Offensive balance beginning to fall in place for K-State

K-State wide receiver Curry Sexton races down the sideline for a touchdown on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at Bill Snyder Family stadium. (Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

After just five games, K-State has begun to make an exclamation point out of something that was a question mark before the season started. The Wildcats have proven they can pass the ball, as expected, but they can also move the ball on the ground.

“I think we made huge strides today,” senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. “We ran it extremely well and when we need to pass, we passed extremely well. It’s just one of these games where we can see how the offense clicked and how we’re able to play as a unit whenever all of us are all in.”

Against Texas Tech, K-State ran for 245 yards and two touchdowns. The part that is scary for opposing defenses is that it’s not just one man doing the damage. The Wildcats had three rushers over 50 yards.

The rushing attack is not incredibly consistent yet, but it produces big plays. Senior quarterback Jake Waters had a 50-yard run through the heart of the Red Raider defense. Senior DeMarcus Robinson broke lose for a 22-yard gain, while sophomore Charles Jones had three runs for over 10 yards.

Relying on big plays can eventually kill an offense. If the team cannot produce those long gains, they will lose their identity and have to find new ways to score points.

“We didn’t have the consistency in the running game,” Coach Bill Snyder said. “We had to throw the ball, and that allowed us to keep drives alive. We’d like to be able to do that with the running game and play with a little bit more balance.”

The most encouraging thing that the running game did for the Wildcats is take time off the clock. The team’s 50 rushing attempts helped the offense control the ball for 40:09 in the game.

The Wildcats must continue to run the ball effectively to help the passing game. Without the threat of a running game, there is no reason for the defense to keep the personnel to defend the run. Finding balance is the key to becoming explosive.

The air attack had a question of its own before the season started — who would complement to senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett? That question was answered against Auburn, and reinforced on Saturday. Sexton had nine catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Sexton’s play opened up the field for Lockett, who finished the game with 12 catches, 125 yards, and two touchdowns. With no double teams on K-State’s best receiver, he can easily tear through man coverage and find open space.

“He takes a lot of pressure away,” Lockett said. “When teams try to double team me, that gives Curry more space and opportunity to work his magic. I think that as long as we continue to develop as a whole unit — especially at receiver — whether or not someone double teams me, another receiver is going to be able to get open and make plays.”