Sunday Rewind: K-State 30, Iowa State 23

Overall Assessment:
Coming into Saturday’s game against Iowa State, the Kansas State football team wanted to win the final game of the regular season for several reasons. Players viewed a 10-win season as a great accomplishment, and wanted to put themselves within reach of a BCS bowl.

But they also wanted to send the seniors out on top. After beating the Cyclones 30-23, it sounded like players were motivated by that more than anything else.

“We just wanted to win the game for them,” sophomore linebacker Tre Walker said. “It wasn’t about Iowa State. It wasn’t about getting a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship. We just wanted to win it for them because we love them so much.”

Throughout the week, seniors and upperclassmen were allowed to give speeches to the rest of the team. Some of the most emotional came on Friday night at the team hotel.

Senior cornerback David Garrett said he was the first to speak to the whole team on Wednesday, and that after hearing everyone’s take on the season he thought the team was fired up to play.

“Our team, we care a about each other a lot,” Garrett said. “We are always together. Everything we do, even if it has nothing to do with football we do it together. Us stepping up like that and showing that we care and expressing ourselves, it gets to people and makes us go hard.”

Well, K-State’s seniors went out in style. They finished the season 10-2 and finished second to only Oklahoma State in the final Big 12 standings. Now it will wait to find out if it makes a BCS bowl.

If the Cowboys play in the BCS title game, the Wildcats could head to the Fiesta Bowl. If Alabama heads to the BCS title game, K-State may go to the Sugar Bowl. Or maybe K-State will end up in the Cotton Bowl. It will definitely be one of those three. We’ll know for sure in a few hours.

Here’s a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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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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Position Preview: Linebacker


Of all the positions on Kansas State’s football team, the Wildcats should be most improved at linebacker.

By a wide margin.

Instead of rotating between a veteran, two underclassmen and a converted safety at two spots on the field, K-State coaches will have six players with experience at the position to turn to.

With Miami transfer Arthur Brown leading the way in the middle, many expect the Wildcats to be a completely different defense in 2011. His presence allows K-State to switch from a 4-2-5 formation, which hasn’t worked at all against explosive opponents, to a more traditional 4-3.

Along with the return of Alex Hrebec, a senior who is coming off a season in which he made 77 tackles, and Tre Walker, who looked good making 47 tackles as a freshman, K-State should have a solid group of starters. Maybe even a group the defense can lean on.
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New linebackers give K-State depth, options

One of the most important needs of the Kansas State football team in 2011 will be improved play from its linebackers.

The Wildcats were weak on defense a year ago, and a lack of depth and experience at linebacker was a big reason why. Alex Hrebec was the only proven player at the position to start the season, and underclassmen Jarell Childs, Blake Slaughter and Tre Walker all had to play major roles.

That entire group returns this year, along with Emmanuel Lamur, a converted safety, and Arthur Brown, a former high school All-American.

Lamur’s athleticism, Brown’s upside and the rest of the unit’s experience has created hope. K-State coach Bill Snyder already sees improvement.

“The group as a whole, we run better,” Snyder said. “I think we’re probably going to be a little more physical. I think we’re going to be a little bit better defending against the pass, because we’re probably a little more athletic than what we were.”
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Postgame: OSU 24, K-State 14

OSUFootballThomas

A week ago, 42 points seemed like all the Kansas State football team would need to defeat Baylor. Yesterday, holding Oklahoma State to 24 points seemed like all the defense it would need to hand the Cowboys a loss.

As it turned out, neither scenario led to a Wildcats win.

One week, the offense is good and the defense is bad. The next week, the offense sputters and the defense delivers. Clearly, K-State needs both to win games. Here’s a deeper look:
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Postgame: Baylor 47, K-State 42

Kansas State’s offense was good. Its defense was bad. That’s all you really need to know about the Wildcats’ 47-42 loss at Baylor yesterday.

But here is a deeper look at everything that transpired in Waco, anyway.

THE GOOD
1. Aubrey Quarles is turning into a real weapon at wide receiver. The senior caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown Saturday, and was consistently wide open. His route running improves every game, and he has the best hands on the team.

2. William Powell is no Brandon Banks, but he is awful close. The backup running back terrorized Baylor with huge kick return after huge kick return, and regularly gave K-State stellar field position. He took four returns up field for 172 yards, and broke free for a 100-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
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Postgame: K-State 17, Central Florida 13

UCFFelder

The Kansas State Wildcats struggled throughout most of the game, but when it mattered most they came up with big plays and defeated Central Florida 17-13.

Here’s a look back at everything that transpired Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium — good, bad and interesting:

FIVE THINGS THAT WENT WELL
1. I don’t know if K-State has earned the nickname “Comeback Cats” yet, but it has trailed in the second half of three games this season and won all three.

Saturday’s fourth-quarter rally past Central Florida was easily the most dramatic. The Wildcats’ final drive erased an entire afternoon of struggles, kept their perfect record intact and proved there is no quit on the K-State sideline.
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Postgame: K-State 27, Iowa State 20

ISUThomas

Kansas State defeated Iowa State 27-20 on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. Daniel Thomas did most of the leg work by running for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, and the Wildcats are hoping to parlay their 3-0 start into a promising season.

Here’s a look at everything that transpired — good, bad and interesting — between the Wildcats and Cyclones:

FIVE THINGS THAT WENT WELL
1. Thomas deserves first mention. Before the game started, K-State coach Bill Snyder told the senior running back to be ready to carry the load. He did.

The Wildcats went to him a career-high 34 times, and he delivered from start to finish. It wasn’t the easiest of experiences, but Thomas said he felt strong afterward. Read More »

Gameday Preview: K-State vs. Iowa State

Farmageddon_lineup

Do a Google Images search on the term “Farmageddon” and very little comes up about Kansas State and Iowa State. Instead you get all kinds of unintentionally hilarious cartoon drawings of farmers and farm animals like the ones featured here.

Too bad, because the Wildcats and Cyclones lived up to their end of the bargain in their first neutral-site game at Arrowhead Stadium last year. The two teams played a fantastic game that wasn’t decided until the final moments when Emmanuel Lamur blocked an extra point.

K-State won 24-23, and the 40,851 in attendance left speaking highly of their experiences. But unless something drastic changes in the minds of John Currie and Bill Snyder following Saturday’s rematch, the series is headed back to Manhattan and Ames in the future.

It’s the right move to make, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats and Cyclones can’t put on another great show in Kansas City.
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