Sunday Rewind: K-State 56, Kansas 16

The latest Sunflower Showdown felt a lot like the last two.

Kansas State won big 56-16, and once again looked dominant while beating its in-state rival.

Kansas did put up a good fight early, but the Wildcats were simply too strong and pulled away in the third quarter. With several highly ranked teams losing Saturday, they moved up in the national polls today to No. 6.

But it’s not like K-State players can be content with their accomplishments. The schedule toughens from here. Kansas was the last gimme on their slate. But they took care of business and beat the Jayhawks easily.

How did it happen? Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

1. John Hubert keeps getting better
The Kansas State running back had another impressive game on Saturday. He rushed for 101 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries. He could have had a bigger workload, but he left the game briefly in the first half with a minor injury. Still, it was his fourth 100-yard game of the season. He picked up hard yards between the tackles and also broke free for long runs on the outside. “He has got good vision and is able to see more than what is just right in front of his nose,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. Hubert was productive last season, but he was up and down. He has made vast improvements in his game, and is consistently churning out yards this year. His presence in the backfield has taken considerable pressure off of quarterback Collin Klein, which is a big reason why he is a better player this year, too.

2. Time of possession isn’t always important.
No team values the time-of-possession stat more than K-State. But Saturday’s game proved holding the ball for long periods of time doesn’t always mean you are going to win the game. Kansas won the possession battle by a wide margin 36:56 to 23:04, but lost by 40 points. K-State scored 56 points on 51 plays. With that kind of efficiency, it doesn’t matter how long the other team has the ball.

3. K-State needs to work on defending short, quick passes.
The final score doesn’t show it, but the Jayhawks came out with a good offensive game plan against the Wildcats. With K-State defensive backs playing off the line of scrimmage in a nickel defense, Kansas methodically moved the ball with short, quick passes. And the Wildcats were slow to adjust. They stayed with their same defensive lineup even though Kansas refused to throw down field and it seemed like inserting linebackers Tre Walker and Justin Tuggle on a more regular basis would have been enough to stop the Jayhawks. K-State made some adjustments in the second half, got a lot of pressure on Dayne Crist and eventually had lots of success. But Kansas doesn’t have the talent or discipline to play well for a full game. Future opponents will, and they might use short, quick passes against the Wildcats. “For the shorter passes we have got to be more disruptive than we were,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to create some distraction for the quarterback so he doesn’t have those easy throws, then you just have to improve getting your underneath coverage where they need to be.”

A few that were good:
1. Collin Klein
He ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns. So it was a good day for the Wildcats’ quarterback. He could have been more accurate with a few passes, but he made a perfect throw to Tyler Lockett for a 34-yard touchdown and averaged nearly 12 yards per rush.

2. John Hubert
Think what he could have done with 20 carries.

3. Tavon Rooks
Against Oklahoma, K-State was successful running to the left. Against Kansas, K-State was successful running to its right, too. Rooks played a great game at right tackle, and contributed in several areas.

4. Torrell Miller
Lots of people get credit when a team runs for 346 yards, and Miller deserves some for the way he blocked on Saturday. K-State continually had tons of free space on the outside to run. He was a big reason why.

“Our outside blocking was really good,” receiver Chris Harper said. “I don’t know if anyone paid attention to Torrell Miller’s blocking on the edge, but he killed his dude both times. That’s what sprung John.”

5. Ty Zimmerman
The junior safety is quickly establishing himself as one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12. Zimmerman led K-State with 11 tackles and picked off a pass in his second straight game.

6. Tyler Lockett
He ran an outstanding route on his 34-yard touchdown grab, going right at his defender most of the way and then exploding past him to get open in the end zone. Lockett also was strong in the return game, continually giving K-State good field position on kickoffs and punts.

7. Jarell Childds
The linebacker had five tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. K-State clearly favors its nickel defense this season, which means Childs is getting plenty of playing time. He is making the best of it right now.

A few that were bad:
1. Cornelius Lucas
He missed badly trying to make a block on the first drive of the game, which led to a three-and-out, and committed a false-start penalty. The K-State left tackle played fine overall, but those two mistakes stood out on the offensive line.

2. Special teams defense
K-State was completely fooled by a fake punt from Kansas in the first half. With the Wildcats trying to set up a return, KU punter Ron Doherty ran straight up the middle for a 13-yard gain and a first down. A few plays later, Kansas easily pulled off a fake field goal. Once again, the Wildcats didn’t see it coming. But they should have considering Kansas had just tried a fake.

3. Second-team offense
It would have been nice to see what DeMarcus Robinson or some of the other K-State backups on offense could do in the fourth quarter, but K-State asked Daniel Sams to run the ball on almost every play in the fourth quarter.

Coaching critique
By Snyder’s standards, he did a poor coaching job in the first half. Charlie Weis came out with a strategy that totally surprised K-State, and the Wildcats failed to take advantage of an easy scoring chance at the end of the first half for the second game. K-State was slow to adjust defensively, and couldn’t score from the KU 5 with a timeout and 16 seconds on the clock. Snyder made all the right calls in the second half, and the final score proves it, but there were some decisions he wishes he could have back.

Key play you may have overlooked
On K-State’s second drive of the game, it executed a perfect play-action pass. Klein and Hubert had just ran a successful option play, and Kansas was expecting another run. So when Klein faked a handoff to Hubert, tight end Travis Tannahill ended up being wide open across the middle. Klein flipped an easy pass to him for a 24-yard gain. The Wildcats haven’t utilized the play action a whole lot this season, but maybe they will more moving forward.

Statistically speaking
After falling behind 14-7, K-State outscored Kansas 49-2.

Quote to note
“Our offense seemed like they were scoring as soon as they got on the field,” – Ty Zimmerman.