Better than College GameDay: KSU vs. OSU

6 Nov

When I learned that the Kansas State/Oklahoma State game would be played the same time as LSU/Alabama, it disappointed me. In retrospect, though, everyone who watched the Wildcats and Cowboys clearly got the better end of the deal. It’s said that “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but I think a game like that shows quite a bit about Kansas State.

Looking over the stats, it’s clear to see the improvement of the Wildcats throughout the season and even just from last weekend to this weekend.

Time of possession – As coach Bill Snyder always says, time of possession does not mean anything unless the team scores points. After Kansas State could not keep Oklahoma’s offense off the field last week, however, it was clear that the Wildcats had to stay on the field longer. You won’t believe me when I tell you, but in Stillwater, Kansas State held the ball for 40 minutes and 49 seconds. They had possession for more than two-thirds of the game. Even though the Wildcats couldn’t outgun the Cowboys, their mere possession made a big difference in the ball game. I think it goes without saying that every minute without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon on the field counts.

Offensive production – The Wildcats do not have much “star power.” Before last night, they were not thought to have much of a passing game or much of a running game, really. Against the No. 3 team in the country, however, Kansas State put up 276 rushing yards and 231 passing yards. Notice two aspects of this: 1) balance and 2) passing. Basically, the Wildcats are much more competent offensively than people want to give them credit for. Also, all the running Collin Klein does apparently makes people think he can’t throw. Obviously, that isn’t the case. Plus, we saw Snyder open up the playbook a little bit with a pair of misdirections that allowed Tyler Lockett to go for some major yardage. Now, the caveat here is that the Cowboys’ defense is not good – not numerically and not practically either. It gave up 45 points at home to a team that does not have nearly as crazy of an offense. Still, though, the Wildcats showed their potential with the ball, and it was promising.

Defensive dilemma – It’s hard to put a finger on how good the Kansas State defense actually is. Obviously they forced multiple turnovers from a team that was No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin. Those were impressive, heads-up, detailed-oriented plays. With that said, though, there were lots of long passes that the Wildcats could not stop and quite a few missed tackles as well. Again, you credit much of that to the Cowboys because their offense is easily one of the most potent in the country. Certainly, just because a defense cannot stop the ultimate offense does not mean it is a bad defense. However, Oklahoma State exposed the same issues the team has been battling all season.

Big 12 Bottom line – First of all, Kansas State is still better than people think. The guys played their hearts out and almost pulled out a huge upset on the road against the No. 3 team in the country after getting smashed 58-17 in their own house the previous weekend. Secondly, Oklahoma State is not as good as people think. (See the earlier comment about its defense.) They’ll probably still win the Big 12 because Oklahoma has now lost its starting running back, Dominique Whaley, and its future-NFLer receiver Ryan Broyles. All in all, I don’t think people should be shocked if the Wildcats win out from here. It may not happen, but I think it has to be acknowledged as a possibility.

 

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