Tag Archives: Kansas State Kent State

Grading the Wildcats: Game 2

18 Sep

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (7) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas State fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Wildcats dismissed Kent State 37-0 on Saturday night. It was a reassuring victory (despite being aided by 136 yards of Kent State penalties) after the team had to scrape up a fourth quarter comeback to vanquish Eastern Kentucky 10-7 two weeks earlier. When you break down this game, however, it certainly was not all good, and the Wildcats have work ahead before they go to Miami for their third and final (and very easily the most difficult) nonconference game of the regular season.

 

Offense: B-

Certainly, having mobile quarterback Collin Klein run the ball 19 times proved to be effective against Kent State, but that is probably not a strategy anyone can expect to be successful long term. If Kansas State has to use him that much on a regular basis, the most likely outcome is that he gets hurt. Now, head coach Bill Snyder said that using Klein’s legs that much is not the plan going forward; he compared last night’s game to last year’s game against Texas, in which running Klein just worked, so they kept doing it.

None of the three running backs (John Hubert, Robert Rose, Angelo Pease) got excessive yardage; not one of them had more than 30 yards. However, the offensive line did look better than it did in the previous game, and the overall blocking seemed improved, as evidenced by how much Klein was able to run.

Klein appeared to be getting more comfortable with the receivers this week, although Snyder said the play calling did not give him as many opportunities to work with. One aspect of Klein’s play that I noticed and appreciated was that after missing an endzone-bound Brodrick Smith on a long pass down the sideline, Klein went right back to him and hit him for a 15-yard strike on the very next play. Klein’s passing numbers weren’t stellar, as he completed 9 of 18 passes for 74 yards, but they were solid.

Sammuel Lamur also saw time at the quarterback spot, and he completed four of six passes for 42 yards. Across the board, many onlookers were impressed by how he threw the ball, and I agree that there seemed to be a certain ease and smoothness to his passing motion.

Last but not least, we can’t overlook the fact the Wildcats only scored a field goal in the second half. Part of that can be attributed to putting some of the No. 2 and No. 3 players on the field to get them game experience, but Snyder still was less than thrilled by that. If you score 34 points against a Big 12 team and none in the second half, you may well lose the game.

 

Defense: A-

There is not much to complain about when a unit gives a team its first shutout in five seasons. Even when Kent State spent what seemed like an eternity in the red zone, the Kansas State defense held in impressive fashion, and Snyder mentioned he was proud of the players for that. Not to put a damper on the shutout, but it did come against an offense ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams. Next week again Miami will be a much more telling test.

 

Special Teams: B

Tyler Lockett muffed (but then recovered) a punt return, but other than that the team seemed fairly solid. Anthony Cantele hit all his field goals and extra points, and David Garrett and Tramaine Thompson got some decent returns. For this unit, the second impression was much, much better than the first.

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KSU Game 2: Previewing the Golden Flashes

16 Sep

At 6:10 in Bill Snyder Family Stadium tomorrow, the Wildcats will take on the Golden Flashes. It will be Kent State’s first ever visit to Manhattan. While the team began its season 0-2, it also turned Alabama over five times during its season opener, and it has not begun a season 0-3 since 2000.

Ignore for a minute the fact that Kent State is part of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Believe it or not, this team has one of the elite defenses in the country. Last year, it ranked 10th overall, allowing on average only 306 yards of offense per game. Even after the departure of the defensive coordinator and four players to the NFL, the Golden Flashes got five turnovers off of Alabama and held Louisiana (their second opponent) to only 179 yards of offense. That’s the fifth time in a span of 14 games in which Kent State has held an opponent to under 200 total yards of offense.

I don’t care who you are. That’s impressive.

The big name on the Kent State defense, of course, is Roosevelt Nix, who last year was the first true freshman to ever be named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. A consensus Freshman All-American, he began his sophomore year with a sack and two tackles for loss against the Crimson Tide. Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder certainly appreciated what he saw of Nix’s play.

“I think he’s as fine a player as you’ll find,” Snyder said. “He’s an undersized defensive back. He creates a lot of havoc for everybody, did for Alabama. He’s a very talented young player, and so young.”

Unfortunately for Kent State, it seems that as good as its defense is … that’s how bad its offense is. In its first two games, it has amassed just 19 points. Of course, give Alabama its due; a first game against the Crimson Tide isn’t helping anyone’s averages. Snyder pointed out that the Kent State quarterback, Spencer Keith, has struggled and is currently a 44 percent thrower, but he also mentioned that the guy is going into his third year as a starter. That confidence of his coaches and teammates comes from the fact that he throws really well when he throws well, and he isn’t immobile, Snyder said.

Kent State has some quality offensive players, like receivers Tyshon Goode and Sam Kirkland, but what Snyder said would be occupying his mind is what he hasn’t seen from the team to this point in the season.

“You don’t see a lot of gadgetry, so you have to be concerned, ‘Are the reverses going to come into play? Halfback passes? And all the gadget-type stuff, is that going to come into play?’ and that’s something you’ve got to be prepared for,” Snyder said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll see an improved offensive football team. To what degree and how they become that, I don’t know.”