Despite 269 yards from senior RB Daniel Thomas, the Kansas State Wildcats had to hang on to beat the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday and improve to 7-5 overall on the season. In what can only be described as an “underwhelming” performance, the Wildcats fell behind the Mean Green 20-7 in the first quarter, allowing North Texas RB Lance Dunbar to rumble for 161 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries. On the fifth play of the game, Dunbar ran for a 52-yard touchdown, giving the Mean Green an early 7-0 lead. Kansas State’s porous rush defense was gashed throughout the afternoon, leaving head coach Bill Snyder in a far from celebratory mood after the game. The Mean Green finished the day with 469 yards of total offense, showing that once again, this Wildcat defense simply hasn’t improved at all as the season has gone along.
But on offense, it was encouraging to see Thomas finish the regular season like he started it. The Wildcat senior running back’s previous high was the first game of the year, where he ran for 234 yards against UCLA. Over the past several weeks, Thomas had been seeing a lesser role in the offense, and consequently, the Wildcats had lost three out of four games. On this day, Kansas State went back to relying on their big back to carry the load. If anyone on this team deserves to play in a bowl game later this year, it’s Daniel Thomas.
Overall, it’s been a strange year for Kansas State. In a lot of ways, they are extremely lucky to even be in this position of waiting to find out where they will play, which probably is going to be the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York. At 7-5, they had close wins over UCLA, Central Florida and Iowa State, as well as North Texas. Their only decisive victories were over Missouri State, Kansas and Texas. Hopefully, this extra month of practice will give Snyder and the coaching staff an opportunity to address the obvious flaws in this defense. From extremely bad tackling to playing out of position, this Wildcat defense has been over-matched by pretty much everyone.
It will be interesting to see if, in fact, the Wildcats can truly take advantage of this opportunity to improve themselves enough so as to not get completely humiliated in whatever bowl game they attend. Unfortunately, based on the way this defense has regressed as the year has gone along, don’t count on it.
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.