By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
1. Kansas State could finish the regular season on a six-game winning streak.
After a 2-4 start even the most optimistic of K-State fans couldnt envision the Wildcats ending with anything better than a 7-5 record, but after three straight blowout victories an 8-4 finish is now on the table. K-State will be favored against TCU and Kansas and it might be favored against Oklahoma. Bill Snyders team looked flat-out impressive on Saturday, pummeling a ranked team on the road in front of more than 54,000 fans. It wont be easy, but if the Wildcats keep executing the way they recently have there is no reason why they cant win their final three games and head into the postseason the same way Baylor did last year.
2. John Hubert is a new man.
Remember the running back that couldnt run for 50 yards on consistent basis earlier this season? Well, forget about him. Hubert is an entirely different runner now. That much was obvious from the get-go on Saturday, when he cut left and burst through a big hole for a 63-yard touchdown on K-States opening drive. He made the correct read and outran everyone to the end zone. It wasnt the longest run of his career, but it might have been his best. Huberts confidence is higher than it has ever been, and when he runs with passion K-States offense benefits. The Wildcats were too predictable when they asked Daniel Sams to be a workhorse runner. Now that Hubert is gashing defenses, Sams and even Jake Waters are finding it easy to rush for 40-plus yards. K-State finished with 291 rushing yards against Texas Tech. Hubert, along with a resurgent offensive line, was a big reason why.
3. Ryan Mueller might be the best story of the season.
Mueller won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after his big game against Iowa State. He might win the honor again after coming up with three sacks against Texas Tech. The defensive end is in the middle of a sensational year few saw coming. Remember, this is a former walk-on who used to do landscape jobs to pay his way through college. The way he is playing, you would think he was a former four-star recruit.
– Ty Zimmerman twice had to leave the game on Saturday with injuries, but he still managed to make five tackles and return an interception 43 yards for a touchdown. He is now up to 67 tackles and three picks on the year. He is on his way to another standout season. Pain is overrated, apparently.
And how about my boy Ty Zimmerman? Show me a tougher guy in the country and I'll tell you you're lying.
— Curry Sexton (@csexton_14) November 9, 2013
– Im not sure anyone on K-States offensive line will be able to fully explain why the unit couldnt block anyone in its first few games, but it has made enormous strides in recent weeks and is back to playing at the level everyone expected in the preseason. Snyder said he could notice a change during the Baylor game a few weeks ago. K-State has won every game since. Coincidence? I think not. Cody Whitehair, B.J. Finney and company led the way on Saturday.
“That’s what we like to do,” Whitehair said. “We like to pound the ball down the opponents throat and I felt like that is what we did.”
– Jake Waters is best known as a passer, but he can run the ball, too. On Saturday, he delivered 38 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Those stats are a good indicator of how well K-States two-quarterback system is working at the moment. Sams and Waters both have the freedom to make plays in any way they see fit.
“I will do whatever it takes to help this team win,” Waters said. “If that means throwing it 40 times or picking up yards with my legs Im doing it. I will do whatever. I think I can do both. Same with Daniel. I had an opportunity to show more with my legs today. I think I did that.”
– Time of possession is overrated. Texas Tech held the ball for 30 minutes, 21 seconds and wasn’t in the game after the first quarter.
You can go ahead and cross the Pinstripe Bowl off the list of potential bowl games for K-State. The Wildcats are much more likely headed to the Texas Bowl, Holiday Bowl or Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Last week, the Texas Bowl seemed like the favorite. Now the Holiday Bowl is the favorite. Texas Tech’s finishing schedule (vs. Baylor and at Texas) is extremely difficult. K-State could easily jump to fifth in the Big 12 standings and land an invite to San Diego. But don’t rule out the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. If K-State wins out and catches Oklahoma in the standings, it could be headed to Arizona.
K-State didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter and lost the yardage battle 459-367. It also won in a blowout. This was Snyder Ball at its finest.
K-State is an early 10-point favorite over TCU, but the Horned Frogs won’t be pushovers. They finally won a close game on Saturday, edging Iowa State on the road, and head to K-State with their bowl hopes still alive. TCU has a strong defense and will make K-State work on Saturday.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Coach Snyder said he still wants us to practice better. He isn’t satisfied, and neither are we.” — Jake Waters.