About the only thing Bill Snyder was irritated by Saturday night was being doused by Gatorade in a poorly executed attack by Ryan Mueller. “I knew it was coming”, said Snyder trying hard to suppress a smile, “but I am too old to get out of the way”. Actually, Snyder made a pretty good move to avoid the first wave, but was doused on Mueller’s second effort which Snyder should have known was coming, after all he coaches his guys to play hard through the end of the play.
K-State threw the first punch and kept swinging against Michigan, in a refreshingly easy effort at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last night. The Wildcats were highly focused and motivated in scoring in their first three possessions, all on passes from Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett. KSU sparkled in all three phases of the game against a Michigan team that was either uninspired, or made to look that way. After trailing 21-6 at the break the Wolverines punted on four straight possessions to start the second half and then were picked off on the fifth in a dominating effort that saw the ‘Cats only give up 261 yards.
Ten more catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns in what’s becoming commonplace for Tyler Lockett, who also chipped in 74 more yards on 2 kickoff returns. There is actual concern that Locket could bypass his senior year in Manhattan for the NFL, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t back next year when the Wildcats will be one of the teams to beat in the Big 12. It was very interesting to listen to Lockett talk about his level of preparation for this game; about the tendencies of defenders he picked up on film, he used a slick double move on a route for his second touchdown against a guy who was a Big 10 first teamer. Lockett sweats the details and it’s helped to make him one of the best receivers in college football.
Big 12 fans---
K-State and Baylor figured to be the only two favorites amongst the six Big 12 bowl teams, although Oklahoma State and Missouri are a pick-‘em. Baylor’s Bears, which play next week in Phoenix in the Fiesta Bowl, were in attendance last night generally cheering for the ‘Cats. It’s funny how you try to beat their brains in during the season, only to wish your cohorts well in bowl games---then again your rival’s success in the post season can reflect nicely on you.
If you’re keeping score at home, it’s hard to imagine the Big 12 going any better than 3-3 in bowl play. Oklahoma,Texas and Texas Tech are three of the biggest underdogs in the post-season, at least K-State has started them off at 1-0.
It happens to be KSU football fans I’m talking about now, but it could also apply to Wichita State or KU basketball as well—all of them have incredible fans bases which travel. This wasn’t the Cotton or Fiesta Bowl, like the last two years, yet over 10,000 Catbackers were there for their team last night. Fans in Kansas are amongst the most loyal I’ve ever seen.
For those who are interested---
I’m joined by Grant Meech to further break down the K-State win on Sports Sunday tonight, I hope you’ll find time to join us.