The Iowa State Cyclones came into Manhattan and beat K-State 42-35 on a cold, snowy night on Senior Day, likely quarterback Will Howard’s last home game as a Wildcat. K-State’s defense was not good in this one, giving up 488 yards and too many big plays to count. Every Iowa State touchdown came on plays of 33 yards or longer. I’ve never seen anything like it. At least K-State’s defense never gave up a red zone touchdown. Of course, Iowa State was never in the red zone.
K-State’s offense was mostly good, gaining 497 yards on the night, but they were unable to tie the score at the end of the game. The last two drives for the K-State offense resulted in an interception by Will Howard and an incompletion on 4th and eight from the Iowa State 18-yard line with 49 seconds left in the game.
Here are the highlights and quotes from the coach and players after the game.
JM: I had a feeling that K-State was in for a long night when Iowa State running back Abu Sama took the opening hand-off 71 yards for a touchdown. Sama had a lot of big runs in the game. He finished the night with 276 yards on 16 carries, an astonishing 17.2 yard per carry average, and three touchdowns. I told a buddy of mine it might be hard to provide commentary on this game because the team that wins might just be the one who plays better in the snow, not the team that is better. Iowa State proved all night that they could play in the snow.
JM: When K-State recovered this fumble in the first quarter, I figured it would be the first of many in the game considering the conditions. It proved to be the only fumble lost by either team. Will Howard had the game’s only interception.
JM: I had two friends text me that the K-State red zone play-calling is pathetic. This call sure was. What do you think? K-State was forced to kick a field goal instead of tying the game.
JM: Should have had him down int he backfield, but instead he ran for a 77-yard touchdown. Poor tackling once again. Chris Klieman mentioned the poor tackling a few times in his post-game press conference.
“…We did not tackle and we did not make plays across the board on defense and it’s a shame because I was so hoping for those seniors that they had the opportunity to win.”…Head coach Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: This is how I hit my brothers when we played football in the snow as kids. Of course we didn’t have pads and helmets on. I always loved playing football in the snow.
JM: Alright! K-State ties the game with a two-point conversion! Nope, I was wrong. Klieman elected to kick the extra point to remain down a point. I don’t understand not going for two there, but it ended up not mattering much in the outcome of the game.
JM: K-State created some opportunities in the game. This recovery on the K-State punt was huge at the time. It allowed K-State to regain possession and drive for the go-ahead touchdown.
JM: Speaking of poor tackling, Iowa State had their share of poor tackles.
JM: K-State’s lead was short lived after Jaylin Noel took this one to the house. Would he have been that wide open had it not been for the snow? Probably not, but you be the judge.
JM: K-State answered with this rushing touchdown by Will Howard. This time they converted the two-point try to tie the game….
JM: Unfortunately, the lead was once again short-lived….
JM: This time Sama went for 60 yards and a touchdown with an assist from K-State cornerback Will Lee. I’ve never seen a defensive back propel the running back forward before to assist in the touchdown, and I wasn’t the only one.
“I’ve never seen in my five years here and I’m frustrated, I’m angry. I’ve got a lot of different emotions. You know we just, we weren’t good enough and we’ve got to get better. We have to get better.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: That was Chris Klieman when asked about the performance of the defense. His frustration is justified. The K-State defense was porous all night.
JM: Despite the ineptitude of the K-State defense, the K-State offense answered right back to take a 35-28 lead on this 11 play, 75-yard drive capped off my a two-yard touchdown run by Treshaun Ward. It would be the last score by K-State and the lead was short-lived, as the Cyclones only needed four plays to tie the game…
JM: The K-State defense was starting to get a lot better, giving up their shortest touchdown (33 yards) on the night. <snicker>
“You’re gonna be in a lot of one-on-one situations and we didn’t make one-on-one plays.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: You don’t say?
K-State was forced to punt on their next offensive drive and Iowa State took advantage. Again.
JM: This proved to be the game-winning touchdown, an 82-yard catch and run to Jaylin Noel that was head scratching as he ran right past the entire K-State defense.
JM: Seriously, how does this happen?
“It was you know, both lack of execution and bad tackling. I think a lot of times were in place and we just didn’t make tackles, I didn’t make tackles, the lack of execution on the third down play. I need to stay outside and keep my leverages, things like that, lack of execution, lack of tackling.”…K-State linebacker Austin Moore, post-game
JM: I think that sums it up.
K-State had two more opportunities. On the first one, this happened…
JM: Just a horrible pass by Will Howard there. No other way to say it. K-State got the ball back and the Wildcats drove the ball down the field with an opportunity to tie the game, but were unsuccessful on 4th and eight from the Iowa State 18-yard line.
“It was close. It was kind of just an ad lib. You know, I just saw Phil [Phillip Brooks] in the back of the endzone, and wanted to give him a shot. But their DB [defensive back] made a good play and closed on it so, good for them.”…K-State Quarterback Will Howard, post-game
JM: An ad lib? Howard was visibly angry after this play, taking off his helmet and slamming it on the sideline. Howard ended the game 24 of 48 passing for 288 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Unfortunately, he didn’t get it done in crunch time on the last two possessions and due to recency bias that is what a lot of people will remember about the game.
“It sucks because I wanted to be able to send a senior class out the right way.”…Will Howard, post-game
JM: I will remember the Will Howard era as mostly positive, but it was sure a roller coaster ride. He did lead the team to the Big 12 championship last season and he never lost to KU. That’s what I will focus on.
JM: We also need to remember Will Howard as a great kid. I got a bit choked up watching this video. He was pissed off after losing and still took the time to sign an autograph while walking off the field. The emotion on his face as he turned around to look at the field says enough. A picture says a thousand words.
Now we await K-State’s bowl game destination. It will be a great opportunity to send Will Howard off with a victory. Step it up, defense.