Sunday Rewind: Texas 31, K-State 21

Kansas State players seemed to take this loss harder than the opener. The Wildcats came into the game with what they thought was a strong gameplan. They were confident they could hurt Texas for big plays the same way past teams have. They fully expected to win. Instead, the Longhorns jumped out to a big lead and won 31-21.

Bill Snyder said he was “extremely” disappointed with his team’s execution and said more leadership is needed.

Players said they needed to use the upcoming bye week to fix problems before heading off for another difficult game at Oklahoma State.

The next few days will be important. How will K-State respond from a loss in its conference opener?

And with that, here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

THREE THOUGHTS

1. K-State’s defense has reverted back to its 2010 form.
Remember the 2010 season, when K-State went 7-6 and played in the Pinstripe Bowl? This team is starting to resemble that group. Not only is it losing as many games as it is winning, its defense can’t get off the field. That defense routinely gave up big yardage with Arthur Brown on the scout team. This one is giving up third-down conversions with Arthur Brown in the NFL. There is no doubt the Wildcats miss their star linebacker. Their top playmakers at the moment appear to be Blake Slaughter, Kip Daily and Ty Zimmerman. But there is a dropoff from there. Teams are picking on Dorrian Roberts deep, the defensive line is struggling to mount a consistent pass rush and no one can defend the middle of the field in zone pass coverage. Zimmerman puts the struggles this way: “We got lined up good. We just got out-executed.”

2. If the Wildcats want to use two quarterbacks they should trust both quarterbacks.
Here is how obvious K-State’s play-calling was in the first half. When Daniel Sams entered the game, a run was coming. When Jake Waters was under center, a pass was coming. At one point, Waters looked like a third-down specialist. Coaches, for whatever reason, didn’t want Sams to throw. That’s a shame, because he ran the ball well (48 yards on eight carries) and the Longhorns were starting to load up the box to stop him. A play-action pass could have gone for a big gain. Instead, Waters came in and everyone knew what the play was going to be. Many seem divided on the two-quarterback system. Snyder once again said K-State should have used him more than it did. Tramaine Thompson questioned his coaches and wondered why Sams wasn’t used in both running and passing situations. “It’s frustrating because Daniel can do both and we haven’t shown it,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty frustrating because we all know that’s how they feel and we need to mix it up.”

3. A new leader needs to step up in the locker room.
In my eyes, K-State’s most respected and most vocal leaders are B.J. Finney, Tyler Lockett and Blake Slaughter. The Wildcats need another strong voice, preferably a playmaker, if they are going to take a step forward. Finney is the center. Lockett relies on the quarterback to make plays. Slaughter isn’t a highlight machine. Who is the playmaker or leader everyone else on this team looks up to? Last year, K-State had one on both sides of the ball with Arthur Brown and Collin Klein. That’s a big reason why it was so successful. Perhaps Waters could develop into that guy on offense. But he doesn’t seem very vocal. Sams is extremely vocal, but it’s hard to lead as the backup quarterback. John Hubert could step into that role, but he is off to a slow start. Ryan Mueller is a candidate on defense. So is Travis Britz. K-State needs a new dynamic. Who will embrace the challenge?

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

A few that were good:

Tyler Lockett
How good was Lockett? Record-setting good. The junior receiver had 237 yards on 13 catches and broke Jordy Nelson’s single-game record of 214. He continually got open deep and averaged more than 20 yards per catch. He was the only consistent spark on offense.

Blake Slaughter
The defense struggled overall, but Slaughter looked solid. He had a team-high 10 tackles, three pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

Tramaine Thompson
Came through with an important 40-yard punt return in the fourth quarter and caught three balls for 18 yards. He also showed leadership after the game. He probably should have been used more than he was.

Chaquil Reed
Reed was K-State’s best defensive lineman. He had seven tackles up front and a sack.

A few that were bad:
Dorrian Roberts
Give Roberts credit for rebounding from a dreadful start to breakup two passes, but Texas knew he was the guy to challenge early and beat him badly for a 63-yard touchdown pass.

Andre McDonald
The tight end was useless as a blocker. Texas defenders continually shoved him out of the way and put pressure on Jake Waters.

Jake Waters
He had quite a connection with Tyler Lockett, but couldn’t get much of anything else going. His biggest problem continues to be turnovers. He lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter and ruined whatever small chance K-State had to get back in the game. He now has seven turnovers on the year, with five coming on interceptions. That is a big change from last year, when Collin Klein had nine turnovers for the season.

Offensive line
K-State’s offensive line looks overrated. The entire unit returned from last year, yet it can’t keep defenders out of the backfield or help the Wildcats run the ball. Texas has an atrocious run defense, but K-State managed just 115 rushing yards against it.

COACHING CRITIQUE
Here’s what Snyder said about the coaching staff: “We didn’t coach this game very well. We need to do a better job.”

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
BYU and Mississippi ran for more than 800 yards against Texas over the past two weeks. K-State ran for 115 yards against Texas on Saturday.

QUOTE TO NOTE
“They did everything we thought they were going to do. We just didn’t make the plays.” — Tramaine Thompson

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