Sports Extra: That was Close!

John Hubert rushed for a career-high 91 yards on Saturday night.

Sept. 4, 2011

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By Mark Janssen

First, Kansas State won the game 10-7 against Eastern Kentucky in the opener to the 2011 season Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

But Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein will be the first to say, “We did everything you can’t do and expect to win.”

He then listed “too many penalties” (7 for 45 yards), “too many turnovers” (four lost fumbles and one interception) and “busted assignments across the board.” He added, “Hats off to our defense for being there when we needed them and being solid and strong the entire game.”

K-State trailed in this game until the 1:39 mark of the fourth quarter when, with 1:39 remaining, Klein and Harper worked their pass-and-catch magic, just as they did for the game-winner in the spring game five months ago.

Held out of the end zone the first 13 possessions, Klein said of the 11-play, 86-yard drive, “We all looked at each other like, ‘This is our time. We have put it off long enough.’ It was one of those things that I know we’ll learn from.”

Coach Bill Snyder said of Klein’s play, “I think he played with poise. He never backs down from his leadership. He is always stepping forward and he cares about his team.”

Harper said of the play, “I got him on his toes and was able to get past him,” said Harper, who had four catches for 61 yards. “It’s something that we tried to set up all night.”

Of the overall offense that produced just 303 yards, Harper said, “A lot of people thought we would come back and be pretty good, but we got knocked on our face. You can’t be too alarmed after this. It wasn’t good, but it’s early. We’ll look at the film; the film doesn’t lie.”

What that film will show is that K-State’s defense played winning football.

“I was proud of our defense,” said Snyder. “I thought we played extremely well. I do not consider the seven points on the board an ownership of the defense.”

Snyder was talking about an Eastern Kentucky fumble return to the K-State-1 setting up the Colonels lone score of the night with 4:12 to go in the third quarter.

“We played hard; we played well,” said linebacker Tre Walker.

K-State’s defense allowed just 129 yards on 53 plays. One of those was a 43-yard pass, which means the other 52 plays covered just 86 yards.

EKU had the ball on offense 14 times. Of those, four series resulted in negative-yards, and five others no more than eight yards.

Overall, Snyder said of the evening, “I told them that we were blessed and we’re the most fortunate people in the state of Kansas.”

This Snyder had a Night to Remember: Dad Snyder’s team almost semi-spoiled the evening for his daughter, Whitney, who was proposed to on the field during the first break in the first quarter.

Her answer was a “Yes” with a kiss to Michah Hydeman, a local fireman and member of the color guard Saturday night.

Hydeman had asked the coach for his blessing on July 29. A time, he said, “… that was way more nerve-wracking than proposing to Whitney in front of 50,000 fans.” He added, “That’s a long time to keep a secret.”

Of popping the question at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Hydeman said, “Where else? This is her second home.”

A beaming Whitney called it a “total surprise.”

Oh, as far as a wedding date? Hydeman knew exactly what to say: “I’m not sure, but it can’t be during the regular season or recruiting season.”

Coach Snyder said of his son-in-law to-be, “He’s a nice, pleasant young man… a special young guy.”

Asked if the engagement was the highlight of a scoreless first half, Snyder quipped, “It was the highlight of the whole damn night.”

Victory No. 150: Bill Snyder’s 150th coaching victory will not be one to remember. After the 10-7 win, Snyder quipped, “I hope that was more fun for you than it was for me.”

The Wildcat coach said he told his players that they were “… the most fortunate individuals in the state of Kansas.”

One game into his 20th Wildcat season, Snyder’s coaching record is 150-80-1.

“It’s sort of like being 71 or 72,” said Snyder of the milestone. “All it says is that you’ve been around a little longer.”

It was Snyder’s 19th consecutive season-opening victory.

Stat of the Game: 0-0 at the half. It was the first such scoreless first half of football that K-State was involved in since last year against UCF, and it marked the first time that K-State was involved in a 0-0 tie at halftime since at least 1993.

