Originally posted on kstateonline.com
by Derek Young
ADAPTING TO CONDITIONS
To be honest, I lost track of how difficult the weather conditions made it for both of the offenses at Kansas State and Missouri. It didn’t hit me until I made the walk from the press box to the team meeting room inside the football complex.
For those not in the stadium, it was miserable. It was even chillier than expected, windy and the rain was consistent but also heavy at times. That made it nearly impossible to throw the ball with efficiency at certain points of the game.
We heard that sentiment expressed by Phillip Brooks, Eli Huggins, Chris Klieman and Adrian Martinez afterwards. It was too slippery to secure tackles during parts of the game. And the ball was wet to throw, too.
Because of that, K-State adapted their plan on the offensive end and chose not to be aggressive through the air and just let the running game do the talking. Chris Klieman wanted to just lean on his all-american at running back, Martinez’s legs and his offensive line.
It was a winning strategy. Kansas State didn’t turn it over and the Tigers threw interceptions on four consecutive drives.
The handshake between K-State head coach Chris Klieman and Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz was not a long one, and that seemed to be initiated by the Wildcat boss. He exited their exchange at midfield rather quickly.
Of course, that could have been because of multiple reasons. Drinkwitz had mocked their quarterback commit Avery Johnson over the Summer, which via social media activity, does not seem to be something that Kansas State forgot.
Additionally, they really rubbed it in when they landed receiver Joshua Manning of Lee’s Summit as well. And to cap it off, Drinkwitz and the Tigers were calling timeouts with five seconds remaining in the game to ensure that they scored a touchdown. They were already trailing 40-6.
It had real ‘Les Miles in 2019′ energy.
With that being said, Klieman and the Wildcats kept it professional during the postgame media sessions. While they admitted that it was at least a little weird and shook their head a little bit, Klieman also stated that he had no problem with Missouri trying to score.
Klieman doesn’t always reveal who the players of the game are, but he pointed out that two of them were linebacker Austin Moore and defensive end Brendan Mott when asked about each.
Moore was outstanding for the second straight week and his head coach made note of that. He led K-State in tackles a week ago and had some key third down stops on Saturday versus Missouri. The Tigers had a heck of a time blocking Mott as well. He padded his tackles for loss even more and tracked down Luther Burden from behind.
The Kansas State boss also lit up about Kobe Savage at safety once again and specifically his interception in the second half. His technique and the play on the ball he made where he baited Missouri into throwing it was impressive.
And make no mistake about it, he doesn’t take having Deuce Vaughn in the backfield for granted. Klieman knows how special he is and isn’t afraid to say it. Today, he emphasized how unselfish his offensive captain continues to be through all of the accolades and accomplishments.
If we’re going to identify a major negative, it was the penalties. The kicking game could be properly scrutinized as well, but the self-inflicted mistakes from K-State were problematic.
Seth Porter’s personal foul gave Missouri good enough field position to open up the playbook a bit more during a scoring drive in the second half. Two Kade Warner penalties stalled a couple drives. KT Leveston had one that forced the Wildcats into a field goal. They jumped offsides a few times.
Quite frankly, that needs cleaned up. If so, Kansas State cruises even more and probably scores 60-plus points on the Tigers in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I hope they can play a cleaner game before conference play starts.
However, Klieman isn’t dwelling on it thus far. When I asked if it irritated him at all, he answered by sharing that he’s never going to be irritated about winning 40-12 immediately after the game. That’s fair and I won’t knock him for it.