Good things happen to those who wait
Jeff Schwinn, for sure, waited, and Saturday at KSU Stadium, some good things happened to the former Wildcat walk-on and now fifth-year-senior. "It was everything I thought it could be," said Schwinn after gaining his first Kansas State start at quarterback and scoring a 38-7 victory over the Massachusetts Minutemen. "Playing for the No. 7 team in the country and to step up and help the team win is what I wanted to do."
Schwinn, who had gone through four full seasons, four off-season conditioning programs, and four spring practices, was getting his first start in place of the injured Ell Roberson. A Roberson who Snyder said may or may not, be ready for next week's Marshall game. Now, no one is going to mistaken Schwinn's passing abilities to ... oh, those of Lynn Dickey; or his foot agility to ... oh, that of Roberson, but Schwinn played within his capabilities and did what he was asked to do.
That's keep his Wildcat football team undefeated. "Jeff had total command and made us feel real comfortable," said receiver James Terry, who caught eight passes for 120 yards. "He was laughing and joking, which is just the way Jeff is. We knew he was ready." The start, however, was ... ahhh, maybe jittery after a night where Schwinn admitted, "It took a little extra longer to get to sleep."
A handoff to Darren Sproles lost a yard, which was followed by an incomplete pass, and then a completion ... but to Massachusetts' Steve Costello. "The first part of the first quarter I didn't perform like I should have," Schwinn said. "I made a few mistakes, but that's what this week is for ... to correct those mistakes." Of the interception, he said, "As a quarterback, you have to let that kind of stuff go. That's what I tried to do."
Snyder admitted, "Jeff had a little rocky start. He threw a couple balls which probably shouldn't have been thrown, but overall, he did fine." Also impressed with Schwinn was his backup Dylan Meier, who finished the game by rushing for 28 yards, including an 8-yard option TD, and hitting one of his two passes for an additional 27 yards.
While Meier, a redshirt-freshman called his own play "good, bad and ugly," he was most impressed with Schwinn's debut as a starter. "He had a rough start, but came back and battled back," Meier said. "He gave it his all on every play. I'm really proud of him." K-State's next possession would result in a 38-yard field goal by Joe Rheem, which was followed by a possession where Schwinn was again picked, but the fault of Terry, who could not keep control of the ball.
On three of KSU's next four times with the ball, Schwinn led the Wildcats to touchdowns. The first was an 11-play, 74-yarder capped by a 7-yard pass to tight end Brian Casey for a score. That, Schwinn says, settled him into his first true comfort zone. "The field goal was good, but our mail goal is to get it in the end zone," Schwinn said. "That took a lot of tension off."
On KSU's next possession, a 61-yard drive was highlighted by a 42-yard run by Darren Sproles, and the next drive included four Sproles' runs, plus three completions - 24, 11 and 7 yards - to Terry. Schwinn's day would end with 17 of 26 throwing for 228 yards and one touchdown, plus rushing for 18 yards, leaving Snyder somewhat pleased, but also looking toward additional growth in his game. "They put some quick pressure on him and he wasn't quite prepared for it, but that's the tempo of the game as opposed to what you see on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," Snyder said.
Of having the likes of Sproles, who rushed for 152 yards and three TDs, in the same backfield, Schwinn said, "I had a comfort out there being with all the No. 1s. I had a lot of comfort in the huddle, which is pretty good for a new guy stepping in." And Schwinn was just that on this game day ... pretty darn good for a new guy stepping in.
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