Kansas State kicked off Week 3 of the college football season with an old rivalry game against the Missouri Tigers in Columbia after taking down the Troy Trojans in Week 2. The Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season taking on Eli Drinkwitz and his Tigers in a matchup featuring two undefeated teams. Chris Klieman’s group struggled on the road and sustained key injuries which led to the Wildcats dropping their first game of the season, and with that said, here are my three thoughts on the game.
1. INTERCEPTIONS CONTINUE
While it didn’t seem as bad in the first two games of the season because of Kansas State’s offensive numbers and ability to move down the field with ease, K-State QB Will Howard threw his third-straight interception in as many games. While K-State’s defense stepped up and kept Missouri from reaching the endzone on the drive, Missouri’s defense became the third-straight unit to fool Howard into making a bad choice with the football.
Howard finished his day off going 25-39 for 270 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. While it’s easy to point to the game and say that it’s a bad loss for the Wildcats, the status of Will Howard could be a much bigger setback. Howard took a hit from Missouri linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper in the third quarter and came up with a noticeable limp. Howard was able to finish out the game against the Tigers, but with a matchup against UCF set for September 23rd, Howard’s health, and decision-making will be topics to follow.
2. DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES
While the offense wasn’t spectacular in Saturday’s game, Kansas State’s defense showed some issues in the back end. The majority of Missouri’s offensive production came on blown coverages from K-State’s secondary with miscommunications from sophomore DB Jacob Parrish and North Dakota State transfer Marques Sigel. The Tigers’ first score of the day came on a blown coverage against five-star wideout Luther Burden who found the end zone in the first quarter on a 47-yard bomb.
The Wildcats defense then gave up the second touchdown drive of the day to Brady Cook and the Tigers with back-to-back missed assignments that resulted in a 41-yard completion to Mookie Cooper, followed by a 27-yard completion to Brett Norfleet to advance the ball to the Wildcats’ seven-yard line. While things changed up noticeably in the third quarter, K-State’s defense reverted back to their first-half form in the fourth quarter letting Brady Cook and the Tigers march down the field with relative ease to win the game. K-State’s defense entered Saturday’s matchup as one of the best units in the Big 12 and after getting smacked around by Cook and the Tigers this weekend, the unit is going to be a major area of concern for Chris Klieman going forward.
3. WHAT A KICK
While K-State didn’t put together much of a showing on their final two drives of regulation, Missouri did just enough to get into field goal range despite a crucial delay of game penalty with six seconds remaining. Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis made the kick of his life from 61 yards out to take down the Wildcats on a kick that may have snuck in from nearly 70.
Mevis saved his coach’s reputation following a massive mistake late in the game which could have sent the game to overtime, extending Mevis’ game-winning try from 56 yards to 61 yards. Drinkwitz and the Tigers closed off Saturday afternoon with a huge win over the Wildcats to give the squad a massive win, and a 3-0 record heading into SEC play.