The Kansas State University Wildcats got off to a very shaky start to the football season, and it looked like a very long football season was ahead for fans. Luckily, the season turned around quickly.
The Wildcats barely scraped by Eastern Kentucky, winning 10-7 on a late touchdown. But, a bit of motivation can go a long way. The Wildcats exploded past Kent State, 37-0, and then followed that game with a good defensive performance against Miami (Fla.), winning 28-24. Since then, K-State won several games, most notably against Baylor and Texas. After the Kansas game on Oct. 22, K-State improved to 7-0.
That blowout win against KU was followed by a blowout loss against Oklahoma on Oct. 28. The Wildcats lost 58-17 at home. K-State was keeping pace with OU in the first half, and just blew the second half, in which the offense did not score, and the defense gave up a record 505 passing yards from OU quarterback Landry Jones. That was one of the most frustrating games to watch of the season.
On Nov. 5, K-State went to Stillwater, Okla., to take on the No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Wildcats got off to a rocky start, with OSU leading 14-0 early in the first quarter. Then with a couple of big plays, K-State took a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter. The game went back and forth from there, with neither of the teams gaining a big lead. Then in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, OSU took a seven-point lead, making the score 45-38. K-State responded with a quick touchdown, and OSU did the same, making the game 52-45, OSU. K-State was had three chances to get in the end-zone, but K-State quarterback Collin Klein could not complete any of the passes to tie the game and send it into overtime.
On Oct. 12, K-State returned to Bill Snyder Family Stadium to take on the previously ranked Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies started out eighth in the nation, but went on a losing streak and lost their ranking long ago. The game looked bleak for K-State, when the Wildcats went down 14-0 early in the second quarter. Fortunately, K-State came back and tied it up before half time. The second half was back and forth between the two teams, with K-State never getting ahead. With a 44-yard field goal by K-State kicker Anthony Cantele, K-State tied up the game with a little more than two minutes to go in the game. The Aggies did not score again in regulation. K-State advanced to only their second overtime game in school history. The Wildcats gained their first lead in the first overtime, with a touchdown, but A&M responded with a touchdown. Each team tied up the score until the fourth overtime, when A&M had to settle for a field goal. K-State got the ball and marched it into the end zone, winning 53-50.
This next game was fairly uneventful compared to the previous week. K-State traveled down to Austin, Texas, to take on the No. 23 Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns were the favorites coming into the game and rightfully so. Most of the first half was a standoff between the two teams until K-State scored with nine seconds left in the half. This made the score 10-3, K-State. K-State scored again early in the third quarter, to make the score 17-3. After that, it was all Texas. Texas responded with a 36 yard touchdown pass and just like that, the game was close again. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Texas kicked a field goal, to make the score 17-13, K-State. Texas had a chance to score a touchdown, but couldn’t put a drive together, so K-State left Austin with a 17-13 win over Texas. This win and four top 10 losses moved the Wildcats up to 11 in the BCS Standings following that weekend.
So, the Wildcats are now 9-2, with victories against Baylor and Texas, with Iowa State remaining on Dec. 3. The record is a clear improvement from last year’s 6-5 record at this point. K-State is guaranteed to go to a bowl game, like last year. ESPN is predicting that K-State will face either Georgia or Arkansas in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, a significant improvement from the Pinstripe Bowl last year. Hopefully, K-State will win this bowl game, unlike last year’s loss to Syracuse.
Looking back to the start of the season, I was thinking about the preseason predictions. A web site predicted K-State to finish out ninth out of 10 teams in the Big 12. Who would think that that K-State would have a chance to share the Big 12 Championship? Just saying…
By Jacob Milham, Managing Editor/Business Manager