MORGANTOWN — Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder took full responsibility for what looked like a foolish call Saturday midway through the second quarter – a pitch outside on 4th down and inches on his own side of the field.
West Virginia defenders immediately swarmed running back Alex Barnes for a 4-yard loss. The Mountaineers defense went on to score two more touchdowns before halftime to put the Wildcats’ deficit at 21-0.
But while Snyder took responsibility, he also said he would call the same play again in the same situation.
“I can’t coach a team that can’t get six inches on a play,” the 78-year-old coach quipped.
After WVU took a 35-3 lead in the second half, Snyder again switched quarterbacks from Skylar Thompson, who was 11-of-17 when he was benched, to Alex Delton. In K-State’s first three games, both quarterbacks split reps but it appeared Thompson took a stranglehold on the position last week against UTSA.
Three quarters later, it was back to Delton.
The Wildcats had been a thorn in the Mountaineers’ side during the first four years in the Big 12, but the momentum has shifted mightily in West Virginia’s favor after its 35-6 win at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Even WVU coach Dana Holgorsen was surprised at how badly his team stuck it to K-State.
“We’ve been in some wars with Kansas State and I was fully expecting this one to be the same.
“For us to be able to be able to play like that on all three sides … I’m very happy with that. Kansas State — they don’t lose like that. It’s hard to beat those guys like that.”
K-State (2-2, 0-1) under Snyder has predicated itself on discipline and doing the little things well despite a lack of talent. With their current offense, the Wildcats are showing kinks in their armor.
They mustered just 77 yards of offense in the first half compared to 320 for West Virginia.
“I think by large it was our inability to have any success whatsoever on offense in the early stages of the ballgame,” Snyder said. “Our consistency is one, we couldn’t run the ball early. When I say we couldn’t run, we couldn’t run or throw or throw it. We had some execution issues and we didn’t always get ourselves into the right checks.
“There are a ton of things – we were just a bad offense, period. Like sandlot football for a while.”
Delton provided a spark in the running game, though it was too little too late. Heading into next week’s home game against red-hot Texas, Snyder hopes for a better week of preparation than he had heading into Saturday’s game.
“We prepared poorly on Tuesday. We prepared poorly on Wednesday,” he said. “We had a good Thursday practice, but I just got through sharing with our players that we can’t do it that way. We have to get better on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday if we’re going to play well on Saturday. In my mind, that’s how it works.”