Grading the Wildcats: Game 3

24 Sep

Kansas State's David Garrett (27) stops Miami's Lamar Miller (6) during the first half. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Saturday afternoon’s contest between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Miami Hurricanes came down to small margins. K-State totaled 16 first downs to Miami’s 18; 398 total yards to Miami’s 411; and 6.4 yards per play to Miami’s 7.1. At the end of the game, the only margin that mattered was on the scoreboard, and that favored the Wildcats, whose 28-24 gave them a 3-0 start to the season.

Head coach Bill Snyder said going into this game that the contest would be a great measuring stick for K-State if the Wildcats played to the best of their abilities. It seems that is quite close to what happened. Here’s my evaluation of what I saw on Saturday afternoon.

OFFENSE: B

Positives: Consistency is a core tenet of Snyder’s message to players, and the Wildcats scored one touchdown in each quarter of the ball game. They ran all over Miami’s vaunted defense, apparently oblivious to all its speed. Collin Klein, I thought, put to rest all that talk about how he is primarily a running quarterback. Going 11-of-18 for 133 yards and two touchdowns (plus 93 yards on the ground), he established himself as a true dual threat. Also, you have to give him credit for showing leadership when the Wildcats fell behind and had to make a fourth-quarterback comeback. Last season, one of the players mentioned John Hubert to me during weekly interviews; he said that even though people just knew of Daniel Thomas and William Powell, John Hubert was good. Amassing 166 yards at a clip of 9.2 yards per carry, I’d say he did that description justice. The team also got contributions from tight ends Andre McDonald and Travis Tannahill, and the acknowledgement and use of those options was great to see.

Negatives: However, the team did have a pair of fumbles, and while those didn’t cost them this time, that won’t be the case on down the line. Also, the offensive line – though it did a remarkable job facilitating the team’s movement down the field throughout the game – got pushed around on a few series, and Klein took a beating.

Defense: A-

Positives: Going into this game, the Wildcats’ defense was ranked as the top unit in the nation, but people largely ignored those numbers because Kansas State’s great defensive performances had come against Eastern Kentucky and Kent State. Against Miami, the Wildcats proved they were not that overrated after all. An early interception by Nigel Malone set the tone, and to end – and win – the game, the team executed a gritty, gutsy goal-line stand – just like it did against Kent State. They also held Miami running back Lamar Miller (who rushed for 184 yards against Ohio State) to 106 yards in the game, and they made the Hurricanes to punt four times.

Negatives: The Wildcats carried a 14-3 lead into halftime, but the team did gave up more points as the game progressed, including several huge scoring plays: a 59-yard run by Lamar Miller and a 34-yard catch by Travis Benjamin.

Special Teams: C+

Positives: The returners did an adequate job of hanging onto the football and putting the team in good position to start its drives.

Negatives: A missed field goal could have been the difference in the game. It did not turn out that way, but it certainly could have.

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2 Responses to “Grading the Wildcats: Game 3”

  1. Eric September 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Good write up. Special teams were awful all day. Bad punts. Horrible kick coverage. The last punt should have cost us the game.

  2. Steve September 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Tell me about the special teams,mainly the punt team,how many times was it in trouble?? Your c+ is more like a d- in my book!

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