no idea. But it said something very meaningful to our football team. And he followed it up with a touchdown in that ballgame. You know the rest of the story. He played extremely well, and has done so as a midget freshman. I am extremely proud of him.”
2. Collin Klein. The junior quarterback did everything he could to give K-State a chance to win late. He rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 29 tough carries and passed for 231 yards and a touchdown.
Though he didn’t complete the game-tying touchdown pass everyone was hoping for in the final seconds, he did show extraordinary poise throughout the fourth quarter. Check out this sequence of plays on drives that put K-State ahead 38-37 and tied the score at 45-45.
Third-and-1 at the KSU 39: 1-yard rush
Fourth-and-6 at the OSU 26: 13-yard rush
First-and-10 at the OSU 13: 4-yard rush
Second-and-6 at the OSU 9: 5-yard rush
Third-and-1 at the OSU 4: 4-yard rush for a touchdown
First-and-10 at the OSU 20: 5-yard rush
Second-and-5 at the OSU 15: 3-yard rush
Third-and-2 at the OSU 12: 12-yard rush for a touchdown
All coming with the game on the line.
3. Allen Chapman. His interception return for a touchdown put K-State ahead 24-14, and was the defensive play of the ballgame. He also made five tackles. Chapman deserves to continue seeing playing time in some capacity if the Wildcats drop a defensive back in favor of a linebacker down the stretch.
4. Tramaine Thompson. Though Klein and Lockett will get most of the attention on offense after this one, Thompson deserves props, too. The receiver caught six passes for 71 yards, including a fantastic leaping catch in the first half. He belongs in K-State’s top receiving trio along with Lockett and Chris Harper.
5. Jordan Voelker. The defensive end hasn’t gotten a ton of pressure on the quarterback in his past two games, but he has impacted them with his pass-blocking abilities. Voelker is very skilled at getting his big hands up in the air and knocking down throws at the line of scrimmage. He broke up two passes that way on Saturday.
Five that were bad:
1. Adam Davis. The defensive end made one tackle, and had little impact on the game. K-State’s defensive line as a whole hasn’t had much of an impact on the past two games, and that has to change.
Though Landry Jones and Brandon Weeden are outstanding quarterbacks, they looked like Peyton Manning while facing zero pressure against the Wildcats. When given all day to make decisions, they’re going to put up huge numbers. Both threw for more than 500 yards against K-State.
2. Secondary. I don’t know exactly who to blame here. It’s not like one defensive back got burned more than any of the others. Two even stepped up and made interceptions. Nigel Malone almost made a third. But for the most part, Weeden torched K-State with passes to wide receivers who were wide open across the middle. When no one is around, who is to blame?
Not sure, but allowing more than 1,000 passing yards in back-to-back games is bad regardless of opponents.
3. Offensive line. It committed too many false-start penalties, allowed Klein to be sacked twice and didn’t create many big running lanes. John Hubert managed just 40 yards on the ground, and the majority of K-State’s rushing yards came on trick runs to Lockett and delays from Klein.
4. Meshak Williams. The defensive lineman had a tackle for loss, but he didn’t make the kind of big plays we’re used to seeing from him. When he’s not sacking the quarterback, K-State struggles.
Bill Snyder has done a nice job of inspiring his team. The Wildcats showed guts answering a 14-0 deficit for the second straight week, and they showed considerable toughness to stay in this game the whole way. But there was one thing I didn’t agree with in his overall coaching strategy. Some will criticize K-State coaches for not letting Klein try to run in a game-tying touchdown late. But I’m OK with that. Throwing gave K-State three chances at scoring instead of two, or one with a run.
What I questioned was why they asked Klein to throw with a 24-17 lead in the second quarter. By now, everyone knows Klein is best at running the ball and throwing short, high-percentage passes. But on the second play of that drive, Klein looked deep down field. When his primary target, Lockett, was shoved to the ground by his defender, he turned to the sideline and threw to Harper. He was well covered, the ball bounced off his facemask and Oklahoma State intercepted the ball. Seconds later, the score was tied.
On K-State’s next drive, Klein threw four more passes and K-State had to punt after gaining 12 yards. With the lead, the Wildcats would have been better off playing to their offensive strengths.
Of the 58,895 on hand at Boone Pickens Stadium, a decent portion were dressed in purple. The Wildcats filled up their section well, and chants of “K-S-U Wildcats” could be easily heard after touchdowns. And, of course, superfan Robert Lipson attended his 150th consecutive road conference game.
Key play you may have overlooked
Justin Blackmon muffed a punt midway through the first quarter at Oklahoma State’s own 23-yard line. Brian Hertzog jumped on the fumble, and gave K-State the field position it would need to score its first points on a field goal. Without that mistake, there’s no telling how the game would have gone. Had he held the ball, and the Cowboys scored a touchdown, they would have led 21-0.
K-State hung with Oklahoma State from an offensive standpoint. The Cowboys gained 575 yards of total offense and gained 26 first downs. K-State gained 507 yards of offense and picked up 27 first downs.
Quote to note
““Even though we just got these two losses by two great teams, we still control our own destiny. Nobody can change that. Kansas State hasn’t won 10 games in a long time. We can. We just have to stay together and keep fighting.” – David Garrett