Sports Extra: Cardiac Cats Find a Way Again

Anthony Cantele's 31-yard field goal late in the 4th quarter gave K-State a 36-35 lead.

Oct. 2, 2011

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By Mark Janssen

It’s a bit generic, but yet fitting to call this 2011 Kansas State football team the “Cardiac ‘Cats.”

That defense that was so maligned a year ago has now found a way to win games down the stretch for the second straight week against significant programs in Miami and Baylor.

Saying he was “so proud” of his players and coaches, coach Bill Snyder said of the win, “To be able to do this week in and week out shows that we keep playing. We keep rowing the boat; we keep sawing wood. It’s all those adages that are factual, and true.

“The bottom line is a bunch of goals all about values that we have, which is what it’s been about all year. It’s about never giving up, discipline to do the right things, hard work - all those things we teach our kids and our children make a difference. It’s hard to get them to buy into them, but it’s what makes a difference.”   

Last week, it was a goal-line stand, and a final stop by Tre Walker at the 2-yard line in a 28-24 win over Miami.

Saturday against No. 15 ranked Baylor, it was an interception by Arthur Brown that set up a game-winning field goal of 31 yards by Anthony Cantele with 3:10 remaining, which was followed by a three-and-out by the defense with Brown scoring a sack, plus another tackle, and Jordan Voelker supplying the defense with a batted ball on a fourth-down incomplete pass as K-State upset the Bears, 36-35, in the Big 12 opener.

“That was a big stand. It was an opportunity against a great team to show our identity on defense,” said Brown. “The energy from that last play came from me seeing enjoyment from my team.”

On Brown’s heroics down the stretch, Snyder said, “He plays inspired football. The real value of Arthur is he has that nose for the football. He can find it and go get it. When he knows where he’s going and how to get there, he can pull the trigger as fast as anyone. Now there are a lot of guys faster than Arthur Brown on the clock, but he plays fast because he knows how and when to pull the trigger.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s a competition, yet it kind of is to make every big play,” said Walker in sharing headlines with Brown in consecutive weeks. “We want to see each other do well. He did great tonight and I just love him to death.”

On the flip side of the field, Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Robert Griffin III, who passed for 346 yards and five touchdowns, said of the late game scenario, “All we had to do is do what we do. They made good plays on defense, so hats off to them.”

The victory was K-State’s first over a ranked team since a 41-21 pasting at No. 7 Texas in 2007, and the first at Bill Snyder Family Stadium since a 45-42 victory over the No. 4 Longhorns in 2006. It was also the first ranked opponent a Bill Snyder-led team has defeated since a 58-7, Nov. 9, 2002 win against No. 21 Iowa State.

Of the consecutive thrillers, fullback Braden Wilson said, “It’s shown us that we can finish games. We’re playing with so much confidence.”

John Hubert added of the team victories that have the Wildcats at 4-0, “It’s about dedication and toughness. Coach talks to us about being tough, and we want to show him that we are and can win even in crunch time situations.”

After a shaky mid-portion of the game, Collin Klein ended up accounting for 259 yards – 146 passing and 113 rushing – and three touchdowns – two passing and one rushing.

“He demonstrated amazing toughness and an ability to stay focused and not get rattled,” said Snyder of his quarterback. “He’s a quality leader on the field and keeps his composure. When he does that, his teammates do exactly the same thing.”

Fourth Quarter Heroics
For the year, K-State is 4-0 and has out-scored opponents 27-7 in the final quarter. Three of the wins have some in come-from-behind efforts in the final period by a total of eight points – three, four and one.

• Eastern Kentucky: K-State scored the winning points with 1:30 remaining in a 10-7 victory. All 10 points came in the fourth quarter
• Miami: K-State took the lead with 10:00 left and then the defense do the rest, which included a goal-line stand when the Hurricanes had the ball 1st and goal at the 2-yard line.
• Baylor: The Wildcats scored the last 10 points in the final 5:22, and then Arthur Brown scored an interception down the stretch.

On winning late, defensive back David Garrett said,  “Our confidence is very high, but we have to keep doing it week after week. These games are fun, but probably not the right way to win them.”

First Half Opportunities
K-State had its opportunities in the first half, but didn’t take advantage.

