Watts a captain
Marcus Watts took the field as a captain for the first
time in his K-State career. Watts said he was honored
by the opportunity, and he seemed to show it on the
field. He seemed to be running around the field with
a higher level of enthusiasm than normal. After a big
fourth down stop early in the first quarter he hopped
up immediately and flashed the Lynch Mob hand signal.
I usually make it to the stadium at least an
hour-and-a-half early, but found myself on McCall Road
with just one hour until game-time on Saturday.
Around 50 minutes later I finally pulled into the KSU
Stadium parking lot. It's a depressing sight when
you're in a car and you're being passed by crowds of
Thanks to the traffic, most were not entrenched in their media seats
in time to witness the annual hog-fest. I can attest
to the amount of noise the bikes made, but can not
comment on any sights of the motorcycles. Always a fun deal and something that makes Kansas State different then so many other stadiums around the country.
I cannot accurately say whether or not the game was
officially sold out, but the view from the press box
didn't show many empty seats. Even the high reaches
of the upper deck were occupied and at times the stadium was very loud. The crowd played a factor here for some of the snaps and the team seemed to feed off it. Granted, there may
have been a little more crimson and blue than many in
purple had wished, but the game's outcome seemed to clear some of that out.
Return of the Mob
What was that hand signal being tossed around? The
one with arms crossed at the wrists and right angles
formed with the thumbs and index fingers? That's
right, the Lynch Mob signal made a return, along with
a number of big plays by the defense. Players said
coach Bob Elliott, said the defense has earned the
right to be granted the Lynch Mob moniker once again.
Big, big plays
Defensive and special teams plays exhibiting a "Mob"
mentality included: Marcus Watts stopping a receiver
in his tracks to keep KU from converting on fourth
down in their opening drive; the Wildcats recovering a
KU muffed punt reception; Derek Marso blocking a field
goal; Ted Sims and Alphonso Moran stuffing Brian Luke
on another attempted fourth down conversion in the
third quarter; Bret Alstatt saving a punt from
entering the end zone, leaving the ball to be downed
on the KU one-yard-line; Tearrius George bringing Luke
down for a safety three plays later; and Brandon Archer and Ian Campbell denying Brandon McAnderson any
yards, stopping yet another attempted fourth-down
conversion, and wrapping up the victory for the Cats.
Ugly 1st half
The first half of football, which saw the two teams
combine for187 total yards, was unlike any half of
football I'd seen before. It would have been one
thing if the two defenses had been that dominating,
but the number of mistakes coming from both squads
made it the ugliest half of football I've ever
witnessed. The second half seemed to showcase both
defenses in a better light (i.e. they, instead of
penalties, were the reasons for lack of offensive
Home field advantage
Being able to stand on the field during the Jayhawks
final drive, I can attest to the problems that could
be caused by the crowd noise. It was difficult to
talk to another media member standing next to me - I
can't imagine what trying to bark out a check at the
line would be like. Great job by the fans in making
their mark. The "back to normal" chant at the end of
the game was a nice touch, as well.
This team takes up for one another. Mid-way through the third quarter there was a tussel and Quinton Echols was Johnnie on the spot. He immediately went in- grabbed a Jayhawk by his jersey and shoved him aside and for good measure gave another a chest bump along the way. This is a tight knit group that plays with fire and takes up for one another. Echols is not afraid to stick his helmet facemask to facemask and lay down the law. There is good chemistry here.
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