Kansas State 45 vs. Iowa State 0
Jack Trice Stadium – Ames, IA
November 8, 2003
I hate speed bumps….they're annoying. Yeah, I'm talkin' about those little bumps that people put in the middle of parking lots or even roadways in a misguided attempt to slow people down. Ya know if you get the wrong kinda speed bump it might just foul up the alignment of your car. But, I've found there's a coupla ways that most people drive ‘em. They either slow down and take it real cautious. Or, the way I prefer, they speed up and go over ‘em even faster. The way most cars work today you don't even feel it…..but it's still an inconvenience.
So today in Ames was just like one of those speed bumps. I was sure hopin' goin' into this one, the boys in purple stomped on the gas and smoothed that thing out…..and they did.
So we're roadtrippin' in the Big XII. Fall afternoons on the road takin' in a football game are great. I had the whole crew with me this time to take it in. Tater, the youngest at 6, The Bear 8, and The Senior 17 were all a part of the Horde. Ma and Pa were along too….so we we're six strong headin' into Cyclone country. We got there and got our tickets and it was brisk. Our tickets were right in the middle of Clone fans on the K-State side. The Bear asks, "Daddy, why don't we sit with the K-State fans." Well, I told her when you're on a roadtrip ya gotta get in amongst the enemy and stir it up….that was good enough for her.
So if we had any questions about whether we were gonna take it slow or step on the gas it was answered on the first coupla plays from scrimmage. After the ugly line drive kick ISU is startin' on their own 26. Justin Montgomery sacks the quarterback on the first play for a loss of seven and then on the second play Hickman comes back and looks refreshed ‘cause he laid the wood on Stevie Hicks (the runnin' back not the singer) and it sounded like a rifle shot….KA POW and ‘ol Hicks went backward……that Lynch Mob was sendin' a message today. We three and out ‘em and give the O a shot.
So the O gets decent field position and it's about 1:20 in the afternoon. Well, that just isn't late enough in the day for them. We go three and out and punt it. Brite hits a sweet high hanger that the guy fair catches at the seven and I like that change in field position.
Well, ISU figgers they better get goin' early and they do. They move the ball on some great single plays at a time. Out of the shadow of their own goal line movin' south. They take it 63 yards in 10 plays where the Mob finally stiffens and holds ‘em to a long field goal attempt. Well, that attempt is wide left and that's the last time the wind is gonna blow today.
So the O is startin' again and the cornerback is playin' soft. Roberson to Terry gets six on a quick hitter. Roberson comes back for 4 yards on a QB keeper and it's a first down. Now Ell is back to pass and pulls it down for a 27 yard scramble and ya can see a spark….I forgot to look at my clock but it had to be close to 2:00…..come back to Sproles for one and then incomplete to Thomas Hill. On 3rd and nine we invited ‘em in and they obliged by blitzin' too. Roberson hits Sproles on the screen….and they're lucky they stop him after a gain of nine, but it's still a first down. On the next play Roberson runs option left and before he pitches I say, "there it is Touchdown." Roberson pitches it, Sproles catches it and sprints for the endzone untouched. The Cyclone fan in front of me asks, "how could you see that before he even pitched it?" I said, "real easy…we had ya outnumbered to this side before the ball was snapped, our full back and guard both got downfield to block without being touched, and nobody is gonna get Sproles in the open field." He says, "Oh."
So the D comes out and pushes ‘em back again. They get three plays and go minus three right after the TD…and you can see we're stealin' their will a little bit. So they punt and Sproles almost gets loose he brings it back 15 and we're in business.
Roberson goes for a loss of 1, then hits Sproles on a pass for six and then it's Sproles on a sprint draw for thirteen and the first down. We call timeout and come back to Sproles on the run for one and then complete to Polite for 10 and the first down to their ten-yard line. Now Sproles goes for one and then none and that's the quarter we switch ends and head south. Out of the quarter break Roberson hits Hill for a nine-yard throw and catch and it's 14-zip right there.
Well, ISU comes out with what little hope they got left and move it a shade. They get a coupla passes. But, ya know every time Iowa State got one play that Lynch Mob stepped up and didn't allow the second play. That's so important on a good defense…. teams are gonna make a few plays against ya, but ya gotta be ready the next time to stop their momentum. This time after movin' the ball 18 yards James McGill steps up…or steps in front of an Iowa State pass and it's an interception puttin' the O in business.
