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Coffman, Offense to the Rescue

By Mark Janssen
 

Center Wade Weibert called it "relaxed urgency."
 
Defined, that means, "When you're trying to move too fast, it can get chaotic. When you're in an urgency mode, you're moving fast but with a purpose, and you're executing. We were moving fast, but we were keeping calm."
 
The result was a 13-play, 67-yard drive that was completed by a game-winning 7-yard touchdown run by Kansas State quarterback Carson Coffman with 24 seconds left in a game. It was the Wildcats only lead on a stormy Saturday afternoon at a sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The result: K-State 17, Central Florida 13 in a game that started at 11:40, but didn't end until 3:09 due to a 1 hour, 26 minute lightning delay just six plays into the game.
 
Until "The Drive," Coffman admits that K-State's offensive performance had been "frustrating." After all, the Wildcats had 10 previous offensive possessions with seven of those lasting no more than three snaps and seven drives accounted for -4, 0, 1, 9, 0, 8 and 6 yards.
 
But then came the 11th drive with K-State trailing Central Florida, 13-10. Snyder would call it a "... functional drive."
 
"Offensively, we laid a massive egg during the first half and a good portion of the second half, yet when we had to have it, we were able to get it, and that speaks favorably for the young people in our program," said the Wildcat coach.
 
Especially impressive was the fact that Central Florida had won its collective fourth quarters this season 35-0, but K-State won the period on this day, 14-6, in the four-point victory.
 
"We have a lot of heart," summarized receiver Brodrick Smith.
 
That was shown in the final march on this Fort Riley Day that took 4:50 off the clock.
 
As receiver Aubrey Quarles saw it, "We were trying to keep each other calm because the crowd was going crazy. The coaches were yelling, but we were just trying to keep calm. I just told Carson to take charge of the huddle. That is something my family tells me is part of being a senior."
 
Highlighting the drive was an 18-yard third-down pass to Andre McDonald to keep the possession alive, which was followed by four Daniel Thomas runs that totaled 23 yards, a third-down pass for six yards to Smith, and later, Coffman's TD scramble.
 
"It was designed to be a shovel pass to Daniel, but we also had Tramaine (Thompson) set up outside for a bubble screen," Coffman said. "Both seemed covered, so I found a crease. I wanted to dive and try to stick it in the end zone, but I thought better of it and just tried to spin in," said Coffman.
 
"Carson did us a great job of leading the entire game," said Weibert. "He made some mistakes, but moved past them and led us to a victory."
 
Guard Zach Kendall added, "We knew if we scored, we would win. Last week the defense had to go win us a game, but this week the offense had to take charge and win the game. With Carson, he had control of the huddle. There was no doubt in his eyes."
 
At one point in the third quarter there was plenty of doubt. K-State had snapped the ball 36 times for 65 total yards. The 37th play, however, was a 73-yard strike from Coffman to Tramaine Thompson with the quarterback saying, "That's the play that got the crowd back into it, which was huge for us at the time."
 
The first-quarter yardage favored the Knights 100 yards on 22 plays to the Wildcats' nine snaps that totaled three yards. UCF owned the possession time advantage 10:40 to 4:20. The second quarter was much the same with the visitor's gaining 70 more yards on 14 plays, and K-State 40 yards on 15 snaps.
 
K-State finished the game with the modest numbers of 272 offensive yards, which included just 76 yards rushing by Thomas, just 5-of-13 on third downs, plus they lost the time of possession portion of the game 36:35 to 23:25.
 
"They played better than we did," summarized Snyder. "They whipped us up front, were more aggressive and ran to the ball better."
 
But, K-State won on the scoreboard 17-13 to improve to 4-0 on the year.
 
To that, Snyder said, "We won the game when we needed to win it. We won the fourth quarter. That's a sign of character."
 
So, Tramaine Thompson, do you know what happened the last time K-State started a season 4-0, which was 2003?
 
"Yeah, I heard we won the Big 12 title."
 
BIG PLAYS: Overall, UCF had 11 plays of at least 10 yards with eight of those being runs. K-State had only four plays of at least 10 yards, with those being biggies from Carson Coffman to Tramaine Thompson for 73 yards, and 58 yards to Aubrey Quarles for a touchdown. The other two were a pivotal third-down pass of 18 yards to Andre McDonald, plus a 12-yard run by Daniel Thomas in the final game-winning drive.
 
