Wildcat Grade Card
Wildcat Grade Card
By Joshua Kinder
Offense and Passing Game: A
There really isn't much more an offensive unit could have done that K-State didn't take care of Saturday. The Wildcats totaled over 500 yards of offense on a top 10 defense, using a balanced attack. Quarterback Ell Roberson throw the ball effectively using both long and short pass patterns, and perhaps the best aspect of the passing game was that after committing three turnovers, the Wildcats stayed with what they were doing and didn't become predictable. This was perhaps Roberson's defining moment at K-State, a win and performance in Lincoln that neither K-State nor Nebraska will forget for some time. K-State passed for 313 yards and ran for another 248. Darren Sproles had 140 of those.
Offensive Line: A+
They were great against the speedy Husker defense. Roberson had all day to pass the ball, and the line opened holes just large enough for Sproles to squeeze through. Roberson was hit a few times, but not until after connecting on some deep routes. No sacks were surrendered to what was the No. 8 defense nationally.
They were solid, especially James Terry, who appeared to be open on every play en route to his six receptions and 175 yards. Antoine Polite continued to shine with his five receptions, and most importantly, was able to get open in pressure situations and on broken plays. Tight end Brian Casey was effective yet again to the deep part of the field, pulling in two passes for 67 yards.
Running Backs: A+
Several good things happened for K-State. Travis Wilson blocked everything that came his way, including a first down rumble of his own. Sproles was Sproles, rushing for 100 yards for this seventh time this season and 16th of his career. Though held to just 38 yards in the first half, Sproles unloaded in the second half on his way to 140 on the day.
K-State proved that Nebraska is clueless if it can't run through people. Like many thought going into the game, the Corn was unable to connect on passes when the run failed. The defense forced turnovers and got adequate pressure on Husker QB Jammal Lord all day. The defense bent, but never broke. They gave up a lot of yards between the 20s, but didn't give up the scores, which is the key. Husker running back Cory Ross got his yardage, but using timely blitzes and speed on the corners, contained the speedy tailback and extinguished their option game. The only reason K-State's defense doesn't warrant a perfect grade is because Nebraska had its chances. Capable receivers and decent passing QB could have moved the ball better. There were open receivers down the field and balls receivers could have made adjustments on to complete the pass, which is something K-State needs to improve because Missouri's Brad Smith can actually pass. Oh, and some think this guy can run. Just ask Texas Tech who gave up 291 on the ground to the sophomore QB.
Defensive Line: B+
Playing Nebraska is always a challenge due to its running game. But the line stepped up and contained the option, not over committing, and staying with assignments. They applied pressure to Lord, forcing him to throw bad passes and even sacking him twice. Defensive end Andrew Shull recovered a fumble and tackle Justin Montgomery swatted the ball twice.
It was one of the rare occasions that Josh Buhl didn't get his 10 tackles, but it was good to see the other linebackers step up and do some things. Hickman forced a fumble on Nebraska's own 23, which set up a Roberson touchdown and Ted Sims contributed six tackles. They pursued the ball and fought off blocks to stay with the option to the corners.
They made some big plays, but also gave up some room to receivers that aren't very good. Ultimately, those things need corrected, but against a team like Nebraska, where you have to be aware of so many things in the running game, they did a good job. James McGill and Cedric Williams each had an interception, while strong safety Rashad Washington had 10 tackles.
Special Teams: B-
Two things happened Saturday on special teams. K-State blocked a field goal, which is good. But KSU's Joe Rheem also missed a field of just 27 yards, which is bad. He shouldn't be missing those kicks. One thing K-State pulled of its bag of goodies was the reverse punt return to receiver Joe Lawson. It was effective and caught the Huskers off guard.
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