Players of the Game: K-State vs. Oklahoma State

Parker Robb | Collegian K-State defensive end Ryan Mueller attempts to tackle Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh during the second quarter of the Wildcats’ game against the Cowboys in Stillwater, Okla. Saturday afternoon. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 33-29 in a tense game that went down to the wire, sealing their win with an interception with 18 seconds remaining.

With both teams looking to rally from ugly losses in the opening round of Big 12 play, the K-State Wildcats continued their road trip down to Stillwater, Okla. to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a battle that was sloppy at best.

Offensive: Sophomore Oklahoma State QB J.W. Walsh

Sophomore quaterback J.W. Walsh completed 24 passes during 38 attempts for a solid 245 yards and a touchdown. Walsh’s 43 yard scoring strike to freshman wide receiver Jhajuan Seales in the first quarter was OSU’s fourth longest pass of the year. The sophomore netted 282 total yards of offense, including 11 attempts on the ground for 37 yards.

In comparison, K-State’s Daniel Sams threw for 181 yards, including two touchdowns, and ran for another 134. However, he threw three interceptions, two of which came in the final five minutes of the game.

The key drive in Saturday’s game for Walsh and his offensive staff came hot on the heels of the Wildcat’s go-ahead score with six minutes left in the game. He marched down the field, and within one minute and 56 seconds, he completed a six yard pass over the middle of the field to capitalize on a six plays, totaling 75 yards of offense to put the Cowboys up 30-29.

“It was one of those situations where the guys on the field knew we had to go down and score, and if we didn’t we may not win,” Walsh said of the late drive. “We knew we had to take care of the ball and go score. We just put the ball in our playmakers’ hands. When we do that, good things happen.”

Defensive: Senior K-State S Ty Zimmerman

Ty Zimmerman is an animal. In Saturday’s game against the Cowboys, the senior safety recorded 14 tackles, nine of which were solo. Zimmerman’s 14 tackles are three more than his season high from last year of 11 on Oct. 6, against a struggling Jayhawk offense. Not to mention 10 more than he had against the ‘Boys last year.

It’s no surprise that Zimmerman is coming up big again for the Wildcats this year. As a second team All-American and First Team All-Big 12 player who recorded five interceptions, all in Big 12 play, Ty was one of the few veteran returners to a holy defense.

Although the secondary allowed Oklahoma State’s quarterback J.W. Walsh to tally 245 yards through the air, the defense has notably made strides from last week in Austin, Texas.

“I really feel like we got better,” Zimmerman said. “I feel like our energy was up but still we could have created more turnovers. We still have room to improve but I feel like we did improve this week.”

K-State forced and recovered a fumble late in the third quarter. Ironically, K-State sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams fumbled two plays later.

Special Teams: Freshman Oklahoma State K Ben Grogan

Ben Grogan, a freshman kicker for the Cowboys, was 4-for-4 on FG attempts and 3-for-3 on PATs in Oklahoma State’s win against the Wildcats on Saturday. This was leagues better than his two misses in a hurtful loss to West Virginia last week.

Mike Gundy, head coach for Oklahoma State, sympathized with the freshman kicker. However, Grogan’s performance this week spoke for itself.

“He’s in a tough situation,” Gundy said. “To be a field goal kicker, you’re isolated. In today’s cyberspace, media and internet chat rooms, it’s a tough gig now for a guy to miss a couple of short field goals. He practiced well, and kicked the same way in practice as he has the last three weeks. It’s not easy, and I’m very proud of him for being a freshman and stepping up and knocking them through there.”