Kansas State ended the regular season in style with a 42-24 victory over Texas on Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The win gave the Wildcats their first Big 12 championship since 2003 and earned them a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
They got to celebrate both achievements in front of a frenzied crowd that rushed the field when the game was over.
How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
1. Senior days don’t get much better than that
Not only did important Kansas State seniors such as Collin Klein and Arthur Brown get a proper sendoff in their final home game, the Wildcats found redemption following their only loss of the season. No one knew how players would respond to their first loss, especially with two weeks to dwell on it, but K-State bounced back the way good teams do. The wild celebration that followed the game was well deserved.
2. K-State might want to use John Hubert more in the Fiesta Bowl
When Hubert was in the game on Saturday, good things happened. He carried the ball 14 times, gained double-digit yardage on two of the touches and scored three touchdowns. He has been splitting time with Angelo Pease the last few games, and there are times when Pease helps the offense, but K-State might be better served to use Hubert more than they are. He is the team’s best running back, and the offense plays better when he lines up behind Klein.
3. If K-State draws Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, it will be an interesting matchup.
Chris Harper used to play at Oregon and these two schools were at one time scheduled to play this year before both sides came to a mutual agreement to cancel the home-and-home series. So K-State/Oregon will be compelling for several reasons. Beyond that, though, it will be interesting to see how K-State’s defense handled Oregon’s fast-paced, quick-strike offense. The Ducks run lots of plays and have lots of speed. Texas hurt K-State with its speed on Saturday, and Baylor ravaged the Wildcats with its up-tempo style two weeks ago. But with plenty of time to prepare, there’s no telling how the game will go. At the least it should be entertaining.
A few that were good:
The senior quarterback amassed 292 total yards of offense and three touchdowns in his final home game. His 55-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett at the start of the fourth quarter gave him a highlight moment on his way to leading K-State to a Big 12 championship.
The running back took advantage of the 14 carries he got and rushed for 66 yards and three touchdowns. He should be getting the ball 20 times a game.
Lockett’s speed is a big attribute to K-State’s offense. When he wasn’t at full speed against Baylor, K-State struggled to throw the ball down field. But he was a deep threat on Saturday and had 73 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Brown shook off a poor performance against Baylor by making 11 tackles against Texas. He was one of the best defenders on the field.
The cornerback continues to make big plays out of the nickel formation. On Saturday, he came through with seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. He was everywhere.
He provided constant pressure on the edge and led K-State’s defensive line in a nice effort against the Longhorns’ rushing attack. He made seven tackles and a sack.
A few that were bad:
The freshman safety was better than last week, especially against the pass, but he needs work defending the run.
He can be a good change-of-pace runner alongside Hubert, but it seems like he has been playing too much the last few games. The offense moves better when Hubert is the featured runner.
You know why he made the bad section. But let’s go over the play again, anyway. The senior cornerback provided an important interception in the first quarter but foolishly dropped the ball short of the end zone before he could finish off a pick six. That’s a lock for Sportscenter’s Not top 10 plays. Luckily, K-State retained possession and scored on the next play.
Didn’t clear the way as a lead blocker or catch any passes.
Key play you may have overlooked
One play that had a deceivingly large impact on the game: Case McCoy’s intentional grounding penalty in the second quarter. The Longhorns were driving and within relatively easy field goal range, but K-State got heavy pressure on him on third down and he heaved the ball out of bounds to avoid the sack. When he was flagged for throwing the ball away, Texas decided to try a fake field goal on its final play of the half and failed miserably. Texas only went into the break up 10-7. That helped K-State comeback quickly in the second half.
Texas had the better gameplan most of the night, but in typical K-State fashion the Wildcats wore the Longhorns down and won rather easily despite getting outgained. Bill Snyder had his players ready to fight until the end. He did a marvelous job coaching this season and guiding the Wildcats to a conference championship.
Nine different Texas players attempted a rush. The Longhorns tried all sorts of new ways to move the ball against K-State.
Quote to note
“You have got to give K-State a lot of credit, they have built a wonderful place here and it is a touch place to play.” – Mack Brown.