In the half, Baylor lost two fumbles, plus was penalized five times for 53 yards. K-State played turnover-free football and didn’t have a yellow flag against them in the first 30 minutes.

The Wildcats had to settle for two first-quarter FGs, plus missed a third in the second period.

After that miss, Baylor went 75 yards in two plays covering 20 seconds for a 10-point swing upping its lead to 21-13.

Of the early game play, Snyder said, “We had several opportunities. The game didn’t need to be as tight as it was because we had many opportunities to get seven on the board.”

In the half, Collin Klein was 9-of-15 for 111 yards and two TDs, while Robert Griffin was 14-of-17 for 220 yards and three scores.

In the half, Baylor totaled 259 yards on 28 snaps to K-State’s 156 on 40 plays.

Stat of the Game
Several, including “big plays” where one would normally think of Baylor. In this game, K-State had 13 plays of at least 10 yards to Baylor’s 12.  And other notes –
• K-State 10, Baylor 0 in the fourth quarter
• K-State 38:47, BU 21:13 in time of possession
• BU 3, K-State 1 in lost turnovers
• K-State 9 of 19, BU 3 of 11 in third-down conversions
• K-State 7 of 8, BU 1 of 1 in Red Zone scoring

Quote of the Game
For K-State’s John Hubert, the win was more satisfying than for most as the Wildcat running back is a native of Waco, Texas. On the win, he said, “It’s very satisfying. I have a lot of fans back home and this is such an exciting win.”

‘SE’ Game Balls
Offense – Collin Klein passed for a career-high 146 yards and two scores, plus rushed for 113 yards and a score; Chris Harper nabbed a career-high six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown; Angelo Pease made plays when called on with five carries for 33 yards and a score.

Defense – Arthur Brown scored the deciding interception, plus led the team with eight tackles, which included a sack and a half; Jarell Childs and Emmeanuel Lamur each notched seven arrests.

Special Teams – David Garrett had four kickoff returns for 86 yards, which included a 39-yarder; Anthony Cantele had a career-high three field goals of 28, 37 and 31 yards.

K-State Salutes Jeffries
Kansas State’s athletic department took time to recognize former Wichita State football coach Willie Jeffries prior to the game.

The first African American to be a head coach in Division I football at Wichita State from 1979-84, Jeffries will be in today’s induction class into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.

“They called and asked if I had $50, and to bring it and I would get into the Hall of Fame,” quipped Jeffries. Turning serious, the 74-year-old Jeffries said, “What a great honor. I’ve lived in a lot of towns, but for one to think enough of you to bring you back and put you in the Hall of Fame is really great. The people in Kansas are the best that I’ve ever met.”

Jeffries coached 29 years, which included 19 at his alma mater of South Carolina State, followed by his days at Wichita State when he posted a 21-32-2 record, and then Howard. His collective coaching accomplishments earned him a trip into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

On how the game has changed during this time, Jeffries said, “The days of three yards and a cloud of dust are over.  Heck, when I was coaching fans didn’t think I would even pass on an interstate.”

On his thoughts on K-State coach Bill Snyder, Jeffries said, “What a great coach and a great person. I’m so happy that he came back to stabilize things. You tell your players to play hard to honor the game, but coach Snyder coaches hard to honor the profession he’s in.”

On Bryce Brown
K-State’s Bill Snyder had this to say about Brown: “Bryce is going through some difficult times right now. He has a lot of people trying to help him, and it’s important for him to reach out to those people and try to get things straightened away. It’s not about football right now.”

Game Notes
• K-State track coach Cliff Rovelto reports that Robert Griffin III went to Baylor on a track scholarship, and was the No. 1 hurdler out of the state of Texas when he did.
• And the record goes on - K-State has now scored in 181 games, 10th longest in the nation.
• Griffin III threw five touchdowns and had eight incomplete passes. For the season, he now has 18 touchdowns and 20 incomplete passes. Griffin had a string of 171 straight passes without an interception end in the fourth quarter.
• Saturday’s attendance was 49,399.
• K-State celebrated Fort Riley Day, plus recognized former heroes Mark Simoneau and Kendra Wecker, who today will enter the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Next Week
K-State, 4-0, stays at home to take on the 2-2 Missouri Tigers in a 2:30 p.m., start at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game will be televised by ABC.

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