Complimentary Football Wins!

Skylar and Deuce

What a beautiful day in Manhattan, Kansas for football! It was a crisp 40 degrees outside with a slight wind. From the Stadium, you could see the autumn colors splashed on the trees on KSU’s campus. It was a wonderful backdrop for a KSU win.

In football, it is important to find different ways to win. If your team is one dimensional, they become easy to scheme against. Coach Klieman understands the value of winning in all three phases of the game. What are the three phases? Offense, Defense and Special Teams. Complimentary football is football that is played in such a way that all three phases of the game synchronize, and play off each other. Often complimentary football is described as the defense creating a short field for the offense, or special teams creates a short field for the offense, or the offense runs the ball to give the defense some rest. Under Bill Snyder, Kansas State played all three phases of the game well. They played complimentary football well. Kansas State has always been well known for its special teams play. Players such as Martin Gramatica, Darren Sproles, Terence Newman, and Tyler Lockett helped Kansas State win crucial ball games due to their exceptional special teams play. These players made it to the NFL due to their versatility because they were imbued with the tenets of being able to do multiple skills during their time at Kansas State in a way helped their teams play better complimentary football. These skills were exceptionally deployed on the special team’s unit. Special teams are often forgot about. However, under Coach Snyder, and now Coach Klieman it is a point of emphasis and often turns the tide towards a win.

Complimentary football kicked off the game for the Wildcats. Two plays into the game the Wildcats secured an interception giving the offense just 55 yards to score; and score they did on the strength of Deuce Vaughn and Joe Ervin’s legs. After trading punts, the KSU special teams struck! The Cat’s blocked the Mountaineers punt and ran it in seven yards for a touchdown. When the offense falters, someone must pick up the slack. The defense forced two punts in a row and the special teams blocked a punt and carried the ball in for a score. That is complimentary football.

Much of the game was an old-school Big 12 defensive slug fest. The rest of the half the defenses for both squads dominated the game forcing a total of 3 punts. KSU forced West Virginia to turn over on downs. Finally, in the first half both squads traded field goals.

There are critical points in every game. When I used to coach, I believed it was important to win the first possession of the third quarter. I learned this from watching Bill Snyder and the KSU Wildcats growing up. In the old days, there was a time when KSU scored the most points in the country in the third quarter. Why? First, Bill Snyder was excellent at second half adjustments. More importantly he conditioned his squad to be mentally prepared to go out and win the critical first possession of the third quarter. On Saturday, KSU showed they too were prepared to win the first possession of the third quarter driving down the field, eating clock and scoring a touchdown. They only had 33 yards to go because special teams set them up with awesome field position. Malik Knowles secured a 64-yard kickoff return to start the 3rd quarter. Complimentary football strikes again.

The second half of Saturday’s game was the complete opposite of the first half. A total of 31 points were scored between the two teams. Kansas State’s defense once again was called upon to stand tall midway thru the fourth quarter. They answered the bell. Felix Anudike-Uzomah forced a fumble that the Wildcats recovered and eventually turned into three points. I say eventually because the Wildcats took 10 plays to drive 28 yards in over 4 minutes to kick a field goal. Once again, complimentary footballs trikes again. The Wildcats drained the clock, scored a few more points and only gave the Mountaineers a little over two minutes to work with. They pressed, and KSU forced another interception effectively closing the game out. Once again, complimentary football seals the win.

Skylar Thompson was not spectacular in the pass game, but he made the throws he needed to. His best throw of the night came on fourth down in the 4th quarter. It was fourth and 8 with around eight minutes left to go. The ball was on the West Virgina 39-yard line. Conventional wisdom says punt it. The defense was playing ok, but the Mountaineers had just scored a touchdown. Thompson threw a 35-yard strike to Sammy Wheeler setting up Vaughn’s 4-yard touchdown run.

Though Anudike-Uzomah was fairly quiet, he had a huge impact on the game. He was double and triple teamed most of the game allowing for other defensive lineman to get in and sack the Moutaineer quarterback on three occasions. Jarret Doege was harassed and chased around most of the game. Deuce Vaugh quietly racked up 121 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Deuce got loose for a 38-yard scamper as well. All in all, it was a solid performance in all three phases of the game.

Next week the Baylor Bears will visit Manhattan. They will be riding high off their home victory against the Sooners. KSU will be patiently waiting.

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