If there was any doubt, the Hays native further
solidified himself as THE playmaker on the Wildcat
defense on Saturday against Oklahoma State with not
one, not two, but three big plays.
First, Watts cut through the Cowboys blockers to block
a Matt Fodge punt in the second quarter. Wide receiver
Daniel Gonzalez promptly scooped up the loose ball and
took it into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 7-0
lead. It was that play that would make his later feats
even more impressive.
"I came scot-free," Watts said. "I just put my hand
down on the ball. It was a big play and big momentum
On the punt, Watts came up with an injured hand. The
extent of the injury was not discussed, but it was
enough to have Watts head back to the locker room to
have it wrapped.
"Watts has a good heart," cornerback Byron Garvin
said. "I know he got hurt in the second quarter, but
he came back in and fought to win."
Watts had four tackles, including one for loss, on the
day, but even more heroics came from the junior in the
final 20 seconds. On second-and-one from the K-State
26, Cowboy quarterback Bobby Reid looked to receiver
Adarius Bowman streaking down the middle of the field
with a chance to take the lead. Reid, a sophomore,
made a needle-threading pass that Bowman looked to
have in his grasp. until Watts came up with a
teeth-loosening hit that left Bowman and the football
on the Wagner Field hurt.
"I've got to tip my hat to the safety," Reid said of
the pass break-up. "He made a good play. I thought
(Bowman) had it. I thought he caught it for a
touchdown and it was over."
"(Reid) was looking at (Bowman) the whole time and I
knew he was going to throw it to him," Watts said, "so
I left my landmark. Luckily, I got there at the same
time as the ball, and luckily he couldn't hold on."
Just 18 seconds later, Watts came up with the
game-ending interception, picking off a deflected ball
after Reid tried to take advantage of the Wildcats'
short cornerbacks with a jump ball in the corner of
"It bounced down," Watts said, "and (Bowman) almost
had it, actually. But he missed it, and it bounced
right to me. I just fell on the ground after that,
because I knew the game was over."
Despite his seemingly strong performance, Watts was
not satisfied with the Wildcats' effort on the
defensive side of the ball.
"As a defense, we didn't play very well today," Watts
said. "We needed the offense to step up today, and
they came through for us big time."
K-State allowed 19 Cowboy first downs and 331 total
yards, including 193 yards on the ground.
THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD. SPECIAL TEAMS?
You won't find that in any book of sports clichés, but
it is becoming a reality for the 2006 Wildcats. With
two more special teams touchdowns on Saturday,
courtesy Marcus Watts' blocked punt and Daniel
Gonzalez's return, along with Leon Patton's kick
return, the Wildcats' special teams units scored their
third and fourth touchdowns of the season. Combined
with Byron Garvin's fumble return in the opener, four
Wildcat touchdowns have come with the offense on the
How significant have these points been? Consider the
following: omitting the offensive statistical anomaly
that was the K-State victory over Florida Atlantic,
the Wildcat offense has scored five total touchdowns
this season. In those same five games (the FAU game
still stricken), the defense and special teams have
also combined to score four touchdowns.
Even though the offense seemed to show definite signs of escaping a season-long funk with two late scoring drives to top Oklahoma State, the Wildcat defense and special teams units will be relied upon to make big plays throughout the season. With youth leading the way on the offensive side of the football, K-State's other units will have to continue to make an impact for the season to be a success.