Wildcats finish 10-2 over Cyclones

3 Dec

Klein passes to a teammate during the first half. Photo: Orlin Wagner / AP

Again, the Wildcats won in dramatic fashion, finishing off Iowa State 30-23 and earning a 10-win season for the first time since 2003.

The quality of the play matched the quality of the weather early at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. In the first 10 minutes of the cold, rainy Senior Day game, Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett fumbled a pair of snaps while Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein absorbed a pair of sacks.

With about five minutes left in the first quarter, though, Iowa State put points on the board first with a 30-yard flea-flicker from Barnett to Darius Darks.

“We were just executing,” Barnett said. “I don’t think K-State was expecting us to come out that way, and we just kind of took advantage of it, but then they definitely started catching on and made some adjustments.”

The Cyclones’ lead disappeared almost instantly. The Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage the next drive was a 68-yard bomb from Klein to Tramaine Thompson. It tied the game 7-7.

Shoddy tackling, however, allowed the Cyclones to run right back into the end zone. Duran Hollis took the ball 44 yards to give Iowa State a 13-7 lead. However, Kansas State’s Raphael Guidry blocked his fourth kick of the year to limit the deficit to six.

A 37-yard field goal by Anthony Cantele put the Wildcats within three points of the Cyclones, and a series of mistake-laden drives by both teams ensued. Iowa State had to punt after consecutive false starts. Kansas State had to kick it away after a failed lateral on third down, and the Cyclones went three-and-out for the first time.

With the clock winding down in the first half, Kansas State drove down the field on the strength of 17-yard catch by tight end Travis Tannahill, a 14-yard reception by Hubert, a 10-yard run by Klein and another 14-yard catch by running back John Hubert.

The drive culminated in the least surprising play of the season – a one-yard rushing touchdown by Klein. Cantele’s extra point gave the Wildcats a 17-13 lead going into halftime.

After Kansas State went three-and-out in its first series of the second, Guidry again came up huge on the defensive end. He intercepted a tipped pass by Barnett to set the Wildcats up on Iowa State’s 47-yard line.

While the team struggled to move the football, it got far enough to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt for Cantele, who converted to give Kansas State a 20-13 lead with 8:48 to go in the third quarter.

“We had one turnover – they didn’t have any,” Iowa State running back Jeff Woody said. “If you look at the stat sheet … it’s like looking at a reflecting pool. One side or the other, it’s almost identical: rushing yards, passing yards, total yards, first downs, everything is identical. If there are two more evenly matched teams in the country, I’d like to see them.”

Iowa State kept itself in the game, though, keeping its drive alive through three third-down situations and eventually scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run from Woody. The score tied the game at 20 with 4:25 to play in the third quarter.

The Wildcats’ third possession of the half appeared to begin badly, but a sack of Klein was whistled as a horsecollar. A pair of 15-yard and 21-yard runs by Hubert got his team into a first-and-goal situation on the 3-yard line. However, the Cyclones held them to a field goal, and they only fell behind 23-20.

A 43-yard field goal by Iowa State put the Cyclones right back in it with 6:12 to play in the game.

Driving for the win, the Wildcats got lots of help from Hubert. He got a 22-yard run right off the bat. Klein connected with Torell Miller for a 21-yard gain, and it was Hubert who took it 26 yards – including an impressive tightrope walk at the end – and dove into the end zone for the game-winning score.

“When the game was on the line, they had to line up and take it down the field,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “They answered and took it down the field with a great rush attack and a smart throw and catch.”

3:29 remained, but the Cyclones could not get a score. On fourth and two, Woody carried the ball, and as he was about to get tackled, he threw the ball over his shoulder in hopes one of his teammates would recover. Ultimately, though, the Wildcats recovered and ran out the clock.

Woody recognized that on that play, the Wildcats knew what was coming, having seen it earlier in the game.

“They jumped the snap count,” Woody said. “The rhythm of the cadence is the same, and we went on a certain cadence that they had heard before. As the ball was moving – they didn’t even react to it. They were reacting to the sound. They jumped the count and dug into one of our linemen and forced disruption in the backfield.”

That would be the final big play the Wildcats needed to take care of their part in going to the best bowl possible.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: