Season Report Card: Kansas State
This past season may have been some of his best work, turning a group of inexperienced rookies and JUCO transfers into one of the better teams in the Big 12 Conference.
It wasn’t easy, as the Wildcats (8-5, 5-4) got off to a rocky 2-4 start, including a loss to FCS North Dakota State (albeit the two-time reigning D-1AA national champs) and a few heartbreakers against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
But Snyder’s crew got better as the season went on, notching six wins in its final seven games, including a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl win against Michigan. That said, here is Kansas State’s report card for 2013:
I don’t think even Snyder himself knew who the starting quarterback was going to be heading into the day of the season opener, but somehow it worked itself out. Junior Jake Waters wasn’t anything spectacular, but completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and was efficient enough to allow John Hubert and backup quarterback Daniel Sams (the much more athletic, versatile option) to rush for a combined 1,855 yards and 21 scores. Receiver Tyler Lockett was one of the best in the nation at his position, blowing past defenders for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns. Kansas State owned the Big 12’s second-best offense behind Baylor, finding 6.3 yards per play and scoring 32.8 points per game in conference play.
There wasn’t anything scary about Kansas State’s defense, but players like safety Ty Zimmerman and linebacker Blake Slaughter gave the Wildcats the kind of physicality needed to slow down opposing Big 12 offenses. K-State finished third in the conference in points allowed (22.9) and held Baylor—the NCAA’s highest-scoring team—to its third-lowest output of 2013 (35 points).
Even at the ripe age of 74, Snyder continues to find diamonds in the rough and compete within one of the strongest conferences in the country. Kansas State will probably never be an ideal destination for the highest-caliber recruit, but that won’t matter as long as he’s at the helm. If you play for Snyder, you will not only become a better football player, but you will become a better human being.
Kansas State could have folded after losing to North Dakota State at home or when it fell to Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor by a total of 24 points. But instead, the Wildcats rallied around each other and matured as a unit. There wasn’t a time where they looked dazed or uncompetitive all season, and that’s saying a lot for a program that lost so many veterans from the previous class.
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