To read a more traditional recap of the game, go check out my recap from last night. For this, we're just going to talk about some quick TAKES that came to mind this morning on good and bad things.
Rush Defense: I cannot say enough about the job the defensive line has done since the second half started against Arkansas. They have only allowed 107 yards rushing in that time frame. They held Kansas State's mobile QB - who Kansas State loves to run up the middle on QB draws - to negative yardage. It's obvious the defense had the goal that they were not going to let Jake Waters beat them.
Josh Holsey and Trovon Reed: Holsey looked like he never missed a beat sliding back over to his old position of safety. Trovon Reed stepped up in a big way to cover for Holsey's move. Reed now has two interceptions in the last two games. Sure, he's had some rough plays, and he came dangerously close to pass interference a few times last night, but he has played well in a position he probably should have been in his whole career. I couldn't be happier for him.
Rudy Ford: Rudy is going to be a fun one to watch over the next few years, here.
Marshall's Second Half Passing Stats: I think the majority of Marshall's completions came in the second half, and Auburn turned around their horrible 3rd down performance in the first half largely on Marshall's arm. Is he greatly improved over last season? Not that I can see, right now. What is clear though is that when the game is on the line, Marshall is clutch throwing the football.
The Fade: I have been waiting to see that in a game situation since the spring game. The touchdown on a fade pass to Duke Williams was just as beautiful as we all imagined it would be.
Daniel Carlson as PK and Kickoff Man: On a night when the wind was swirling and KSU's kicker missed three field goals, Carlson put his two attempts through the uprights and still booted most all of his kick-offs through the back of the endzone.
Penalties. Or Lack Thereof. We won the game, so I don't want to harp on penalties too much. I'm sure holding calls were missed on Auburn a fair bit, as well. I really didn't start even looking until the long punt returns. Holding is one thing, but the blocks in the back on KSU's punt return were really annoying. On Auburn's side, we have got to clean up those pass interference penalties. One or two of them were dubious, at best, but still. Also, falling for the hard count on the 4th and 1 early in the game is a move a senior defensive tackle should NEVER make.
Rushing Offense: I have to give KSU a ton of credit for this. I do think there were problems with blocking and getting to the second level with blocks on the part of the offensive line, but KSU's defense handled the zone-read perfectly. Keep in mind that they run something similar and were better prepared to defend it, but they defended it about as well as anyone can. It was a stellar performance on their part.
Dropped/Overthrown passes: Kansas State fans can hang their heads on "three missed field goals," and I'll be over here mumbling about "two wide-open touchdown passes." I still think Sammie could have caught one of those deep balls if he had jumped/dived for it, though that would have meant no touchdown. It still would have been a huge play. Regardless, Marshall has got to get better at connecting with Sammie on those. He is going to get behind the defense a few times every game, and we have to be able to take advantage of it.
The dropped pass by Duke was very out of character for him, but there was no one ahead of him, and I think he would have gone straight to the house if he makes that grab. There was also another pass thrown his way in the 1st quarter that he should have come down with for a big gain, but dropped in the face of double-coverage. I'm sure the DB had something to do with that, too, though.
Punting: I know Carlson was likely doing what the coaches told him, but why were we kicking to Tyler Lockett after his first big return? We should have been kicking to the sidelines after that. Our punt coverage is usually fantastic, and some non-calls on illegal blocks helped, but we never should have created those situations in the first place. I also have no idea why true freshman Matthew Shiel was punting on that first punt, but that was almost a disaster right from the start. Kudos to him for the recovery and still getting off a decent kick.
The "Stealing Signs" Controversy: I hate this. I really hate it. I hate that headlines all say "KSU accuses Auburn of stealing signs." That's not what Coach Snyder said. He said we were "getting their signals." So, we were READING their signals, not stealing them. That's just a part of football, and Coach Snyder knows that it's his and his staff's fault if they weren't disguising their signals well enough. That's just football. Stealing implies something illegal and wrong. Reading/deciphering signals is just good practice.
I'm sure there are plenty of things I meant to talk about and have forgotten, now, but I think that should do. On to the next game. Everyone enjoy their second Saturday in a row without Auburn football.