Joe Yeager gives his final verdict on the Red Raiders blowout loss to the Wildcats on Saturday…
K-State didn't do anything unexpected or out of the ordinary against Texas Tech. That may be what's most frustrating. And that may be the easiest explanation. There isn't one specific area of deficiency that the Wildcats exploited, it was several little things that added up to the 55-24 victory.
Who's out: Tre Porter and Cornelius Douglas were both out again, but they will be more essential against teams that throw the ball more, so better to keep them on the sideline for one more week and 100% for the month of November. Jace Amaro was also out again. Tuberville said he has still not been cleared by the medical staff.
Amaro tweeted after the game: "I'm playing next week. I don't give a damn what they tell me. Can't handle this crap. Get ready ut."
Don't know if that will happen or not, but I like his optimism. Eugene Neboh and Omar Ontiveros both left the game with injuries. We will get an update on both on Monday.
Who's in: With Porter and Douglas out, Bruce Jones started at corner and Jarvis Phillips at nickel. Again, don't know if either would have made a difference in the end result. Torres and Zouzalik played mostly in the place of Amaro (Tech started in a 5 wide set.), but weren't as productive as they were last week.
Game Ball – Eric Ward. 11 catches for 161 yards and 2 TDs. I still don't know if he actually caught the ball that was called a fumble, but Ward played a great game. Ward was the go-to receiver in the first quarter and never quit trying to make a play throughout the day. I didn't see anything that merited a game ball on defense.
Passing game: Tech moved the ball early, outgaining Kansas State by almost 100 yards in the first quarter. The problem was that even after a moderately successful first part of the game, the Red Raiders were still down by a field goal at halftime. You knew K-State would make adjustments and Tech didn't have enough points on the board to withstand the changes of K-State while making adjustments of their own.
The turnovers that produced 17 of the 55 K-State points were all more on the offense than the defense making a play. The Doege fumble was a result of holding the ball too long, Ward's was a bad break, and the pick-6 by Arthur Brown was a pass that was thrown too high. To me, the Doege fumble was most costly because at that point of the game the Red Raiders have the opportunity to go up 14-3. That was a 6 to 10 point swing early in the game. Tech also had 4 chances in K-State territory in the first half that only resulted in 3 points.
Running game: Kenny Williams ran well when he got the opportunity, which was more in the second half than the first. I think Tech would have liked to run the ball more in the first half had the situation presented itself, but with the success they had through the air and the close nature of the game. Sadale Foster and Eric Stephens got half the combined carries of Williams and neither could really get anything going. But Williams being the better inside runner is probably the explanation there.
Pass defense: Colin Klein was 19 for 26 233 yards and two touchdowns. It just seemed like the K-State passing game was a step ahead of the Red Raiders all afternoon. Part of that is due to the defense playing run first and foremost, even on play action passes. Three big plays over 20 yards through the air accounted for roughly 1/3 of the pass yards. Again, nothing spectacular, but at the same time the average per completion for K-State was over 12 yards. They'll take that all day long. The tight end Tannahill was not a factor in the K-State attack. That was partially due to the respect that K-State had for the Tech Defensive line.
Run defense: Biggest stat here was shown on the TV broadcast. In the first quarter Texas Tech held K-State to 1.2 yards on first down. After that, the average was over 11 yards. When you get a first down on first down, it's not going right for you defensively. The funny thing is, Tech played their defensive gameplan exactly the way the wanted to, but when the Wildcats started running inside, they weren't stopped. Klein leading all rushers helped open up some of the passing game, but again the longest gain all afternoon for Kansas State was the 22 yard score from Klein in the third quarter.
Special teams: Neither Tyler Lockett nor Tyrone Thompson were a factor in the return game, so that part of your gameplan worked, but the blocked field goal was another play in which you should have at least had points and didn't come away with any. The Erxleben 8 yard punt at that point was a microcosm of your afternoon at that point. Much like the other two areas of the game, nothing inherenly glaring, but at the same time, nothing spectacular either.
To sum it, up, K-State did exactly what you knew they would do, and when you had opportunities to put points on the board, you didn't do it. Combine that with 17 points off turnovers, and no forced turnovers yourself, you get the result you got. The key after this week will be not to let this loss linger. No one's going to argue that K-State is a better team right now. Texas Tech has 4 winnable games in November that could still lead to a big bowl game and a special season.