Last week in Waco, Texas, it was the Kansas State offense that needed to produce to keep the Wildcats in the game against Baylor. The Bears rolled up almost 700 yards of total offense against an over-matched Wildcat defense. Meanwhile, K-State’s offense, for the most part, matched Baylor score for score only to come out on the losing end, 47-42. Conventional wisdom said that this week, against another high-powered offense in Oklahoma State, Wildcat QB Carson Coffman, RB Daniel Thomas and the rest of the offense would be called upon again to score frequently, since the Cowboys were ranked 3rd in the country in total offense. On the other hand, Okie State’s defense, while not as forgiving as Kansas State’s, could be scored upon and allow the Wildcats to hang around in this game.
So much for conventional wisdom.
Saturday afternoon at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Kansas State defense performed admirably, holding the lethal Cowboy offense to only two touchdowns and a field goal in a 24-14 defeat. The Wildcat’s fell to 2-3 in the Big 12 and 5-3 overall and are looking down the barrel at 5-5 over the next two weeks with the Texas Longhorns coming to Manhattan, followed by a trip to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers. Coffman, who was hampered by an ankle injury in the second half, completed 23 0f 35 passes for 170 yards and two interceptions. One of the picks was costly, though, as Cowboy DB Johnny Thomas intercepted Coffman in the fourth quarter and ran it in for the Cowboys final touchdown of the game. On an afternoon when it was figured Kansas State could put points on the board they, in fact, sputtered throughout the day and were simply unable to capitalize on the opportunities Oklahoma State gave them, particularly since the Cowboys were turning the ball over themselves, especially in the first half. With Coffman hobbled, the Wildcats leaned heavily on Thomas, running the “Wildcat” formation frequently in the second half and having some success. Thomas finished with 101 yards rushing on 29 carries and became the focal point of the offense, which eventually Oklahoma State was able to key on and slow down as the game progressed.
Meanwhile, the Cowboy’s racked up over 500 yards of total offense, despite only putting 17 points on the scoreboard. Considering Oklahoma State was without the services of their star WR Justin Blackmon, who was suspended for the game due to a DUI arrest, as well as committing two turnovers and not converting on a 4th and short early in the game, Kansas State was fortunate the final score wasn’t more lopsided. Cowboy QB Brandon Weeden threw for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns, RB Kendall Hunter ran for 143 yards and freshman RB Joseph Randle added another 123 yards of total offense. In addition, the Cowboys committed 10 penalties for 100 yards, several of which were very untimely and ultimately stopped what would have been productive drives.
The good news for Kansas State in all of this? No one seems to be pointing fingers at each other in losing three out of four and falling out of the Big 12 North race. The offense knows it needs to show more consistency and balance and simply can’t rely on Thomas to carry the load. Coffman, who had begun to show the leadership qualities over the previous three contests necessary to lead the team, clearly regressed on Saturday, making several poor decisions including the game-deciding Cowboy interception. On defense, it is impressive to hold the potent Oklahoma State offense to 17 points, but if not for the Cowboys shooting themselves in the foot, it should have been a lot more. Somehow, Legendary Head Coach Bill Snyder needs to figure out how to get both sides playing well together to get that illusive sixth victory and become bowl eligible. Based on recent play, especially on defense, that may not have a realistic chance of happening until the final week of the season against North Texas.
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.