Horns finally defeat Kansas State, still have a ways to go

I didn’t write about Ole Miss, so here it is in one sentence:  We had a decent gameplan in the first half, but Ole Miss adjusted to Case McCoy, killed our offense, and then coolly hung 27 points in the second half.  Not much surprise there.

2003.  That’s the last year we defeated Kansas State.  Vince Young was a redshirt freshman and we also had Chance Mock at QB.  I was in high school.  For some reason, we’ve always had problems with K-State.  That’s partially because they avoided playing us in 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009, due to the divisions in the Big 12, and therefore they ducked all of our BCS teams.  However, we also never seem to get a break against them.  Colt got injured in the opening drive in 2006, and that injury and that loss knocked us out of national title contention and contributed to us losing the Big 12.  In 2007, we didn’t have a great team and they ran us over at home.  This is when freaking Ron Prince was their head coach.

Then we played them in 2010 and 2011, with Bill Snyder back as their coach.  Predictably, they smashed our horrid 2010 team and whipped our bad defense in 2012, but in 2011, that game should have been ours.  An absolutely horrible kick-catch interference call against us negated a muffed punt that we recovered and allowed KSU to score and stake a lead.  We killed their offense but our offense couldn’t get much going, and so we lost a close one.  That game was quite exasperating.

With that history in mind, it was nice finally getting a win over Kansas State.  However, make no mistake, this was not a good Wildcat football team.

Quarterback

David Ash had a great game and it makes us wonder how good he could have become already if he got to redshirt and receive consistent coaching.  That 63 yard bomb to Kendall Sanders was a thing of beauty and clearly showed how much more he can do than Case McCoy.  Major Applewhite also decided to run him a lot… which would have been good strategy in a video game with injuries turned off, but it’s questionable, to say the least, when the guy is coming back from a concussion.  Ash got re-concussed (or at least showed symptoms) and sat the second half.  Applewhite seems to be under this delusion that our players are made of steel, which has clearly not been the case.  In Major’s defense, not all runs were called runs, but there is a disappointing lack of future consideration here.

Case came in and was a caretaker, handing the ball of and making a couple of good throws.  He’s not a bad backup.  He’s also severely limited and good defenses will crush us with him quarterbacking.

RB

Jonathan Gray showed how good he can be.  He still needs to get stronger and break ankle tackles on a consistent basis, but he has great vision and cutting ability and knows how to manipulate defenders based on his initial trajectory.  Speaking of Applewhite treating our players like they are Wolverine, I am also unhappy with the fact that Gray got 28 carries, the last few of which were tough runs inside to burn clock (his final five carries only went for eight yards).  That’s exactly why we have Bergeron.  Applewhite got Daje Johnson hurt by running him on 3rd and short against BYU, and now he’s ignoring Bergeron to give 28 carries to Gray.  This is when a good head football coach comes in and tells his young OC to stop being so short-sighted.

Malcolm Brown also looked good in his action, and Bergeron, as I said above, was ignored.  If Applewhite had no intention of using Bergeron, then he should have talked him into becoming a fullback.

This is a talented group that has been held back the last couple of years by uneven blocking and stacked fronts.

WR/TE

We missed Mike Davis, but some of the other guys showed promise.  Harris flat whiffed an easy pass but other than that was okay, and both Marcus Johnson and Kendall Sanders were good.  Shipley got the most attention and was quiet other than a couple of good catches.

Greg Daniels ain’t bad.  I wish we could do better at TE, though.

OL

Kansas State’s D-line isn’t very good, but be that as it may, the run-blocking from this group was the best this year.  Pass protection was okay.  The young guys or JUCO guys (Donald Hawkins, for example) continue to show more promise than the older guys who have been here longer, which is an indictment on the coaching staff, frankly.

DL

Our interior line blew up K-State and our defensive ends did a great job getting pressure, especially when K-State was dumb enough to try to block Jeffcoat with a TE.  Nice.  Malcolm Brown is one talented guy who in the past couple of weeks, unfortunately, played with zero awareness.

We arguably have the most talented D-line in the conference.  That alone should make our defense at least adequate, so something is very wrong when we’ve been gashed on the ground like we have been.  This game, however, our defensive tackles pushed into the backfield while controlling their gaps and our defensive ends largely kept position, swallowing up multiple Wildcat running plays.

LB

Steve Edmund is still a liability in space, and Dalton Santos needs to start over him (he has to at least for the next game since Edmund has to sit out the first half due to that targeting penalty).  Jinkens played his best game this season and did a great job playing the option.  Hicks was very good, and then promptly hurt himself for the rest of the year.  Sigh.  Not good at all.

Secondary

We got torn up by Lockett, which isn’t great but at least understandable.  He’s an NFL talent, Watters was a much better thrower than I thought, and we gameplanned to stop their option attack and dared them to beat us through the air.  Other than him, they were unable to.  Duke Thomas and Diggs got worked over by him, but it’s hard defending talented guys one-on-one.

The safeties were actually half-decent, and Byndom continues to be our best cover corner.  This unit better be ready, though, because in a few weeks the quality of passing attacks is about to go up dramatically.

Special Teams

Fera is a great punter, but outside of 40 yards he’s been very unreliable in field goal kicking.  We gave up a hug punt return but the refs missed two blatant blocks in the back.  As far as our own returning, Kendall Sanders is showing promise as the KR and Shipley did a good job at PR.

Major Applewhite

Um… please stop trying to hurt our players, ok?

Greg Robinson

You know, given the situation he was thrust into, he hasn’t done a bad job.  Our players played their assignments much better this game and he isn’t playing silly games with our fronts but just using our superior athletes to make plays.  Has the defense improved noticeably?  Yes.  Am I confident that we aren’t going to get torched by the better offenses in the Big 12?  Uh, no.  I’m fully prepared for some ugly games coming up.

Mack Brown

Nice fake punt, which is something he’s always been good at, and the kids came out and played hard.  They really did, and it was refreshing.  We still aren’t that good, but at least they’re showing like they give a crap.

 

We beat K-State, and that’s a nice step to a Big 12 title a minor bowl game as we aim for 6 or 7 wins.  Texas standards!

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One thought on “Horns finally defeat Kansas State, still have a ways to go

  1. Pingback: New Sports Site and Review of Iowa State | Leesomniac Sports

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