K-State's 27-20 loss to Marshall can be attributed to a number of things, from poor rush defense to poor play calling, poor preparation to having its Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback on the sideline.
But perhaps it can be most correctly attributed to simply miscommunication.
Quarterback Jeff Schwinn, making only his second career start, burned all three of K-State's first half timeouts before the 10 minute mark of the second quarter. Two of them were used just one play apart as the first quarter winded down.
While one of the timeouts appeared to have to do with an equipment problem, the other two can be attributed to lack of coordination between Schwinn and the sideline.
"We got into some formations we really didn't try to put on the field," Coach Bill Snyder said. "There was some miscommunication in regards to he signal process."
The Wildcats' communication problems also extended to the defense, where linebackers Bryan Hickman, Josh Buhl and Matt Butler struggled to find continuity with a defensive line that couldn't stop Marshall running backs Earl Charles and Butchie Davis.
The duo combined to rush for nearly 200 yards, and Davis became the first running back to go over 100 yards in a game since Chris Brown did it for Colorado on Oct. 5, 2002.
"We thought they were going to come out and throw the ball against us," Buhl said. "They did a good job of scheming against us and did some things we weren't expecting."
That, defensive coordinator Bob Elliot said, was the reason the Wildcat defense struggled. The miscommunication was directly related to Marshall bringing at K-State something for which they were almost completely unprepared.
"They got us a bit off kilter," Elliot said. "They created problems for us."
That may be the most understated comment of the postgame press conference, the first of the season in which the faces of Wildcat players displayed the same disappointment felt by thousands of fans.
"I'm not happy right now," defensive end Andrew Shull said. "I guarantee this will be in my mind the next couple of weeks."
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