Wildcat-Jayhawk report

11/30/2013 5:47 PM

11/30/2013 5:48 PM

First quarter

Key play: Jake Waters found Zach Trujillo for a 35-yard touchdown catch-and-run for the first touchdown.

Key stat: K-State out-gained Kansas 120-29.

Second quarter

Key play: Waters found Glenn Gronkowski across the middle for a 29-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 21-0 lead.

Key stat: Kansas out-gained K-State 106-62.

Third quarter

Key play: Dante Barnett intercepted a deflected pass off the hands of Jimmay Mundine and set K-State up with good field position.

Key stat: K-State forced two turnovers.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Barnett grabbed his second interception near the end zone at the start of the quarter.

Key stat: The teams combined for three points.

K-State report card

Offense: B. It was nice to see K-State give John Hubert a heavy workload. He is too talented a runner to spend most of the game blocking the way he has in recent weeks. His 220 rushing yards helped K-State keep the ball away from Kansas in the second half. But the passing game left a bit to be desired. Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett were both quiet. Daniel Sams was also underutilized.

Defense: A+. Kansas gained 223 yards and committed six turnovers. K-State’s defense dominated.

Special teams: F. Worst effort of the year from this unit. Thompson foolishly caught a punt inside K-State’s 5, Zach Nemecheck fumbled a kick return and Ian Patterson missed a field-goal attempt.

Coaching: B. Something seemed off about K-State’s offense after it took a 21-0 lead. Other than Hubert, the Wildcats didn’t produce much. They also looked undisciplined. At one point penalties, forced it to face a first-and-42.

Player of the game: Hubert kept his spirits up during two down weeks and gashed Kansas for 220 yards and a touchdown,

Reason to hope: K-State will finish the season with a winning record and a respectable bowl game. How likely did that combination seem at 2-4?

Reason to mope: K-State struggled at times during each of its last three games. It will need to play considerably better to win its bowl game, especially if the Wildcats end up in the Holiday Bowl, where they would meet a Pac-12 power such as Arizona State, UCLA or Oregon.

Looking ahead: San Diego will be a fun trip for K-State fans, but a daunting task for K-State players. A bump up to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and a potential Big Ten opponent might be more conducive for a postseason victory.

KU report card

Offense: F. Total yards: 223; turnovers: 6. Bad day, bad season.

Defense: B. The Jayhawks blew coverages on Waters’ first two touchdown passes, one a Tebow-like jump pass, but the unit settled down and performed well.

Special teams: B. Punter Trevor Pardula warmed up after a slow start. Ron Doherty made his only field-goal attempt, and the kickoff coverage team produced a fumble recovery. KU kept the Wildcats from big kickoff and punt returns.

Coaching: C. Coaches can’t do much about turnovers once the game starts, and despite all the mistakes, KU was more competitive in this game than in recent years.

Player of the game: Despite surrendering a big game to John Hubert, the Kansas defense held up well. Linebacker Michael Reynolds recorded a sack and 3 1/2 tackles for loss on a day when the Jayhawks came up with three sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

Reason to hope: Eight seniors started for the Jayhawks, only two on defense.

Reason to mope: Besides a fifth straight season in last place, Kansas will be overhauling a unit that took a step back this season, the offensive line. Three seniors started on Saturday. The Jayhawks have to get better here to have a chance at improvement in 2014.

Notes

• Kansas State stuck with its usual quarterback rotation on Saturday, starting Waters and bringing Sams off the bench. But the Wildcats didn’t use Sams much. He came in for one series in the first half and rushed for negative yardage on two carries. It was the second consecutive game he saw minimal playing time.

Afterward, Snyder suggested that might change in the bowl game.

“We needed to play Daniel,” Snyder said. “We just didn’t play him enough. That’s my mistake.”

• K-State senior safety Ty Zimmerman once again watched from the sideline on crutches and kicker Anthony Cantele watched in street clothes. Snyder didn’t say when either play might return to the field.

“We could afford to be a whole lot healthier than we are,” Snyder said.

• Ryan Mueller ended his K-State junior season with 61 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Those numbers will put him in the conversation for conference and national honors.

“They are team awards. It is a credit to all the guys who play with me,” Mueller said. “I would love to win every defensive award there is. That means my defense helped me in my success here. It is a credit to all the guys who helped me play.”

• K-State’s Blake Slaughter made 14 of his 15 tackles in the first half.

“I saw the ball and hit the ball,” Slaughter said. “Coaches put me in the right position, and I just did the rest.”

• KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard announced last week that he was resigning to spend more time with his family — including four kids in high school. The former Chiefs Pro Bowl center joined Weis’ staff after a stint as Bishop Miege’s coach, and he will be missed, said senior offensive lineman Gavin Howard.

“He’s been a really good role model for all of us,” Howard said. “He doesn’t need to coach anymore. He did it because he liked it. Coach Weis works everyone real hard and they’re expected to put in these hours. And Coach Grunhard decided he needed to see his family, and I respect him for that.”

Weis said he would be in the homes of prospects that Grunhard had been recruiting this week.

• The attendance of 43,610 was the largest of the season at Memorial Stadium, and it appeared about half of the crowd was wearing purple.

Kellis Robinett, Blair Kerkhoff

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