September 20, 2008

K-State ground game going nowhere

Sure, the Kansas State rushing game had struggled in its opening two games, but how bad could it get? Well, not even 10 days of review, practice and planning was enough for the Wildcats’ ground attack to mount any semblance of success against Louisville’s fifth-ranked rushing defense, thus furthering concerns in the rushing department as the team attempts to regroup from a 38-29 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday.

As K-State coach Ron Prince said following his 10th loss in 12 road games, “We were definitely the bug, they were the windshield and we got splattered today.”

The blanket statement described the Wildcats’ overall performance as they failed to capture their first non-conference road since 2005.

It also fit the Wildcats' efforts on the ground. The Cardinals squashed them.

K-State gained just 30 yards on 12 attempts for its fewest rushing yards since it had 27 at No. 18 Auburn during the first game of the 2007 season.

Of the Wildcats 12 rushes, none went for more than eight yards. Junior Keithen Valentine in his third career start had just six carries for 14 yards and backup redshirt freshman Justin Woods didn't go anywhere on his only carry. Quarterback Josh Freeman led the rushing effort with 18 yards on three carries.

The Wildcats struggled on the ground from the onset. They ran 16 offensive plays in the first quarter, including five rushes for seven yards. A 12-yard scamper by Freeman was negated when left guard Brock Unruh was penalized for holding on what would have been the team's longest running play in the game. Still, a Freeman touchdown pass gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead entering the second quarter.

"With the lead, I wanted to run it quite a bit and we weren’t able to extend the lead or really get into any of those situations," Prince said.

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