Credit: Bo Rader/Wichita EagleRun This Way Derek Larson October 12, 2015 Features, Wildcat First Down I hate running. The sweating. The struggling for breath. The aching sides. And it’s even worse after I finally get my shoes on. Alas, I have many reasons that I should enjoy running. My wife is a runner. I have friends who are runners. I have feet. Nonetheless, the loathing remains. I know those are strange facts to note on a blog dedicated to K-State sports. It is even stranger considering that the Wildcats took the No. 2 TCU Horned Frogs to the brink of defeat just two days ago. I promise it’s relevant, though. You see, I am beginning to fear that the 2015 Wildcats have the same aversion to running. What else can explain this team’s insistence on passing incessantly with the ball and a second-half lead? Against TCU, the Wildcats threw 33 times, completing just 13 of those attempts. One of Joe Hubener’s 20 incompletions was an interception returned 60 yards for a TCU touchdown on the first drive of the second half. Momentum may not have entirely shifted on that play – the Wildcats still led by 11 – but you could argue that it shimmied. One might have assumed the Wildcats would favor ball control while leading in the second half. One also might be completely wrong and quite confused. With the ball and the lead in the second half, K-State passed 14 times and rushed 15 times. Of those 14 passes, the Wildcats completed two. TWO. Yes, there were some pass interference penalties in that mix, but on certain fade routes it seemed like a bit of yellow on the field was the best those in purple could hope for. The numbers are no mirage. Hubener’s effort on Saturday was gutty, but passing will never be the strongest phase of his game. He is a running quarterback. That is not an insult. Collin Klein put together a nice career as the guy you would rather see run than pass. Furthermore, Hubener does not have anything near the receiving options of Klein. There is no Tyler Lockett. There is no Chris Harper. There is no Tramaine Thompson. Instead, Hubener’s top targets have been former QB Kody Cook, a beat-up Dominique Heath and Deante Burton with a case of the dropsies. The passing obsession is even more mind-boggling considering how effective the Wildcat rushing attack was on Saturday. As a team, the Wildcats averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Hubener rushed for 111 yards and four touchdowns. Charles Jones returned from the abyss of the Wildcat bench to rush for 75 yards and a pair of scores. Freshmen Heath and Justin Silmon combined to gain 36 yards on eight carries. Why didn’t the Wildcats look to run more? Bill Snyder said the coaches based the play calling on the amphibious defense. “Well we tried to possess the ball last week and lost the two touchdown lead,” Snyder said. “You just have to do what you think people are going to give you and how the defense is playing. The defense played very well. They played better defensively than we did offensively in the second half. We got a few plays, but not very many.” I will never coach football at a level other than mediocre fantasy teams, but I keep getting stuck on this notion. The Wildcats rushed for five first-half touchdowns. Sure, you can bet that Gary Patterson wanted TCU to adjust and improve on their rush defense in the second half, but why not make them prove that they can stop it before shifting philosophies? In the first half, K-State ran quarterback sneaks when everyone within an 800-mile radius knew they would do so, and they worked. When Daniel Thomas was a Wildcat, even the sheep down the road knew he was going to get the ball, yet K-State stuck with that game plan because it worked. Why not stick with what works now? On Saturday, the Wildcats face an Oklahoma Sooner team that just suffered an embarrassing loss to the University of Texas. They are beatable, as the Longhorns showed. How did the Longhorns win? By rushing for 313 yards and passing for just 55. Hmm. I hate running, but there is nothing I want to see the Wildcats do more. There’s no better time to start than this Saturday.