Bowl Hopes Disappear in the High Altitude
by Zach Armstrong and Brian Kelly
Titillating? Yes! Hard fought? Yes! Heartbreaking? Absolutely!
So disappointing is that Kansas State rested only 64 yards from bowl hopes and a possible victory that would have brought the Cats back to Manhattan for a homecoming game on Senior day to face against the Clones of ISU. And yet, as 43,502 fans of both Kansas State and Colorado fans in Boulder, Colorado waited patiently for over time, Joel Klatt innocently rolled out to his left and left Kansas State fans holding their breath and unable to breathe in the high altitude of the Rockies. Pressure was on, pressure was applied and KSU DT- Derek Marso missed the sack by a shoelace, diving face first at Klatt's feet.
Even more bitter-sweet perhaps is that this victory secures a Buffs bowl bid and as incredulous as it may sound, leaves the Buffs still with a chance to play for the Big 12 title.
The ball was thrown through the air to a shockingly wide-open and streaking Buff WR, Ron Monteilh, and some 64 yards later- down the field, the dream was over. Touchdown, Colorado, with 6 ticks remaining on the clock as Wildcat fans closed their eyes and heard the outcome as one side of the stadium exploded. The air went completely out of the other side with only a last gasp to be heard -- Cat fans were left gasping for air and struggling to figure out what had just transpired. The unimaginable had happened. With a prevent defense called, the Buffs had managed to get deeper then the deepest man.
In the locker room after the game, Jesse Tetuan explained what happened on the play.
"We were in switch-off zone coverage, and I was up at linebacker depth. I saw him go back and then throw it up to (WR Ron Monteilh). It's something that kind of defined the whole game, a bunch of mix-ups and a bunch of stupid plays. Colorado is a good team. We can't make those kind of mistakes against them."
This Kansas State team has definitely had a roller coaster type of year, with its ups, like the defeat of Nebraska, and its downs, like losing to KU-another streak breaker…..consecutive wins over Kansas. The Colorado game seemed to be a combination of both of these. KSU seemed to be in the right spot towards the end of the game, with a nice play from Maurice Porter to jar a pass into the air, as Ted Sims was able to make the pick and take it into the end zone for the score, making it 24-24.
"At this point in the game it was big for us, especially the way thing were going we needed something to go are way, we capitalized on it but we just couldn't hang on, that's what happens when you don't play good football." said Tetuan.
It looked like Kansas State's was charging again as an injured Dylan Meier came in to lead the Cats back with a touchdown pass to Jermaine Moreira –tying the game at 31 and seemingly sending the game into overtime.
"We had a chance in this game. We came in and made some big plays….. This game just broke our hearts." said Moreira.
At 31-31, The Wildcats were excited and had momentum in trying to stave off the Buffs, in Boulder and keep both their season and bowl hopes alive.
"We were all hoping to go out on a high note, not only for the seniors but for the pride and character of the team. But it was not to be" talking to Bob Elliott, about the play call after the game. "I wish I had that call back. I can't fault our players; they were fighting their butts off. That's one call I would like to have back. The coverage was meant to stop the vertical play; we just didn't execute well enough."
Other then "The Catch" or the "Miracle in Michigan" that saw Michael Westbrook haul in a Hail-mary that gave the Buffs a stunning 27-26 victory over Michigan- this 64 yard strike is the second longest game winner in Colorado history.
So how close was this game really? You could say it was so close it literally came down to a shoelace.
"I was playing defensive end. I rushed up field and he came up underneath me. I hit his foot, and it's a play I should have made, and he got away. I looked up and saw them score, and it just killed me" said Derek Marso describing what almost was the game ending sack on Klatt.
But in the end it was not meant to be, there was no quit in the Buffalos either.
"We didn't stop believing," said Buffs coach Gary Barnett, after the game. A nice quote, but one wonders if it was better stated by 80's rock mega-giant, Journey. The Wildcats fought hard to have it end on such a sad play. There are many bright spots to look forward to next season with the return of Yamon Figurs. If he keeps on catching the ball the way he did in the Colorado game he will be making 16 Figurs.
And there is still much left to play for this season. Pride tops the list. And where Coach Snyder takes his team from here will be a testament to his coaching abilities. But he already has the right material with which to work.
"To tell you the truth this it the worst day of my life, but we're going to come back and keep playing no matter what. We still got another game to go, and we're going to come out firing. We have to win this next one for our seniors."
K-State takes on Iowa State next, in Manhattan for what will be some Wildcats last game in the Purple and White.
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