October 8, 2006

K-State finds itself with running game

Kansas State coach Ron Prince loves a good sports metaphor. Field goal kicking is a lot like shooting free throws. The defense can be like a pitcher getting high into a pitch count and wearing down. He can find a football metaphor in almost any sport. Heck, he once even pulled out curling reference. So, it shouldn't be a shock that Prince found a new sport to describe the play of his retooled offensive line in Saturday's 31-27 victory over Oklahoma State.

"In boxing, you have a lot of different kinds of fighters. We wanted to have some club fighters this week," Prince said of his o-line. "We really didn't need any guys who were necessarily No. 1 contenders or champions. We just needed some club fighters. We felt having enough fight in you would be enough and that's how we wanted to take it to these guys. Nothing else would work."

In other words, Prince and his coaches wanted to turn the trenches into a brawl. A new lineup up front - senior Greg Wafford, left tackle; sophomore Caleb Handy, left guard; sophomore Brad Rooker, center; freshman Brock Unruh, right guard; and freshman Nick Stringer, right tackle - and the first start for freshman running back Leon Patton added up to a winning formula for the Wildcats.

K-State opened the game lined up in a two-back set, something it hasn't shown much of this season, and for the first time this season appeared determined to bludgeon an opponent with a running game.

K-State ran 23 offensive plays in the first half, 19 of which were running plays. (Keep in mind the Wildcats ran just 21 times the entire game in last week's loss at Baylor.) Patton carried the ball 12 times in the first two quarters for 79 yards. Patton finished with 21 carries for 151 yards as the Cats ran the ball on 36 out of 51 plays for 180 yards.

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