Under Snyder, KSU goes from undisciplined to respectable
Nearly one year ago, I ripped the Kansas State football team for its lack of discipline on the field in the Sunflower Showdown.
Kansas dominated Kansas State in Lawrence with considerably better talent in 2008.
This season, Kansas still had the edge in talent and experience. That's why the Jayhawks were three-point favorites Saturday, even on the road in Manhattan with a three-game losing streak hanging over them.
All the more reason K-State's 17-10 victory was a brilliantly orchestrated masterpiece by Bill Snyder.
Snyder is working with essentially the same personnel Ron Prince put on the field last season, minus first-round draft pick Josh Freeman, who led the Buccaneers to victory over the Packers in his first NFL start Sunday.
Most of the same K-State players who looked lost in a 52-21 pounding last season in Lawrence were on the field in Saturday's victory over Kansas in Manhattan. I had to keep reminding myself, because the Wildcats' demeanor on the field against KU looked nothing like it did last year. Consider these figures from the past two Sunflower Showdowns:
K-State turnovers vs. KU in 2008 under Prince: 5
K-State turnovers vs. KU on Saturday under Snyder: 0
K-State penalties in 2008: 9 for 98 yards
K-State penalties on Saturday: 5 for 55 yards
K-State rushing yards in 2008: 91
K-State rushing yards on Saturday: 266
KU rushing yards in 2008: 280
KU rushing yards on Saturday: 60
This season, K-State hasn't really done anything fancy on offense. Snyder features Daniel Thomas on a variety of running plays, but the Cats are relatively one-dimensional. K-State passed for 1 yard in the second half Saturday. But it didn't matter because KSU didn't turn the ball over.
Contrast that with the 2008 game, when Prince inexplicably went for it on two separate occasions on 4th-and-long from inside the K-State 30-yard line. He took both of those chances in only the third quarter. Freeman also threw three interceptions and KSU lost two fumbles.
Then, there was the trash talking. In 2008, under Prince, K-State players were yapping their mouths all week. Deon Murphy said he'd take a punt return to the "crib." Didn't happen. Zach Kendall said before the game that K-State had more heart than KU. Based on the result, I beg to differ.
Can you imagine anyone publicly talking noise this season under Snyder? Not gonna happen.
Snyder took over a team that lacked discipline and talent and he's crafted it into a first-place team in the Big 12 North. Based on what K-State looked like on the field last season, that's a hell of an accomplishment.
Onto the week 10 awards for Big 12 players who went above and beyond last weekend:
Player of the week: Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
The junior running back torched Kansas for 185 yards and a score and was the lone source of offense for the Wildcats. The Jayhawks had to know it was coming, too. It's not like Grant Gregory (7-16, 66 yards) was going to air it out. KU simply could not stop Thomas, who could be the best running back in the Big 12 right now.
Surprise of the week: Baylor 40, Missouri 32
In Columbia? Awful loss for the Tigers, whose Big 12 North title dreams are all but over.
Add BU quarterback Nick Florence as part of the surprise of the week. The freshman passed for a school-record 427 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Robert Griffin who? OK, just kidding.
Sleeper alert: Matt O’Hanlon, Nebraska
The senior safety came up with three interceptions of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in Nebraska's 10-3 surprise victory in Lincoln. He also led the Huskers with 12 tackles.
Nebraska picked off Jones five times and sacked him twice in its first victory over Oklahoma since 2001.
Here's the latest Sorrentino Scale to close this entry. The number in parentheses is what the team was ranked last week.
- 1 (1). Texas (9-0, 5-0): BCS title game, here they come.
- 2 (3). Oklahoma State (7-2, 4-1): The only other ranked team in a down year for the Big 12.
- 3 (4). Texas Tech (6-3, 3-2): Big one at Oklahoma State next weekend.
- 4 (5). Kansas State (6-4, 4-2): If KSU wins North, Snyder should be consensus pick for Big 12 coach of year.
- 5 (8). Nebraska (6-3, 3-2): North could be decided on Nov. 21 (KSU at NU).
- 6 (2). Oklahoma (5-4, 3-2): So much for my thought of OU winning out.
- 7 (6). Texas A&M (5-4, 2-3): Maddeningly inconsistent.
- 8 (7). Iowa State (5-5, 2-4): Now begins the ugly bottom of conference.
- 9 (11). Colorado (3-6, 2-3): Buffaloes somehow third in Big 12 North.
- 10 (9). Kansas (5-4, 1-4): Will Jayhawks make a bowl this year?
- 11 (12). Baylor (4-5, 1-4): Where did that 40-point outburst come from?
- 12 (10). Missouri (5-4, 1-4): Lose to Baylor at home and I guess this is where MU lands. Probably won't be here for remainder of season, though.
That should be all for now, friends. As always, discuss.