In the first 30 minutes of football, K-State netted just 114 yards on 38 plays in its seven first-half series. On defense, the Wildcats held Eastern Kentucky to just 71 yards on 30 snaps. The Colonels averaged 3rd-and-9 on its nine third-down plays.

K-State’s woes in the first half included a lost fumble, Ty Zimmerman muffed punt, a blocked punt that netted only 15 yards, Collin Klein threw an interception, plus the team had three penalties.

The woes didn’t end at the break, as the Wildcats opened the second half with a block in the back penalty on a punt, plus a lost fumble after a pass catch by Tyler Lockett and a fumble by Bryce Brown that was returned to the KSU-1 and set up the game’s first score as Eastern Kentucky took a 7-0 lead with 4:12 left in the period.

Then to open the fourth quarter, K-State had its deepest drive into EKU territory to the 18, but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal attempt that was wide right by Anthony Cantele.

Yet, as Walker said, “It was ugly, but a win.”

How the Dashers Did: It was John Hubert who got the start at running back for the Wildcats, but Bryce Brown and Angelo Pease all had their turn at the position throughout the game.

In the end, Hubert rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries, Brown netted 16 yards on three carries, and Pease totaled 11 yards on five tries.

Quote of the Game: From Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood: “Our president came in and said it best. He said, ‘I could be happier, but I couldn’t be prouder.”

Fill’er Up: K-State scored its third straight opening day sellout. Saturday night’s crowd was 50,292, which followed crowds of 51,059 in 2010, and 50,750 in 2009. The Wildcats also topped the 50,000 mark in 1999 against Temple (50,624).

‘SE’ Game Balls:
Offense: John Hubert led all K-State rushers with 91 yards on 17 carries; Collin Klein accounted for 206 yards of offense with 78 coming on the ground and 128 through the air, which includes the game-winning TD heave of 33 yards to Chris Harper.

Defense: Arthur Brown and Ty Zimmerman led the team with seven and six tackles, respectively; Jordan Voelker added five tackles, which included two sacks.

Special Teams: Anthony Cantele toed a 36-yard field goal.

Currie on the Big 12: K-State AD John Currie held an informal press conference at intermission to talk about the latest Big 12 movement with Texas A&M leaving the league, and Oklahoma, and perhaps others, looking toward the Pac-12.

On where K-State stands, Currie warned fans to be careful not to get caught up in the rumors of the day. Saying that he and President Kirk Schulz are in constant contact with the ADs and Presidents of the league, Currie said, “We continue to work toward our goal which is to work to strengthen the Big 12.”

On K-State, Currie said, “It’s real easy to worry about things you can’t control. We’re blessed to live in a beautiful part of the country with great fans and tradition at K-State, so we’re focused on the things that we can control.”

To that, Currie listed continuing to strive to sellout the stadium, grow the athletic budget, and enhance facilities.

Asked if K-State was in a better position today than a year ago, Currie said, “We’re doing coach Snyder’s philosophy, which is trying to continue to get better every day.”

Currie said there are no specific discussions with anyone except the other ADs and Presidents in the Big 12 Conference. “Until somebody says the Big 12 is dead, we’re going to continue to work with our partners in the Big 12 to strengthen the league.”

He added that in times like these, “It’s important to remain calm.”

Game Notes:
• The last time K-State had a nail-biter in an opener was its 10-6 win at USC in 2001.
• K-State has now scored in 178 consecutive games, the 10th longest string in the nation and the longest active streak in the Big 12.
• Injured in the game were linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and safety Tysyn Hartman. Snyder said he was unsure of their status after the game.
• Freshman Tyler Lockett debuted with two catches for 25 yards, plus two punt returns for 13 yards. His uncle, Aaron, had one catch for seven yards in his first game in 1998, and his father, Kevin, had seven catches for 92 yards in his Wildcat debut in 1993.
• Kickoff temp was a reasonable 86 degrees.

Next Week: K-State takes this week off before hosting Kent State on Sept. 17 at 6:10 p.m., at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game with the Golden Flashes will be televised live by FCS.

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