Let me start by saying that Kansas State fans, myself included, would not trade Bill Snyder for any other coach in the country. What he has done for Kansas State University and the city of Manhattan is immeasurable. Snyder has won nearly 200 games, a pair of Big 12 titles (’03, ’12), and has taken the Wildcats to 16 bowl games. Heck, he’s one of only five coaches to ever coach in a stadium that bears his name, joining legends like Bear Bryant (Alabama) and Shug Jordan (Auburn).
So, I get it. I know that it is incredibly taboo to second guess Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder, and everyone hates Monday morning coaches, but here I go anyway.
Kansas State was hosting second ranked TCU on Saturday in a game that no one, except Wildcat fans, gave them a chance to win. The Kansas State offense played almost as well as anyone could have hoped through the entire first half and took a 35-17 lead into halftime. QB Joe Hubener had three rushing touchdowns, while running back Charles Jones added a pair. After 49 consecutive wins when leading at halftime, there was no way the Wildcats could lose a second straight game in such a manner … right?
The first thing that caught my eye was the repeated play that was called asking Hubener to complete the fade to Zachary Reuter over, and over, and over again. Not only was it was having success, but it was never even close to working. What were the coaches seeing that no one else saw? Give your players the best chance to win.
But let’s get to play that really drove me, and almost every other person, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium crazy Saturday night. With 1:52 left in the game, fourth and one from the TCU 20 yard line Kansas State sent the field goal unit on the field to tie the game.
Why?! There was way too much time left on the clock, and the defense was clearly having a hard time in the second half. In a game that most people didn’t even expect to be close in the fourth quarter, you have to go for the victory!
Why would you not give your team the chance to go win the game? What does Kansas State gain from playing close with the Horned Frogs? Nothing! In the end, TCU stays undefeated, the pollsters keep them in the top 5, and it’s another loss that college football fans across the country forget about by Monday morning.
Win or lose, I think most Wildcat fans would have went home much happier Saturday night if, instead of playing it safe, Snyder would have sent Hubener back onto the field after the timeout to try and make the first down and go for the win.TCU’s defense had allowed nearly 400 total yards, having just as much trouble with the Wildcat offense on Saturday as the Wildcat defense had with the Horned Frog offense. I honestly think that had Hubener been given the chance, he would have been able to finish off that drive with a touchdown. He completed all three of his pass attempts on the last drive and had been running well all night, finishing with 111 yards and 4 touchdowns on 26 carries. As a team, K-State had racked up nearly 230 yards on the ground, for a solid 4.8 yards per carry.
But in the end Wildcat fans were left with another bitter loss … wondering “what if”?
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