The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CUIndependent.com nor any of its sponsors.
This opinion by Kansas State Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Grant Guggisberg is part of a column swap leading up to the Colorado Buffaloes vs. Kansas State Wildcats football game. To read CU Independent Sports Editor Cheng Sio’s opinion, click here.
For those wondering how Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder and the football team would respond to one of the worst losses in recent memory, the answer was overwhelming at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The 62-14 win Saturday night was a combination of bad plays by the Texas A&M Aggies and great plays by the Wildcats. While it’s hard to tell exactly what adjustments Snyder made to improve the overall play of the team last week in practice, it is easy to see that whatever he did worked wonders.
Yes, the offense needs to get better. While they did a good job of putting points up against the hapless Aggies defenders, they also benefited greatly from outstanding field position.
That being said, the offense stepped up and controlled the line of scrimmage the way Snyder has been calling for all season. Even better, the Wildcats settled for only a field goal during the first half when they were still trying to score points.
Wildcats special teams also performed well. Kickers Josh Cherry and Brandon Klimek both kicked field goals while Brandon Banks had several good kick returns, including his fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown.
However, the biggest factor in this huge turnaround was the play of the defense. Say what you want about Texas Tech and Texas A&M being different teams on offense, but on paper they looked extremely similar. Both were great passing teams led by quarterbacks who have performed extremely well all season. Both had solid running games that complement their respective aerial attacks. The two teams play similar styles, meaning it was the Wildcats’ defense that made the big adjustment.
The Wildcats found a pass rush, something that has eluded them for much of the season. They came into the game with six sacks as a team but were able to match that total against the Aggies. Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson never looked comfortable in the pocket, at least not until the third quarter when the second-team defense took the field. Only then was Johnson able to make plays down the field and put points on the board.
The emergence of a pass rush allowed the K-State secondary to use speed and good hands to its advantage. Safety Tysyn Hartman and cornerback Josh Moore are both good at catching the ball when it’s thrown in their direction. If the quarterback is being rushed, he is more likely to make a mistake and throw a ball that can easily be intercepted. Coming into the game, Johnson had not thrown an interception all season. He left Snyder Family Stadium with three, the culprit being a frantic line of scrimmage.
If the Wildcats can continue to win games at home, they will be on track for success. The Wildcats get Colorado, Kansas and Missouri all at home, while traveling to Oklahoma on Halloween and ending the season in Lincoln, Neb., against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. For those counting at home, if the team can finish 6-0 at home this season, they will be bowl-eligible. With Kansas suddenly looking like a beatable team, it’s not out of the question to see the Wildcats take care of opponents at Snyder Family Stadium and reward fans with a bowl game in Snyder’s first season back as head coach.
Time will tell if it happens, but with a solid game at home last Saturday, the Wildcats are now halfway there.
Contact Kansas State Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Grant Guggisberg at email@example.com.