Saturday was a day for drives. Long ones and sustained ones. Some good, others bad.
In Kansas State's 27-20 victory over Iowa State at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas State moved the ball 64, 67, 59, 54 and 83 yards with each possession numbering nine to 13 plays.
That's the good.
"I think those numbers show a lot about our conditioning that sometimes gets overlooked," said Kansas State senior guard Zach Kendall. "I think our conditioning shined (Saturday) because we just wore them out running the ball, running the ball, running the ball. Ten- and 11-play drives is a long time to keep their defensive on the field, and we did that."
Center Wade Weibert said the play of the line is that of a "grinder's" mentality.
"We just stay after it and stay after it until the job is done. We have to have the mentality that we're tougher than anyone, and drives like we were able to sustain says a lot about our toughness."
Also good, according to quarterback Carson Coffman, was the fact that K-State had five drives of no more than four plays, and four drives of no more than three yards, but, as he said, "Some of the adversity that we fought through was huge for our team."
But the bad side is the fact that Iowa State moved the ball 81, 56, 54 and 40 yards on the K-State defense, with each of those possessions numbering at least 11 plays.
K-State end Brandon Harold used the phrase "lacking energy and enthusiasm ... and then missing tackles" as to what allowed Iowa State to play keep-away from the Cats for too many of the possessions.
But how could a team lack in energy and enthusiasm in a Big 12 opener?
"It's hard to explain because you don't know why," said Harold. "We were looking at each other, but no one was setting a tempo. We had a big play (his own forced fumble and recovery) that turned things around at the end, but we need to start from the beginning."
Agreeing was linebacker Blake Slaughter, who gave the Wildcats an overall six on a scale of 10 when it came to defensive play. But he did add, "Ultimately, you want to play well enough to win the game, and we did that. The goal is to hold them to fewer points than we score, and that's what we found a way to do."
And that's what put Kansas State 1-0 for the weekend and 3-0 for the season.
"That's our goal each weekend ... 1-0 ... that's the message," said linebacker Alex Hrebec.
"We won the weekend," said Weibert. "We're 1-0 in the Big 12."
THE AMAZING DT: Durability best defines Kansas State's Daniel Thomas.
In racking up the best three-game start to a season in Kansas State history - 83 rushes for 552 yards - Thomas has done it from beginning to end in each game.
The three-game per quarter breakdown for Thomas includes:
1st Quarter - 27 carries for 135 yards, 2 TDs
2nd Quarter - 20 carries for 111 yards, 0 TDs
3rd Quarter - 18 carries for 176 yards, 2 TDs
4th Quarter - 18 carries for 130 yards, 2 TDs (did not have a carry during the final period against Missouri State)
As running back coach Dana Dimel said earlier prior to the season, "Daniel may only run a 4.6, but he runs a 4.6 with pads on and a 4.6 in the fourth quarter. He's one of the toughest backs I've ever been around."
And, his teammates think so too.
Kendall said of Thomas' game against Iowa State, "He's amazing ... amazing, but he's amazing every day."
"He's a hard runner," ISU linebacker A.J. Klein said of Thomas. "He's a hard runner, he's big and strong, but then he shifted and showed he had speed too. I just can't give him enough credit. He played a hard game."
• K-State's Carson Coffman had thrown 51 consecutive passes to open the season and 81 consecutive passes dating back to last year prior to getting intercepted early in the third quarter.
• K-State is 3-0 to start a season for the first since the 2006.
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