Detail Missing In Cats Loss to Texas Tech

The Kansas State Wildcats coming off an impressive win over Nebraska last week were looking to capitalize on the victory and take a major step in controlling their own destiny in the Big 12 North. Unfortunately, there were only steps backwards as the Wildcats watched their title hopes virtually go down the drain.

With a 35-25 loss to the Red Raiders from Texas Tech at KSU Stadium on Saturday Night- the Cats would need divine intervention to somwhoe find a way to claw back into title contention.

Texas Tech quarterback Sonnie Cumbie set the tone early for the Red Raiders leading them on an initial 11 play 86 yard drive, highlighted by a 40 yard pass to receiver Joel Filani all the way to the Wildcat 16 yard line. Tech capped it off with a one yard touchdown pass from Cumbie to Jarrett Hicks to take an early 7-0 lead. Cumbie finished the game 27-39 for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns in Mike Leach's High Powered passing attack. The 326 yards the lynch mob allowerd were the fewest that Cumbie had thrown for this season.

The Red Raiders kept the pressure on the Wildcat Defense in the first quarter after the Cats came up empty on their initial drive. Cumbie and company had an 11 play 83 yard drive and Troy Haverty scored on a 20 yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.

"They're good and we're not a great defensive football team," said Kansas State defensive coordinator Bobby Elliott. "They're simple in their concept and they throw and catch better than anybody, you can play them man or zone and they know what to do in either case. Nobody stops them, you try to slow them down and control them."

K-State's defense while hurt by the score were more pained when defensive end Kevin Huntley went down to what appeared to be a serious leg injury, and linebacker Marvin Simmons went down with a shoulder during Tech's march down the field.

Kansas State slept through the first quarter with one first down for only 13 yards of total offense. Tech gathered 9 first downs and ran up 178 yards of total offense.

The Wildcats came to life in the second quarter as quarterback Dylan Meier marched the team down the field in a 11 play 67 yard drive for a touchdown to cut the lead in half at 14-7. Meier hit Yamon Fugurs on a nice 24 yard reception to the Tech 17 yard line. Darren Sproles finished the scoring drive off with a 5 yard run to the end zone with 5:45 left in the half.

Back quickly came Tech as Cumbie led his team down the field to the K-State 9 yard line, but a throw into the end zone on 3rd and 6 was over thrown and Tech receiver Jarrett Hicks was called for offensive pass interference . The Red Raiders decided to go for the field goal and the kick from Alex Trlica hit the right upright with 3:34 left in the half.

The Wildcats came out moving the ball to start the second half as Joe Rheem hit a 28 yard field goal to cut the Tech lead to 14-10. The big play on the drive was a Dylan Meier a 44 yard pass completion to Yamon Figurs. The sophomore wide receiver finished the game with 3 big catches for 91 yards. The one crutch effecting the offense of the Wildcats tonight and throughout the season was the inability to convert on important 3rd down conversions.

The next possession by the Red Raiders started from their own 20 yard line and included a costly personal foul penalty on Tearrius George and a big completion for 31 yards from Cumbie to Jarrett Hicks. Running back T Henderson finished the drive off with a one yard run for a touchdown to make the score 21-10 with 6:24 left in the 3rd quarter.

Following another quick 3 and out, another big play put the Wildcats further behind when Texas Tech wide receiver took a Tim Reyer punt and ran it back 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Red Raiders a 28-10 lead with 4:31 left in the quarter.

There was a momentum swing toward the end of the 3rd quarter as the Wildcats had the Tech offense pinned back on their own 9 yard line. Cumbie under pressure and running in his end zone was called for intentional grounding giving Kansas State a safety and the ball back.

Behind 28-12 the Cats scored quickly behind the legs of Dylan Meier and Darren Sproles. Meier had a tough and effective 18 yard run Sproles capped off the scoring drive with a terrific 43 yard run, closing the gap to 28-19 with a little under 3 minutes to play.

There was a frenzied feeling among everyone at KSU stadium that something special was about to happen, a great comeback, a total collapse by Texas Tech , but the tide soon turned once again in the other direction.

Dylan Meier's interception into the hands of Tech defensive end Adell Ducket in the middle of the fourth quarter , leading to a 43 yard touchdown run by Taurean Henderson making the score 35-19 and sealing the Wildcats fate . A late touchdown dive by Meier of 2 yards and a failed 2 point conversion made the final score 35-25.

"The game is all about momentum", said linebacker Brandon Archer (who led the team with 11 tackles), "and we didn't do our job to keep it." "We had the ability to make something happen with our season and we didn't take advantage of it. As a team we went down a notch tonight in all phases of our game tonight coaching offense, special teams and defense. We're lacking detail on all aspects of the game. All we can do is come in Monday look at what we did wrong and fix our problems and salvage part of the season".

With high expectations this Kansas State team had turned the corner on the season, and were ready to make a typical late season charge and make a statement in the Big 12 north makes this loss even more devastating.

"We are a much better football team than this," said Jermaine Moreira (who had 6 catches for 36 yards), "hopefully we can bounce back from this loss and get these last three games. We're just laying eggs, not executing, not focused, we had to many dropped passes and it catches up to you."

In adversity Wildcat teams of the past have had a fire or a killer instinct to fight back and show resistance when times looked bleak. The question is does this years team possess those qualities?

"To tell you the truth I don't think so," said Moreira , "we are not putting up a fight like we should."

Darren Sproles led the Wildcats with 83 yards on 18 carries, he also caught 10 passes. Quarterback Dylan Meier completed 26 or 41 passes , he also rushed the ball 16 times for 84 yards.

The Wildcats (3-5, 1-4) next move onto Columbia to battle the Missouri, Tigers and the Red Raiders (5-3, 3-2) play The Baylor Bears at home.

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