The 2013 K-State Wildcats’ football season had high expectations for fans. Many thought that the 2013 Wildcats would have similar results to the 2012 Wildcats. But right out of the gates, K-State proved those people wrong with a 24-21 loss to North Dakota State. After having sky high expectations, it’s necessary to reevaluate what the Wildcats can realistically accomplish after seeing them play four games.
Having two quarterbacks who do opposite things is great, in theory. But then when that team gets into the season without a clear-cut leader at quarterback, other players get confused. Who’s leading this team? Who do we rely on when it’s crunch time? Who’s the guy we support? This is one of many problems on this year’s K-State Wildcats football team.
Jake Waters is a good passing quarterback. He is accurate most of the time and he has a lot of power in his arm. But with five interceptions and a couple fumbles at key times in a games, his decision making has now been brought into question. Many Wildcat fans would like to see Daniel Sams behind center. In limited action, Sams has rushed for 157 yards on 21 carries, with three touchdowns. When passing, Sams has completed 75 percent of his attempts. But the problem is that he has only thrown four passes. No one outside of the K-State facilities knows what to expect from Sams’ arm.
The bottom line is that one quarterback needs to be picked to play all the snaps for the rest of the year. That quarterback needs to be Waters. It takes time to build a rhythm in the passing game. When Waters was able to have extended playing time in the second half against Texas, he was able to find open receivers and move K-State down the field.
This is no condemnation on Sams at all. Sams has sparked K-State’s offense at times this season. In fact, he led K-State in rushing against Texas. But most of his yards have come on big plays, not long and steady drives. The Wildcats needs someone who can keep their defense off the field and move the ball down field methodically. Waters provides that option better than Sams.
It’d be an understatement to say the defense hasn’t looked good for most of the year. Cornerbacks have been burnt on simple “go” routes. The line has been blown off the ball on runs up the middle. The growing pains of having nine new starters is evident.
The Wildcat defense has struggled a lot this season, and the schedule is only getting harder. In fact K-State’s next two opponents, Baylor and Oklahoma State, are both ranked in the top ten in points per game. Baylor is first in the category, averaging 69.7 points per game. K-State must get more crafty with defensive schemes, or else it will be incredibly difficult to hang with these elite offenses.
It’s going to be a struggle for K-State for the remainder of the year. The Big 12 has great offenses, and that plays directly against the Wildcats’ biggest weakness. K-State also needs to have a defined leader at quarterback. Whether it’s Waters or Sams, one player needs to be given the reins so the rest of the team can follow.
K-State can definitely pull out wins against KU, Iowa State, and West Virginia. The game against TCU will be tough, but they can win that game too, partially because it’s in Manhattan. If the Wildcats win those four games, they will be bowl eligible. They really need to get to seven wins if they want to be secured a bowl, but that would mean beating one of the powerhouse Big 12 offenses. It will be interesting to see how the Wildcats respond to what has been a tough season so far.