Bill Snyder openly said that Kansas State’s practices “… on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday” of last week were sub-par. That was followed by a sub-sub-par effort Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in a 35-21 victory over North Texas.
“If you do not prepare yourself well, most anything can happen and we were not very well prepared,” said the Wildcat coach. “It goes back to taking something for granted. We were flat during the week and that was the attitude that we took into the game.”
K-State’s first-quarter numbers included 0 first downs, 6 total plays, minus-1 in yardage and a possession time of 3:05. The Wildcats first first down didn’t come until 11:29 in the second quarter.
“That’s a lot of time standing on the sideline sucking your thumb, and then we go on the field and keep sucking our thumb,” said Snyder of the early-game woes.
Quarterback Collin Klein added, “We ran six plays in the first quarter and that is our fault. We were not allowing ourselves the opportunity to get into a rhythm.”
But still, the Wildcats were tied with the Mean Green, 7-7, via Tyler Lockett’s 96-yard kickoff return.
“Special teams saved us,” said Snyder.”
And K-State’s defense almost cost them a victory as North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson hit on 25-of-28 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown.
In totaling 353 yards, K-State allowed NT scoring drives of 55, 88 and 63 yards.
Of the defense, Snyder summarized, “Last week we tackled well, this week we didn’t; last week we lined up reasonably well, this week we didn’t; last week we communicated; this week we didn’t … and on, and on, and on.”
Lockett’s kickoff return gave K-State its 83rd non-offensive touchdown since 1999, which is a number they share with Virginia Tech for the national lead.
K-State had five non-offensive touchdowns last year and two this season with the other being an 89-yard punt return by Thompson.
K-State has 13 all-time kickoff returns of at least 95 yards and Lockett, a sophomore, has three of them as he returned kicks for 100 and 97 yards last year. Also with three long-long returns (at least 95 yards) is Brandon Banks. Mack Herron had two of at least 95 yards, while the others with at least one are William Powell, Leon Patton, Yamon Figurs, Terence Newman, Aaron Lockett, and Gerald Neasman.
Lockett now has three career kickoff returns for scores, which is second only to Brandon Banks’ five in KSU history.
Along with Lockett being a highlight, so was Tramaine Thompson with five catches for a career-high 102 yards and two touchdowns from Klein.
Klein completed 15-of-20 passes for 230 yards, which is his third highest total of his career.
He also passed for two touchdowns for just the fourth time in his career.
Rationalizing how K-State’s game could be good for the program, Lockett said, “Just because we came out slow in this game, we were able to respond to adversity. That could really help us going into next week against Oklahoma.
“Like coach Snyder always says, it is back to the drawing board on Monday,” said Lockett. “We have to prepare to execute next weekend.”