The thought that kept creeping into my mind as I was watching the K-State Wildcats beat the Nevada Wolf Pack 38-17 yesterday was that “this K-State offense looks like Martyball.” The late Marty Schottenheimer coached the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989 to 1998. His brand of football was coined “Martyball.” What was “Martyball?” It meant playing smashmouth football by running the ball, playing strong defense, and creating turnovers. Chris Klieman is molding this type of team, and he’s proving that you can still win playing this style of football.
The Wildcats ran for 269 yards on the ground yesterday, while only passing for 129. 68 of those passing yards came on a touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe. K-State ran the ball 48 times and passed it 13. Nevada knew the run was coming and couldn’t stop it. Here are some quotes of note after a big win for Kansas State football.
“Definitely, I would say this is the most fun I have had playing football in a long time and I think overall our team played a heck of a game from start to finish. Couldn’t be more proud of how we stuck it out through that whole game.”...Will Howard, post-game
JM: I keep having to remind myself that Will Howard is only 19 years old. He is handling himself pretty well out there on the field. Glad he is having a lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about.
“We knew it was happening going in and honestly, Jaren (Lewis) is probably one of my best friends on the team. I was just so happy for him and him getting a shot out there and he did a great job. He was rolling and so they kept him out there. Obviously, my time came in the second quarter and in the second half, and we both knew that at the end of the day, we were willing to do whatever it took to help this team to get a win if that is what it calls for. It was a lot of fun.”…Will Howard, post-game
JM: I was a bit surprised when Jaren Lewis came into the game. I initially thought Howard must be injured, but that wasn’t the case. It was preplanned for Lewis to get some reps. He did a decent job but mostly handed the ball off in leading K-State to a touchdown and a field goal in the two drives he was in the game.
“We knew he (Carson Strong) was a great quarterback, NFL talent. We knew we had to show him a lot of things and get into different looks and make him read things.”…Tee Denson, post-game
JM: Nevada quarterback Carson Strong is the real deal. He threw some passes that only NFL quarterbacks can throw. I can see why he’s on track to be a first-round NFL draft pick next spring.
“Yes sir. That’s our goal each and every week just to prove people wrong. Today they’ve got us playing on ESPN+, next week they’ve got us playing on ESPN+. We find it to be disrespectful. We’re just going to stay humble and eat crumbs and just continue to do great things.”…Tee Denson, post-game
JM: While it sucks that K-State is getting stuck on ESPN Plus, I like that the players and coaches have a chip on their shoulders about it.
“That’s pretty big. That’s actually crazy. I’m just now learning about that, but that’s just a testament to my o-line up front. They did their thing today and all week dating back to last year. I love those boys up front, the tight ends, fullbacks. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in without them.” …Deuce Vaughn, post-game
JM: Deuce rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown and has rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games. He has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his career, with 1,014 yards. Can he catch Darren Sproles to become the all-time rushing leader in K-State history? Sproles had 4,979 rushing yards. John Hubert is second on the list with 2,993 yards. But why settle for second when first is available? (I seem to remember a former K-State basketball coach saying that). It will be fascinating to watch.
“It sucks whenever you have a player down but you always have to have the mentality that you’ll finish the job and to finish it for Khalid. That’s what we were thinking about and to make sure we keep pushing and pressing through because you can’t bring the whole team down.” …Timmy Horne, post-game
JM: I hope Khalid Duke’s injury is not serious. It looked like a knee injury. He couldn’t put any pressure on his left leg when being helped off the field. If he is out for an extended period of time, it could be a huge loss for the Wildcat defense.
The decision was made on Sunday or Monday when Coach Mess and Coach Klein and I talked, that we were going to play both guys and both guys deserved an opportunity to play. We brought both of the two players in and said, ‘Will, you’re the starter and Jaren, you’re gonna play’. Not because of anything Will’s done, but because of the body of work that Jaren has shown us in the spring, the summer, in the fall, that he deserved that opportunity.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: It was nice that they gave Jaren Lewis some playing time, but it was obvious that the plan was for him to mostly hand the ball off and not turn the ball over. Hey, it worked. No complaints from me.
“K-State outrushed Nevada 269-25 and rushed for four touchdowns. Its streak of five 200-yard rushing efforts dating to last season and marks the longest streak since 2016. “…www.kstatesports.com
JM: The recipe to win in football is not hard. Run the ball, control the clock, don’t turn the ball over, score touchdowns, play strong defense. That said, will K-State’s offense have to be more balanced in Big 12 play? Yes.
“It’s a heck of a win and it’s momentum. We’re keeping the bus rolling. It’s the ‘revenge tour’ and it’s far from over. We’ll take this momentum. We’re going to put it behind us, and keep rowing, and work our butts off for next week.” …Will Howard, post-game
JM: K-State players keep mentioning the “revenge tour” that they’re on this season. This motivation tactic seems to be working just fine so far.
“If you don’t turn the football over and you can rush the football and you play competitive enough defense, you’re going to have a chance to win games in the fourth quarter. That’s what we’re asking these guys to do is not make mistakes and make people beat us, and let’s get games to the fourth quarter and see where we’re at.” …Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: Sound like something Marty Schottenheimer would have said?
K-State opens Big 12 play next week against Oklahoma State in Stillwater at 6:00 on ESPN Plus. It is a winnable game and will be fun to watch.