Many players made strong contributions toward the victory, but here are the guys who proved they were worthy of the Monday awards.
Players of the game on offense – Running back James Johnson
Coach Ron Prince gave Johnson the starting nod after he rushed for 127 yards in a reserve role last week against Missouri, and he did not disappoint. He was given 22 opportunities to carry the ball, and he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown against the stingy Cyclone defense.
Quarterback Josh Freeman was finally able to get into a groove – he was 14-of-20 for 161 yards, one touchdown and an interception – but the biggest reason for his success was because of the running game keeping the Cyclone defense honest.
Player of the game on defense –
Linebacker Brandon Archer
Prince said he doesn't know how, but Archer is somehow always around the ball. This held true against Iowa State when he recovered two key fumbles by the Cyclones.
He was there when Ryan Baum fumbled a punt, which resulted in what would have been a 77-yard gain for K-State, and he was also there when wide receiver Jon Davis fumbled a ball at the three-yard line just before halftime. The second fumble recovery was huge because Iowa State was about to score the go-ahead touchdown, which would have given the team a ton of momentum going into halftime.
Surprise Contributor –
Fullback John McCardle
Out of the all the weapons Freeman had to choose from for his first-career touchdown, it was McCardle who was the recipient of the pass.
The play was simple – just a play-action pass – but it was run to perfection, as McCardle was wide open for the first touchdown of his career.
He did not record another statistic in the game, but the one time he was able to find the stat book, he made it count.
Offensive Grade – B
The Wildcats seem to be finding some sort of rhythm on this side of the ball. The team only had 317 yards of total offense, but it came in the form of 156 yards rushing and 161 passing. This kind of balance will pay huge dividends in the future, especially if the offensive line continues to mature into a solid blocking unit.
Defensive Grade – B
The defense allowed nearly 400 yards of Cyclone offense, but the most important factor is that after giving up 10 points in the first quarter, K-State did not allow another point. The Wildcats kept quarterback Bret Meyer and his offense out of the endzone for three quarters, which is an impressive feat in itself.
Special Teams Grade – B-
Iowa State had the most potent punt return team in the Big 12 going into this game, but the Wildcats held it to –18 return yards on only two attempts. Punter Tim Reyer averaged 48.5 yards per punt, and kicker Jeff Snodgrass was 1-of-2 on his field goal attempts. Nothing too special here, just another efficient and effective day for the K-State special teams.