The Nebraska Cornhuskers are off to the Big 10 next year to battle the Michigan and Ohio State’s of the this world. For Kansas State and their faithful, the Big Red Machine can’t leave soon enough. On a night where nothing worked for the Wildcats on either side of the ball, the 7th-ranked Huskers rolled, then stopped, backed up and then rolled some more just for good measure over Kansas State, with a resounding 48-13 victory. This one had “ugly” written on it from the start, as the Wildcats took the opening possession of the game and drove to the Nebraska 25 and then tried to convert on 4th and 2 rather than attempt what would have been a fairly easy field goal to take an early lead. With RB Daniel Thomas lined up on the left side at wide receiver, QB Carson Coffman, certainly not known for his speed and mobility, attempted to run around right end for the first down but was held up short on what could only be described as an “odd” call by Head Coach Bill Snyder. A potential three points were taken off the board, and what little momentum the Cats had at that point quickly dissipated. The Huskers took over and proceeded to drive for their first touchdown of the game and never looked back.
Freshman QB Taylor Martinez roamed freely in the Wildcat secondary throughout the game, running for 241 yards and four scores, including touchdown runs of 14, 35, 80 and 41 yards. Running back Roy Helu, Jr. also found success against the porous K-State defense adding 110 yards including a 68-yard touchdown run. With Martinez coming off a less-than stellar performance last week, Kansas State’s objective on defense was to keep him contained in the pocket, not let him get out in the open and force the freshman to throw to win the game. That strategy completely fell apart, as in addition to his big day on the ground, the Husker QB ended up throwing for 128 yards on only 5 completions, including a 79-yard touchdown late in the 3rd quarter. The Wildcat’s “bend but don’t break” defense is now officially broken after being exposed on national television as the Huskers finished the evening with almost 600 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats offense has, for the most part, sputtered along over the past two weeks. Opposing defenses now recognize that by stopping Thomas and forcing Coffman to make plays, Kansas State has become truly one-dimensional. Thomas finished the day with only 63 yards on 22 carries and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage numerous times. Coffman’s pocket pressence and arm strength aren’t Division-1 caliber, nor is the accuracy on his throws. He’s a good-hearted kid who everyone understands is trying to do his best, but this isn’t going to get it done. The problem at this point is that the season is practically half over, so would a change at quarterback really make sense right now. Yet look for junior Sammuel Lamur to be called upon in the very near future to give the Cats a much-needed new dimension at quarterback. Lamur, who did appear briefly last night, completed all three of his pass attempts, albeit in a mop-up situation, and is more the “duel-threat” type of quarterback that Snyder and the Wildcats have had so much success with in the past.
So it’s back to the drawing board for this Wildcat football team. The good news is there’s still time to improve and find another two or three victories over the final two months which would get them back to a much-needed bowl game. Unfortunately, it is the numerous questions on defense and at quarterback that are growing much more difficult to address and could very well hurt Kansas State’s chances of getting into any post-season play.
About the Author
Written by Chad Craghead
A 1988 graduate from Wichita State University, Chad has followed WSU as well as Kansas State athletics for over 30 years, along with being a lifelong Boston Red Sox and L.A./St. Louis Rams fan.