Christmas came three days late for Kansas State Wildcat fans, but they got their wish: the Wildcats won their first bowl game since 2002. K-State throttled Michigan, 31-14.
The Wildcats came out on their first drive and methodically moved the ball down field. After taking 7:41 off the clock, K-State decided it was finally time to score and let Michigan have their turn. Michigan moved the ball down the field quickly, but stalled out and kicked a field goal. The first half was the death of the Wolverines. They answered K-State’s long, time consuming touchdown drives with field goals. This helped K-State build up a 21-6 lead at halftime.
This game easily could have been very different without key red zone stops by K-State. If the Wildcats had just let Michigan score touchdowns on the two field goal drives, who knows what the mindset could have been after halftime. But the better team stepped up and made the plays necessary to win the game.
In the second half, both teams looked pretty content with their respective fates. Neither squad put up much of an effort to build on cut into the lead that the Wildcats had build for themselves.
K-State fans could have started to feel a little uneasy in the third quarter when the first two drives resulted in a missed field goal and fumble. But Michigan squandered away their opportunities with a lack of offense.
Maybe the most entertaining part of the night was when Ryan Mueller dumped Gatorade on Bill Snyder. The desire for Mueller to do that wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing.
“I want to end the season on a positive note and feel and understand what the locker room feels like versus losing a bowl game and seeing the other team celebrating, and pouring Gatorade on their coach and wearing those championship hats,” Mueller said. “I want to pour Gatorade on Coach Snyder.”
K-State is just the 8th team in FBS history to start 2-4 and have a an eight win season. While Snyder isn’t hoisting the Big 12 trophy this year, this could be some of his best work. K-State steadily improved on both sides of the ball this year tremendously. With a young core, the Wildcats can be a very dangerous team in 2014.