Cats Respond with Vast Improvement

After the Cats first game, Coach Prince held marathon practices and stressed improvement- the Cats Responded. The Wildcat defense shut out the Florida Atlantic Owls 45-0, and that was the first shut out since a 45-0 victory at Iowa State in 2003. Now that I've had a couple of days to relax from this blowout, here is the good and bad of the game, along with the postgame awards.


Positive aspects of the game:
Allow me to throw some statistics out there. The Wildcats rushed for 221 yards, and managed 18 first downs. Florida Atlantic averaged 1.4 yards per carry. FAU had to punt six times to K-States two.

The Owls were only 2-of-15 on third downs, and only 3-of-7 on fourth downs. They never crossed into the Wildcat redzone, while K-State went 3-for-4 scoring in the redzone. The Wildcats registered four sacks and Meier never touched the ground via a sack. I could go on and on, but basically this game was dominated by the Wildcats from start to finish.


Negative aspects of the game:

The only real negative from this game was that no matter how good the Wildcats looked against Florida Atlantic, they are still going to have to pick it up a few more notches when those highly-ranked Cardinals from Louisville come to town in two weeks.


Player of the game – Quarterback Dylan Meier

See the explanation of the offensive grade- but the senior more than quieted the pundits calling him out last week.


Surprise Contributor – Receiver Daniel Gonzalez

Gonzalez played extensive minutes in the second half because the game was well in hand, and because of the injury to Nelson. He caught his first career pass on the first play of the fourth quarter, and he made it count. Meier rolled out to his right and fired a pass to Gonzalez, who was waiting 14 yards away for his first ever reception, and first ever touchdown catch.


Offensive Grade – B+

Meier looked more focused and more determined in the pocket. He made better decisions and led his team to four offensive touchdowns. He only completed 10 passes for 125 yards, but the telling stats are the two touchdown passes and zero interceptions that he threw. He was still inaccurate at times, but he had more poise this week and was the obvious leader on the team.

The addition of running back Thomas Clayton was also a big help to Meier. The offense rushed for 221 total yards, and Clayton came up with 89 of those, including a score in the third quarter.


Defensive Grade – A

The defense gets this grade simply because of the big fat zero in the score column for the Owls. Florida Atlantic never reached the endzone, and the offense looked out of sync the entire game. The Wildcats had 12 tackles for loss, cornerback Bryan Baldwin had an interception and the team registered four sacks, which were all by non-starters.


Special Teams Grade – B+

Two straight weeks the special teams have scored now. In the only kickoff for the Owls, defensive back Justin McKinney opened the game with an 88-yard return for touchdown. The B is for the two total punt returns for –2 yards, and Jeff Snodgrass missing two field goals. Granted there was a ton of rain, but no excuse can be made for missing two field goals.

Snodgrass missed a 22-yarder in the first quarter, and he is now 0-for-2 from 20-29 yards out in his entire career. He also missed a 47-yarder, which was the first miss from 40-49 yards in his career. He was 6-for-6 before the miss on Saturday.


Interesting little tidbit

When the Wildcats run out of the tunnel before each game, two players lead the way carrying flags. One player carries the Kansas state flag and another one carries the American flag. Last week, it was Figurs and defensive lineman Ian Campbell. Figurs had a punt return for a touchdown and Campbell had three sacks and led the nation with five tackles for loss in the game against Illinois State.

Saturday against the Owls, McKinney and Meier held the flags. McKinney returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and Meier finished the day with 125 yards passing and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Watch out for those flag carriers next weekend.


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