Kansas State done with cupcakes - Miami up next
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)
Bill Snyder didn't waste any time before lavishing praise on upcoming opponent Miami after Kansas State's victory on Saturday night, even before he knew the Hurricanes had just romped past No. 17 Ohio State.
''This is a very talented football team,'' the Kansas State coach said. ''I haven't seen their score with them and Ohio State, but an awful lot of people were picking them to beat Ohio State.''
For the record, the final was 24-6.
''I just know they're a very quality football team,'' Snyder said. ''A lot of extremely talented players, they're awfully fast, as you would expect. So yes, do we have our hands full? Absolutely.''
The Wildcats had just off a rare second-week bye to beat Kent State 37-0, a game that left Snyder at turns pleased, perplexed and downright perturbed. The Wildcats looked stellar in building a 34-0 lead by halftime, and then seem to wilt over the final 30 minutes.
An underwhelming offense that didn't score a touchdown until the final couple of minutes in an opening-week victory over Eastern Kentucky rolled to 245 yards through two quarters against Kent State. The Wildcats racked up 18 first downs, had a nearly 7-minute edge in time of possession and score on five straight possessions to end the half - three touchdowns and a pair of field goals.
Whatever momentum they carried into halftime seemed left in the locker room.
Kansas State managed only six first downs and 90 yards of offense in the second half, getting a lone field goal to show for the effort. Granted, the Wildcats were playing several backups, but it was a letdown after a decent first half that left the hard-to-please Snyder a bit miffed.
''We still have a lot of problems, no question about that,'' he said.
Klein was more effective in pacing the running game, carrying a game-high 19 times for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But he took several big hits from the Golden Flashes, and didn't get a whole lot of help from the rest of the Wildcats' ground game. The rest of the team combined for 23 carries and 80 yards, an average of less than 3 1/2 yards per attempt.
They'll face a Miami team that allowed the Buckeyes only 209 yards of total offense and a pair of second-quarter field goals in a surprisingly lopsided victory.
''It's going to be a big test for us going down there to play the U,'' wide receiver Curry Sexton said.
The shining bright spot for Kansas State remains the defense, which held Eastern Kentucky to 10 yards rushing and barley over 100 yards of total offense. The Wildcats plugged up Kent State in equally dominant fashion, yielding just 118 yards on the ground and another 81 through the air.
Along the way, David Garrett returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, Tysyn Hartman had another pick and the Wildcats made a stand just outside the goal line in the fourth quarter to preserve their first shutout since beating Florida Atlantic 45-0 in September 2006.
A defense that was among the worst in major college football last season has vastly improved thanks to an influx of transfers and junior college standouts.
The biggest lift has been provided by Arthur Brown, a linebacker from Wichita, Kan., who spent time at Miami before transferring closer to home. He'll head down to face his former team after piling up a dozen tackles and two for losses against the Golden Flashes, a solid all-around game after which Snyder said Brown is ''not nearly as good as he can be.''
The same words ring true for the rest of the Kansas State lineup on both sides of the ball, and they just may need to be as good as they can be to knock off the Hurricanes.
''As we all know, we got work to do,'' linebacker Tre Walker said. ''We've come a long way. We've made strides in some areas and some areas we need to work on. But with that, I think we're ready.''