The Kansas State Wildcats seemed to be a team trying to sharpen their running game Saturday night in their 37-7 win against the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Wildcats will face the Texas Longhorns this coming Saturday, and it is no secret the Longhorns rush defense is not sound. Texas has given up over 800 yards on the ground alone in back-to-back non conference losses.
Bill Snyder knows this and spent most of the game against the Minutemen ordering his team to run the ball on offense, barely even bothering with the pass at all. It should be an exciting game next Saturday in Austin.
Let’s take a look on how the Wildcats graded out in this game against the Wildcats.
RUNNING GAME: The Wildcats piled up 329 yards rushing on 46 carries, an impressive 7.2 average. John Hubert carried most of the load with 18 rushes for 118 yards. Daniel Sams added 77 yards, and even Jake Waters showed off his legs, gaining 74 yards on the ground. In theory, Texas shouldn’t be as easy to run against as UMass, but you never know.
GRADE – A+
PASSING GAME: Kansas State only threw 12 total passes in the game but totaled 127 yards through the air. Daniel Sams was 2 for 2, showing he can pass the ball on a smaller scale. Jake Waters threw another interception, and he needs to take care of the ball against Texas. All in all, Kansas State averaged an effective 10.6 yards per pass, so when they passed, it worked. The wide receivers didn’t produce much in a reduced role but tight end Glenn Gronkowski, younger brother to the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, did catch a 50-yard touchdown pass, and Hubert caught two passes for 50 yards and a score.
OFFENSE GRADE: A-
RUN DEFENSE: The Wildcats held UMass to just 3.2 yards a carry with the longest being just 18 yards. The Minutemen did there best t0 force the run but had very little success making it work against Kansas State. The Wildcats weren’t smothering, but they weren’t very giving either.
PASS DEFENSE: UMass completed nearly 70% of their pass attempts but gained little yardage doing so. They accumulated just 186 yards while completing 21 on 31 attempts, averaging just 5.8 yards per attempt. Kip Daily picked off two off the passes, returning them for 45 total yards.
DEFENSIVE GRADE: A-
There was really very little on which to judge the Wildcats on special teams. No kick off returns, only 2 punts, and one punt return (for 1 yard). The two punts only averaged 35 yards but each pinned the Minutemen inside the 20. Place kicker Jake Cantele hit a 42-yard field goal but also missed an extra point. Can’t do that against the Longhorns.
SPECIAL TEAM GRADE: C+
OTHER GAME NOTES
First Downs: KSU 22, Umass 17
Time of Possession: KSU 29:31, UMass 30:29
Third Down COnversions: KSU 7-11, UMass 7-17
Turnovers: KSU 1, UMass 2
Kansas State did just what they wanted, and needed, to do to a much weaker opponent. The Wildcats had some work to do in the running game it appears they have improved in that area. Texas is obviously having a lot of trouble stopping the run, but they are still Texas, and they are playing at home. Expect a heavy does of Daniel Sams Saturday. Texas will have to stop Kansas State on the ground, and the Longhorns have not proved up that task thus far. It should be a very entertaining game.
OVERALL GAME GRADE: B+
Kansas State (2-1) travels to Austin for the showdown with the reeling Texas Longhorns (1-2). Kick off is at 7 p.m. CDT and will be broadcast on ABC.