It was the same script Saturday for Kansas State and legendary head coach Bill Snyder. This time, there were just different players executing. In two consecutive seasons, Snyder has exploited West Virginia by going against what he believes in as a head coach.
Give Snyder credit: he completely outcoached Dana Holgorsen Saturday by using the exact game plan he used a year ago.
In 2012, with both teams highly ranked, Snyder and his team relied on then-soon-to-be-Heisman finalist Collin Klein to rush the football in order to create offense. This year, Snyder has relied on Daniel Sams to reignite the Wildcat rushing attack.
Going into 2012’s matchup, Klein had back-to-back games in which he rushed for more than 100 yards and four straight games in which he registered at least one rushing touchdown. Coming into Saturday’s game, Sams had back-to-back games with more than 100 rushing yards, and five of six games in which he registered at least one rushing score.
Both in 2012 and this year, in the days leading up to West Virginia and Kansas State meeting up on the football field, Holgorsen talked about the preparation it would take to slow down these running quarterbacks.
A year ago, Holgorsen and then-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest keyed in on Klein’s toughness and patience while running the football.
The problem was Snyder was ready for a loaded box to slow down the rushing attack, so he decided to pick apart a down West Virginia secondary. Snyder called for 21 passing plays in 2012 against WVU, the most attempts Klein had thrown all year. Klein completed 19 of them for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
Bill Snyder pinpointed a weakness and took advantage of it.
This year, Holgorsen readied his team to face the explosive Daniel Sams.
“Daniel Sams presents problems from an athletic point of view, as he is their leading rusher,” Holgorsen said. “He averages more than six yards per carry. He has run the ball 86 times. We will have to keep him in check. He is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, really fast, very athletic and will hurt you with his feet.”
But just like a year ago, Snyder went against his own grain and decided to take advantage of matchups. After a week of hearing how Sams would rush the ball, Snyder used both Sams and Jake Waters to throw the football all over the field.
Sams was a perfect 8 of 8 for 98 yards and a score, while Waters had his best game completing 10 of 13 passes for 198 yards and three scores.
Holgorsen and his team were fooled again by Kansas State.