It wasn’t K-State’s game; it wasn’t a Bill Snyder-coached game:
• The rotating quarterbacks – run the ball with Collin Klein; pass the ball with Carson Coffman – only worked to some extent.
• K-State entered play having given up only 12 turnovers, which ranked 20th in the nation. On this day, it gave away four footballs – three fumbles and one interception.
• A trick play – a rarity for Bill Snyder – resulted in a fumble.
• In K-State’s best quarter of the year – the third (an 80-56 scoring advantage for the year) – it lost to the Tigers, 10-0.
The end result was a 38-28 Kansas State loss to the Missouri Tigers.
"We made some horrendous mistakes in the ballgame that were very, very costly," coach Bill Snyder summarized.
Collin Klein added, "Missouri's too good of a team to make the kind of mistakes we made.”
Both coach and player were very correct in assessing the game.
If there was a bright spot, it came from the type of player Snyder doesn’t like to use … a freshman.
With Alex Hrebec out for the remainder of the regular season with an arm injury, true-freshman Tre Walker stepped up and led the team in tackles with 12, and accounted for the Wildcats only turnover of the game with an interception.
"I just tried to fill the gap of Alex Hrebec who started in front of me. I'm just thankful for the opportunities I've had. Overall, I'm just working to get better,” said Walker. “Like Coach (Snyder) always says, 'great things happen when you run to the ball.’ I was just trying to run to the ball."
While Walker was ultra-modest after the game, another freshman, Ty Zimmerman, was singing the praises of his defensive teammate.
"Tre is an amazing player," said Zimmerman, who had six tackles, himself. "He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's right out of high school. He doesn't play like a freshman, though. He plays like he's a veteran guy. He flies around to the ball, provides good energy to our defense."
WAITING FOR ANOTHER YEAR:
This was to be a history-tying year for K-State, but it won’t happen now.
As amazing as it sounds, only one time in K-State history have the Wildcats been “above .500” in conference play in both football and basketball in the same academic season. Only once – 1925-26 – when Charles Bachman’s football team was 3-2-1 in the Missouri Valley, and Charles Corsaut’s basketball team went 9-3.
With a 4-3 Big 12 record, K-State can only finish with a .500 league record with a win Saturday at Colorado.
With a 6-4 record heading into finales at Colorado and at North Texas, K-State is bowl eligible, and in reality, a lock for a bowl game.
The Big 12 Conference has contracts with eight different bowl games, and without mega-upsets, the league will have no more than eight eligible teams.
The league has seven teams with at least six wins. That’s Oklahoma State and Nebraska with nine wins; Missouri and Oklahoma with eight wins; Baylor and Texas A&M with seven wins; and, K-State with six wins.
With the exception of Kansas, all other teams have a chance to secure a sixth win, but the likelihood is that only one will do so. Here’s a look at the rest of the league with their number of wins, and schedule remaining.
Iowa State (5) – Missouri
Texas Tech (5) – Weber State, Houston
Colorado (4) – K-State, at Nebraska
Texas (4) – Florida Atlantic, Texas A&M
WHERE MIGHT THE ‘CATS LAND?:
The pecking order for the Big 12 Conference is this – BCS – Fiesta, Jan. 1; Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7; Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29; Insight Bowl, Dec. 28; Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30; Texas Bowl, Dec. 29; Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30; Dallas Classic, Jan. 1.
Realistically, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri are locks for the first four bowl games. Baring upsets, that would leave Texas A&M, Baylor, K-State and likely Texas Tech as the only other qualified teams.
Trying to use logic…
• A&M could likely be the selection of the Holiday Bowl based on national ranking, and especially if it can finish with at least a split with games against Nebraska and Texas.
• Baylor could be the pick of the Texas Bowl based on the geography landscape of Houston and Waco.
• Kansas State, based in the Little Apple, could be headed to the Big Apple, and the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl that will be staged in New York City’s Yankee Stadium.
• Texas Tech could be best placed down the road in the Dallas Bowl.