Well, to begin with, one needs to congratulate a well coached Kansas State Team. They came into Los Angeles and beat USC fair and square. Having said that, I want to comment on several aspects of the game. Over the course of the next several days, there will be analyses od infinitum about this game, so I will try to give an individual viewpoint which may actually differ from many others
First concerning the coaching: I really liked our defensive adjustments. We were not taken apart in the second half till we tired. In my opinion, that shows that Carroll and his assistants noted some things and made the necessary adjustments. For the most part, the SC D held its own in the second half and it caused a nice turnover which did lead to a score. Unfortunately, as has been the case in what seems like a million games, the D was on the field far too long.
I do have to question the offensive play calling for much of the game. If I did not know better, the up the middle, up the middle and long incomplete pass routine seemed eerily familiar and that was not a pleasant thought. We did see glimpses of Chow's mindset that I have awaited, but far too many calls seemed to just confound me.
One again our receivers did not play a good game. I won't take anything away from their fine db's especially Newman, but our guys did not get open, dropped too many balls and simply played poorly too often. Alex Holmes showed some good hands but he is slow afoot, or at least that is the way he looks. However, he does catch the ball. Keary Colbert once again showed that he cannot be counted on as he dropped a ball that was right in his hands. Sadly, even Grant Mattos dropped a ball that simply has to be completed.
I thought the Dline, especially the down four did a fair job in the first half, but a pretty good job in the second half. However, the linebackers got worked and we were especially weak right up the middle. Pollard was not effective for much of the game and his replacement was Lee Webb. One must wonder exactly what has happened to Graham! He did have game experience last year and he played reasonably well. It does not seem like he would have left the middle any more exposed than it was today.
Our Oline was not bad on pass protection. Carson did have to scramble but he was not sacked very often. There were not many running lanes and I still have no idea why SC seemingly wasted so many valuable downs in the vital second half on running plays that showed almost not chance of working. It seemed like we were in second and long too often. Just as that running play rarely worked, the short out pass to the back was effective and can somebody explain to me why we did not continue that four and five yard stuff until they proved that they could take it away.
On television at least, it did not appear that Carson had a great game. He did have a few nice passes to Kelly, but for the most part he was off and when he was on, too many were dropped. I also think it is fair to say that Carson still has not learned to tuck the ball away when he runs. He is a very effective runner, but he continues to hold the ball out. This fumble was not his first , second or third in his career that resulted from poor ballhandling. That is simply inexcusable from an experienced, veteran quarterback. It does no good to gain yards and then to fumble it away.
On the long plays to Kelly, it appeared that some guys were open underneath. Of course, that is easy to spot on the replay, but I will point out once again that the completion percentage on those long passes is about pitiful with Carson at the helm. This is a fact and it is borne out by the record. Nobody can fault a team for stretching a D, but if it never works then nothing good is accomplished.
Another bright spot in another loss to a ranked team might be the play of the db's. Richard made a big play when covering their guy Lockett one on one. The cheap shot by Polamulu was a disaster and it would be reasonable to eject a player for that kind of play. That is simply uncalled for and it puts a kids' life in jeopardy and I mean that literally. Our db's appeared to be in on too many tackles and that can never be a good sign.
The loss of Frank Strong was huge. That is no excuse for a loss and it is not being presented as such. I simply think that he is a leader of D and he plays at a position that is already thin. We really missed him today and I don't think that anyone who started at linebacker today for USC would likely crack the KSU first string. Our guys were out of position often in the first half and they were not very sure tacklers for much of the game. When one reviews the film I think it will be obvious to what I am referring.
So how about the special teams? The punter started slowly, but I gladly admit that for most of the game, espcecially in the second half, McGilvary played very well and gave them no chance for great returns. On the other hand, our extra point and field goal teams still can't get it done. That is simply awful and we cannot win consistently until and unless that aspect of the game improves significantly. I was also very disappointed that the kickoffs did not get deep into the endzone.
All told, this was a decent, albeit disppointing game. This is not a great KSU team that beat USC. They can't pass well at this time and they are prectable on Offense because of that, at least at this time of the season. Yet, they took it right to SC and ran for something like 350 yards. Anytime a D yields that kind of rushing yardage, it is likely to lose. The fact that USC was in the game till late in the fourth quarter is remarkable. For this team to make a move there has to be offensive improvement. Not only did the offense not look good, it flat out played terribly. I am not sure who to blame, but the final score does not lie. 6 points simply won't get it done and it could be a long season if the O does not get cranked up. I agree that KSU had a fine D, but USC did not look awesome against SJSU either.
Of course, the old penalties, personal fouls, holding and delay of game showed up once again. One has to wonder if it is ever going to be something that one does not see when one watches a USC Football game. Fortunately, it seemed like few of those penalties ended drives on their own, but they occurred nonetheless and that is not a good sign.
On has to wonder aloud if perhaps guys like Carson, Kelly, Colbert and Holmes are not really as good as some of the people against whom they play. Some will say that t