That … completely … sucked.
Fairness in conversation right off the bat … I’ve been avoiding writing anything about the Kansas State football team for fear of upsetting the apple cart. Now that they’ve lost I can throw that bit of superstition in the trash. I just wish this article was coming on the heels of a Wildcat win in the BCS Championship games instead of following whatever it was that we all just witnessed in Waco this evening.
Baylor came out of the chute with a quick 38-yard touchdown from Nick Florence to Tevin Reese. I immediately sent my brother-in-law a quick chat message that I was really nervous about this game. Less than three and a half minutes later Collin Klein threw an 8-yard touchdown to Torell Miller. The game was tied but my nervousness remained.
The Bears punched, the Cats punched back.
Unfortunately Baylor kept punching and K-State was unable to get off the ropes the rest of the night. At the end of the 3rd quarter, sophomore back Lache Seastrunk shot through the Wildcats defense and raced 80 yards to the end zone. His run was the haymaker that sealed the game. It put the Bears up 52-24 and would be the last points either team would score.
Nate Florence had one of his worst games of the season in terms of production (238 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) but it didn’t really matter. The Bears more than made up for it on the ground rolling for 342 yards and 5 touchdowns on 49 carries. Sophomore back Lache Seastrunk racked up 185 yards on 19 carries giving him 379 yards on 51 carries in his last three games. Junior Glasco Martin also topped the century mark for the Bears tallying 113 yards on 19 carries of his own.
While we can’t say that the outcome would have been different if the K-State defense was at full force, they were clearly missing DB Ty Zimmerman and LB Tre Walker. On the other side of the ball WR Tyler Lockett’s ankle injury limited him to just 2 catches for 23 yards. Though there was some doubt about his status, he was able to play but clearly was less than 100%.
Heisman front-runner, Collin Klein completed just 54.0% of his passes on the night. It was his second lowest percentage of the season trailing only his 7-14 effort against the Kansas Jayhawks on October 6th. In that game Klein didn’t throw much and didn’t need to as the Wildcats sailed to a 56-16 win. Collin accounted for 2 TD passing as well as 113 yards and 2 TDs rushing in that game.
On Saturday night it wasn’t just his CMP% that suffered. Klein averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on the ground and finished with 39 yards. Both of those marks were season lows. He should still be included in Heisman conversation, mainly because it’s a largely muddled pack of candidates, but he is no longer out in front.
Individual awards aside, Baylor deserves a ton of credit for the win here. Their offense showed up in a big way, but that was expected. What was a surprise was the Bears defense. Not only did the team limit Klein on the ground, they also picked him off three times on the night. A stunning total given that he had thrown a total of three interceptions in the first ten games of the year. Even with the game clearly in hand the Bears kept K-State out of the end zone after Klein and company marched down the field on a 21 play, 74 yard drive that chewed up over 8 minutes of clock.
They were active, they were motivated and they played with a ton of energy and pride. Staked to a 28-7 lead, which they obviously had a big part in, Baylor’s D was able to play downhill for the majority of the game with momentum and the home crowd on their side.
Bill Snyder now has to get his team reoriented to the reality that faces them. Though the BCS title game is out of the picture, the Wildcats still have to take care of business against the #15 Texas Longhorns (8-2) on December 1st. The Big-12 title and automatic BCS birth is still within their grasp and if there is any coach in college football that can get his team to refocus, it’s Bill Snyder. As an added bonus he has a full two weeks to right the ship and get his team healthy and ready for the Longhorns.
Regardless of what happens between TCU (6-4) and Texas on the 22nd I fully expect a very angry and very motivated Wildcat team to take the field at Bill Snyder Stadium. Tonight I’m a bit heartbroken and disappointed, but there’s still plenty to play for and Kansas State has still had a fantastic season.