THOMAS UPDATE: Central Florida focused on Daniel Thomas, and the plan almost earned them a victory. The Knights held Thomas to season lows of 22 carries for 76 yards, and for the first time this season, he was held out of the end zone.
 
Saying that he thought Thomas could have played better, Snyder said, "I think Daniel missed some reads and maybe was a little hesitant and a little slow. Some of that comes when you're looking for daylight and all of a sudden you are in a closet with the lights out. That was evident on some occasions."
 
Of Thomas' 22 attempts, 12 were of three yards or less. At the half, the Wildcat All-American candidate was held in check gaining 0, 3 and 3 yards in the first quarter, and  3, 0, 5, 6, 2, -2 and 0 yards in the second period for a 10-carry, 20-yard first half.
 
"They were just a great defensive football team. They flew around and really played fast," said Thomas. "It did get a little frustrating."
 
On holding Thomas in check, UCF coach George O'Leary said, "I thought we did a very good job on him."
 
THOMAS MOVES UP RUSHING LIST: With his 76 yards, Daniel Thomas moved past Cornelius Davis to the No. 9 position in Kansas State history.
 
 1. Darren Sproles, 4,979; 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; 4. Mike Lawrence, 2,265; 5. J.J. Smith, 2,210; 6. Isaac Jackson, 2,182; 7. Josh Scobey, 1,981; 8. Eric Gallon, 1,960; 9. DANIEL THOMAS, 1,893.
 
QUOTE OF THE GAME: On being 4-0, K-State linebacker Blake Slaughter said, "That means we're pretty good, but we also know we have a long way to go. History will tell you that most 4-0 teams go on to have a pretty good year."
 
K-STATE SPORTS EXTRA GAME BALLS
 
Offense - CARSON COFFMAN scored the game-winning TD with 24 seconds remaining, plus he passed for 189 yards; TRAMAINE THOMPSON caught three passes for 87 yards, with one of those being a 73-yarder; DANIEL THOMAS rushed for just 76 yards against a defense totally geared to stop him.
 
Defense - BRANDON HAROLD had six tackles with two quarterback sacks and one pass broken up; BLAKE SLAUGHTER led the team with 13 tackles, which included one sack; ALEX HREBEC accounted for 10 tackles.
 
Special Teams - JOSH CHERRY toed a meaningful 27-yard field goal to put K-State on the board in the third quarter.
 
SALUTE TO THE FANS: Saturday's Fort Riley Day attendance was 50,586. That makes a three-game total of 149,717, which is the highest attendance for the first three non-conference games of a season in Kansas State history.
 
RARE WEATHER DELAY: Six plays into the game, the game was suspended due to lightning strikes north of the stadium.
 
Play was suspended at 11:49 a.m., while play resumed at 1:15 p.m. Rainfall was measured at .59 during the 1:26 weather delay.
 
At kickoff, it was 65-degrees under cloudy skies and winds out of the southwest at five miles per hour.
 
GAME NOTES
• On hand for the day was former K-State coaching legend Vince Gibson, plus Doug Dickey. Dickey was the head coach at Tennessee when Gibson left the Volunteers for K-State in 1967, plus, he was UT's athletics director who hired John Currie as an assistant, which helped jump start his career.

• When Kansas State went scoreless in the first half, it was a first since the Nebraska game of 2006.

• UCF had 20 first downs; K-State had 9.

• K-State is now 97-17-1 in home games since 1990, Bill Snyder's second season.

• The Wildcats are 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 2003 when K-State won the Big 12 title.

• The Cats have now scored points in 168 games, a string that ranks 10th longest in the nation.

• UCF kicker Nick Cattoi is 6-foot-5 and weighs 213 pounds.

• Tight end Andre McDonald had his first two career receptions for 23 yards, including a crucial third-down conversion on a third and 10 on the final drive.

NEXT GAME: Kansas State, 4-0, returns to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 7 to play the Nebraska. The game will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
 
The following Thursday, Oct. 14, the Wildcats will travel to Kansas for another 6:30 p.m. start.
 
 
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com.