Sproles goes for six up the gut on first down and then we do a little option reverse to Moreira. He can't handle the pitch and we fumble and ISU recovers. The Clone fan around me says, "Why would you run that reverse when you can just punish us up the middle with Sproles?" I say, "well, the reverse was definitely there…we had the blockers and the edge…it was gonna be a big play…great offensive play call, poor execution." So it fizzles right there.
But, the Mob don't care cause they three and out ‘em. Well that three and out sets up a whole bunch of vanilla football ‘till the half clicks off. Nothin' happens and it's gonna be 14-zip at half. When the boys are runnin' in I look at my watch and tell the Senior….it's only 2:15. He says, "Yeah, it's gonna be a quick game." I said, "Yep, it's already over…those boys in white are fixin' to wake up."
Well, that's what they did. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, the boys up front bust Sproles loose and he races 70 yards for the TD and that was it….the boys were awake and steppin' on the gas. This speed bump was gonna be smooth.
So the rest of the half was just puttin' it on cruise control. That Lynch Mob came to play; the Iowa State possessions in the second half went three and out, three and INT, three and out, three and out, 8 plays for 37 stopped with an INT, and four plays that ended up netting minus 5 yards. So there ya have it another dominating performance by the Mob in the second half…. and no TD's in the last twelve quarters of football. As usual, Josh Buhl was all over the place registerin' another nine tackles and leadin' the team. We got to finally see the ballyhooed Marvin Simmons come in in the second quarter. I focused my eyes on this guy and let me tell ya he brings speed to the table. There were a few plays he bit on some action and got himself in the wrong spot, but he made up for it……..and fast. When he wadn't runnin' down ballcarriers he was takin' on blocks and he did that pretty well too. He definitely brings the wood when he's hittin' out there…and he brought it six times on this day. A word about Ced Williams too. He's been playin' good ball. He's lockin' down the opponents best receiver and when a runnin' back breaks out from the front seven he's providin' sound tacklin'. He takes the feet and he doesn't whiff. He got three tackles and an INT on this day. Overall, this unit keeps gettin' better headin' into the game against Nebraska…..an offense they're built to stop.
Now for the O in the second half. They stepped on the gas a little bit. They went for three TD's in their first three drives and a field goal in their fourth. Donnie Anders has to hold onto the ball…he fumbled the first play of the fifth drive. But Meier led the seconds on a sweet drive for a TD in the fourth quarter. He's got some quicks and showed ‘em on some QB keepers including his 30 yarder up the middle for the final TD. I think this group is gellin'. They've got the passin' game workin' and Sproles and Roberson in the run game can go deep at any moment. Ya gotta be feelin' good ‘specially since the kickoff was moved to 2:30…..they oughta be fully awake.
Last week I was a little harsh on the kick coverage. Well it looked like the boys worked on it this week. The Cyclones got a couple of decent ones, but not backbreakin' field position changers. The coverage and the kicks were better….they need to get even better this week.
So where does this one leave us? Ya know folks all year we've been dreamin' and talkin' about breakin' that streak in Lincoln. This program has been about buildin' step by step…..and that's been happenin'. The buildin' has been happenin' by buryin' long standin' ignominious records. Every team that breaks down one of those ignominies gets to write their chapter in the book of this building of tradition of K-State football. We're all a bit disappointed because of a string of three losses in September and October…games we shoulda won. We all had visions of grandeur for this team before the season started and those losses squashed those visions.
But, this team, this group, still has great things ahead of it…great possibilities…..the opportunity to write a chapter in the book of K-State football history that hasn't been written. They have a chance to leave a legacy for the future. This group can be the fifth team in the 86-year history of the series to win back-to-back and the first under Coach Snyder. This group can be the seventh team to win at Lincoln and the first since 1968. This group of seniors could register their third win against Nebraska a feat accomplished by only two other senior classes…..not to mention the possibilities of being the North Division champion and all that means.
So during the middle of the season we faced disappointment and the realization that we aren't gonna be in the hunt for a national title. But as with all things ya gotta get better and accomplish goals a little bit at a time. Even with those disappointments there's so much more on the line. We can salvage things that are very meaningful to the history of the program. It's time to take that step and write the name in the book….I'll be there along with the Purple Horde to see it.
Let's go Beat Nebraska!
Until next time,
Wildcat Victory is more than a Song!
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