Sunday Rewind: K-State 51, Missouri State 9

Kansas State’s 51-9 victory over Missouri State on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium was the closest 42-point victory you will ever see.

At halftime, the Wildcats led 9-6 and everyone feared this could be Eastern Kentucky all over again.

Early in the third quarter, the Bears tied things up at 9-9.

As the clock ran out, it was a blowout.

So how did K-State turn a game that was tied in the second half into the lopsided victory all BCS conference teams hope for on opening night?

Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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A few minutes with … Angelo Pease

At about this time last year, Angelo Pease was just happy to be at Kansas State. After spending two years at Hutchinson Community College, he was thrilled to finally be playing at the Division I level.

He entered his first season with the Wildcats as a backup running back and finished with 144 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Not bad considering he only got 36 carries, and was battling a nagging injury.

Pease is still the backup running back today, behind John Hubert, but he is looking to make a larger impact in his senior season. He says he is healthy now, and ready to help K-State out of the wildcat formation (he lined up at quarterback a few times last year) or by taking traditional hand offs.

How excited are you for the season to start?

I’m very excited. I can’t wait. Every practice I go to is a day closer to the moment, this Saturday. I’m ready and excited to come out here and play in front of the fans now that I am 100 percent and healthy.

What was the hardest thing about playing with an injury last year?

It was hard. Some of my teammates needed me, but I couldn’t give 100 percent, so I just stayed back. A year ago I was fresh. I was new into it. It was a lot coming at me all at one time. But now I have a year under my belt. Things still come at me fast, but I’m more mature now. I’m more level. I can handle more things now. It’s not as hard.

Can you say anything about the specifics of your injury?

I ain’t going to talk about my injury. That’s just something we don’t do here.

Fair enough. What is the biggest difference in your running style now that you are healthy?

It’s going to be a big difference because I can come out here and use all of my talents. Last year, I was limited. This year I can come out and show the fans and my teammates that I really can play. I can live up to all the hype and not let my teammates down. Letting my teammates down is probably the worst thing you can do. My injury, it affected a lot of stuff. But I’m a competitor, whatever I go through I am still going to try as hard as I can.
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 53, Texas A&M 50

Overall Assessment:
Kansas State was without one of its top offensive playmakers, its quarterback was clearly in pain when the game began and several of its defensive players had to fight through injuries in the second half.

Not an ideal combination for a team trying to bounce back from disappointing losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

But, in typical K-State fashion, the Wildcats found a way to win. In four overtimes! Yes, I just used an exclamation mark.

Saturday’s game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium was one of the strangest and most exciting of the season. Combined with last week’s entertaining 52-45 loss at Oklahoma State, the Wildcats are delivering must-see TV to ABC/ESPN.

At 8-2 overall and 5-2 in Big 12 play, plenty of bowl games are starting to look at them. With a strong finish, they could end up in the Cotton Bowl.

K-State still has plenty to work on if it hopes to get an invitation to the Big 12’s top non BCS bowl. It continues to start games slowly, and was once again unable to sack the opposing quarterback. But as long as it continues to play with the resolve it has all season, K-State will have a shot at a 10-win season.

“With the exception of one ballgame, they’ve done it week in, week out,” Snyder said. “… It’s all about how we respond to things, and I think with the exception of kind of getting a little full of ourselves prior to the Oklahoma ballgame, I think we’ve responded quite well.”

Against Texas A&M, the Wildcats rallied from a 14-0 deficit, a 31-21 deficit and won in quadruple overtime. It was a fitting end to the series before the Aggies jump to the SEC. The only other overtime game K-State has played came against Texas A&M in the 1998 Big 12 championship game.

Collin Klein once again led K-State’s offense to the victory, and the defense came through with big plays when it had to behind Nigel Malone and Emmanuel Lamur. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 37, Kent State 0

Overall Assessment: Kansas State looked like an all-around better football team than it did two weeks ago, but it still has room to grow. Up next is a very difficult road test against Miami, which beat Ohio State last night. The competition will be much harder in South Beach than it has been at home in front of sellout crowds, and we will probably learn more about the Wildcats in that game than we have so far.

Still, we know a few things about them today.

For starters, K-State’s defense continues to look like a legitimately strong unit. It has allowed a total of seven points in two games, and the one touchdown it allowed came only after Eastern Kentucky started a drive one yard away from the end zone. So it has essentially come up with two shutouts. Regardless of the competition, that is impressive.

Less is known on the offensive side of the ball, where Collin Klein made a nice pass late to beat Eastern Kentucky and led K-State to a solid first half against Kent State, but then sputtered in the second. Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:

Player Evaluations

Five that were good:

1. Arthur Brown. The junior linebacker is making a huge difference on K-State’s defense. On Saturday he made 12 tackles, two for losses, and closed on the ball faster than anyone else on the field. When Snyder hints that he is the best defensive player he has coached since coming out of retirement, he isn’t kidding. Here’s the scary thing: Both Brown and Snyder think he hasn’t reached his top form.

2. David Garrett. The interception he returned for a touchdown early in the first quarter set the tone for the game. K-State’s defense was ready to overwhelm Kent State in all phases, and the Wildcats used Garrett’s big play as a springboard to an excellent night. Garrett is one of the most underrated players in the conference, often getting overlooked because of size even though he led the Wildcats in tackles a year ago. But he had a highlight moment last night.
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On John Hubert as K-State’s top RB

Kansas State has a running back hierarchy in place.

Even though Wildcats coach Bill Snyder has said his running backs have been in fierce competition with each other from the start of fall training camp to now, and even though the hierarchy could drastically change after Saturday’s game against Kent State, the point is we have a tangible order at the position.

1. John Hubert
2. Angelo Pease
3. Bryce Brown

A week after all three players split carries, there is no guarantee anyone other than Hubert will take hand-offs this Saturday. Snyder has said Pease will likely see a handful of touches, but he doesn’t know if Brown will see the field.

That means K-State fans need to get used to the idea of Hubert, at least in the short term, being the Wildcats’ featured running back. After rushing for 91 yards on 17 carries, including a long of 20 yards, against Eastern Kentucky, Hubert has earned the right to start.
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Handicapping K-State’s RB situation

We are almost 24 hours away from the beginning of Kansas State’s football season, and still we have no definitive answer on who Bill Snyder will choose as the Wildcats’ starting running back.

Angelo Pease, John Hubert, Bryce Brown, Robert Rose … Snyder insists it could be any one of them.

My opinion throughout this process has been that Brown, the nation’s top-ranked running back recruit coming out of high school, will ultimately become K-State’s featured back. But I am leaning toward Pease or Hubert getting the start against Eastern Kentucky.

Why? I will explain below, and offer a few odds on who I think will take the first hand-off of the season.

Before I do, it is worth pointing out that this competition could end up helping the Wildcats down the road. In each of the past two seasons, Daniel Thomas handled an incredible workload. As a junior, he carried the ball 247 times, and that was with capable backup Keithen Valentine behind him. As a senior, he went up to 298 carries, and that was with William Powell and his 10.9 yards per carry average behind him.

He went on to lead the Big 12 in rushing both seasons, but some thought he could have benefited from some added rest.

If Snyder thinks he has four capable running backs on the roster, maybe he decides to spread his carries around this year. Anyway, on to the odds …
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