Sunday Rewind: K-State 24, Missouri 17

Overall Assessment: When Kansas State’s 24-17 victory over Missouri was complete Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Collin Klein summed up the afternoon by describing his mindset heading into the final drive of the game.

Bad weather, a pair of reversed calls and two late Missouri touchdowns tried to put a damper on things, but Klein would have none of it. When K-State got the ball with 5 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, it led by seven points and didn’t want to let things get dramatic the way they did the past two weeks.

Saturday’s victory was the Wildcats’ most complete effort of the season, and Klein wanted to make sure it ended with him taking a knee.

“It was our time,” Klein said. “We were saying to each other, ‘We’ve got to go win the game.’ The defense has been playing great and doing a great job for us. That was really our chance to run off about 5 minutes of clock. It’s something you’ve got to be able to do. It’s a family affair. You’ve got be there for your team and we were able to do it.”

Yes they did. K-State’s defense once again carried the flag, but its offense showed considerable toughness and poise in the second half. It did what it had to to help the Wildcats improve to 5-0. Like Snyder likes to say, “It was a team victory.” 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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Position Preview: Wide Receivers


Kansas State lost its top wide receiver from a year ago, and no one currently on the Wildcats’ roster amassed more than 330 receiving yards a year ago.

And yet … Many expect wide receiver to be one of K-State’s most dependable and stable positions this season.

How does that work? The answer isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Injuries kept Tramaine Thompson and Brodrick Smith from playing full seasons a year ago. And they forced Sheldon Smith into missing every game with a redshirt. Now all three are healthy, and combined with junior Chris Harper, K-State welcomes back a quartet of players who should provide Collin Klein with plenty of solid targets.

Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett could also find their way onto the field in meaningful situations if they continue showing promise in fall practices. As is the trend on this K-State team, that will make the Wildcats a deeper receiving unit than they were a year ago, when walk-ons were catching passes in what seemed like every game.
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Farewell to … Aubrey Quarles


Editor’s Note: The Kansas State football team is about to lose several key seniors to graduation. In the coming weeks, we will bid farewell to many of them. First up: Aubrey Quarles.

No senior on Kansas State’s roster stepped up more for the Wildcats in 2010 than Aubrey Quarles.

The senior wide receiver entered the season as a promising but unproven pass-catcher next to Brodrick Smith, Tramaine Thompson, Adrian Hilburn and Chris Harper. He ended it as the best of the group.

His rise couldn’t have come at a better time. With Brandon Banks gone, coaches were hoping to spread the ball around to a handful of receivers. Then Smith and Thompson got hurt and spent the second half of the season watching from the sidelines.

K-State badly needed a go-to threat in the passing game, and Quarles became that go-to threat. On the season, he led the Wildcats in catches (51) receiving yardage (760) and receiving touchdowns (5). Read More »

Moving on without Brodrick Smith

Without Brodrick Smith in the lineup, Kansas State will have to go the remainder of the season without one of its top wide receivers and best red-zone target.

That is not good news for the Wildcats. Their passing game was already struggling, and now they will have to get Chris Harper and Adrian Hilburn acclimated to more regular usage.

The adjustment will be easy for Harper, who has caught five passes for 50 yards and a touchdown this season. He started against Nebraska and has handled heavy workloads in the past. But Hilburn has just three catches for 21 yards to his name. He will be asked to do more in the coming weeks.

K-State coach Bill Snyder expects the entire receiving core to be up for the challenge of responding to Smith’s injury.

“Like everybody else they were pained by it,” Snyder said. “They’re the guys who sit in the same meeting rooms together every day and communicate and work together on the field. It’s painful. It’s like an injury to a family member, a brother. But all of our players respond the same way. They feel bad and realize they have to move on.”
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Postgame: K-State 48, Missouri State 24

MSU1

After preaching the importance of offensive balance all week, the Kansas State Wildcats proved they could do more than run the ball Saturday.

Carson Coffman passed for a career high 280 yards and three touchdowns. Brodrick Smith grabbed six catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Aubrey Quarles made seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Good numbers all around. Sure, they came against a suspect Missouri State defense, but they were nice to see all the same.

“I feel like I became more comfortable in the success I had out there,” Coffman said. “Just showing myself I could go out there and do it in a real game. I think that was huge for me.” Read More »

Position Preview: Returners

Brodrick Smith

Who will replace Brandon Banks as Kansas State’s main kick returner?

That is a question that has been asked countless times heading into the upcoming football season.

On Tuesday, Wildcats coach Bill Snyder gave us an answer. On kickoffs, Terrance Sweeney and Brodrick Smith will line up nearest the end zone. For punts, Tramaine Thompson and Smith will do most of the sprinting.
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Few surprises on K-State depth chart

As expected yesterday, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder named senior Carson Coffman his starting quarterback.

At his weekly news conference today, Snyder once again stuck with the familiar when he released the depth chart for Saturday’s game against UCLA.

Most of his starters have on-field experience, and were names most of us in the media expected to see. But there were a few surprises.

For starters, Tramaine Thompson will start at wide receiver along with Aubrey Quarles and Brodrick Smith. Read More »

Position preview: Wide Receivers

Quarles
Editor’s note: This is the first of 10 position previews that will appear on K-Stated in preparation of the upcoming football season.

Aubrey Quarles. Brodrick Smith. Chris Harper.

Merely looking at those names gives Kansas State football coaches and players confidence. Together, they make up a core group of wide receivers that are expected to bring new-found depth and toughness to the Wildcats’ roster.

In each of the past two seasons, K-State had neither. Brandon Banks was the team’s only reliable target (he caught 56 passes for 705 yards and a touchdown last year compared to a combined 52 catches, 677 yards and five touchdowns from the Wildcats’ other everyday wide outs) and his game was built around speed. When it came to big, dependable receivers, the Wildcats had few options.

But last year’s receiving stats will have no impact on this season. Banks and teammates Attrail Snipes and Lamark Brown are all gone. Collin Klein is now a full-time quarterback.

K-State has completely turned over at wide receiver. And while Quarles, Smith and Harper bring optimism to Snyder Family Stadium, they also combined for zero catches last year.
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Spring football look back

Kansas State started its spring season with questions at several key positions, and many of those questions remain.

But some were answered, allowing us to better speculate how the Wildcats will look in a little more than four months when their season begins against UCLA at Snyder Family Stadium.

For starters, coach Bill Snyder has established Carson Coffman as the front-runner at quarterback.
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