Kansas State Wildcats

Will Jim Mora leave UCLA after Bruins’ Alamo Bowl victory?

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The rumor mill is churning, and UCLA head coach Jim Mora is now at the forefront of the conversation.

Immediately after the Bruins’ 40-35 victory over the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats in the Valero Alamo Bowl, questions began to swirl regarding whether or not Mora will leave the program.

Two teams potentially interested in Mora’s services are the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers. According to PFT, a Jets consultant already contacted Mora and inquired about his buyout with UCLA.

Mora addressed the rumors Thursday to no avail.

“I have no plans to coach anywhere other than UCLA at this point,” Mora told the Orange County Register‘s Ryan Kartje.

At that point, the Bruins had yet to play in the Alamo Bowl. With the bowl game now complete, the interest in Mora could heat up in the coming days.

Friday’s performance by the Bruins wasn’t one to pad the resume, though.

The Bruins nearly allowed the Wildcats to come back from 25-point halftime deficit. UCLA committed 15 penalties and made numerous mental mistakes. It was the type of effort where anyone watching could question whether or not Mora had his team fully prepared.

The Bruins struggled to contain the Wildcats’ dynamic duo at wide receiver, Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. The twosome combined to make 23 catches for 268 yards on their way to becoming the first tandem with 1,000 or more receiving yards in Kansas State history.

A late 67-yard touchdown run from running back Paul Perkins was needed to eventually seal the victory. Perkins finished the contest with 194 yards on 20 carries.

During his three seasons with the program, Mora is 29-11 overall. The Bruins didn’t win 29 games during the team’s previous five seasons. As a result, the coach appears to have revitalized his reputation, which makes him an intriguing option for the professional ranks.

It sure appeared as if Mora had somewhere else to be at the conclusion of the Alamo Bowl:

Brett Hundley shines in final game as UCLA leads Kansas State 31-6 in Alamo Bowl

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Brett Hundley is making the most out of his final game as a member of the UCLA Bruins.

Prior to the Valero Alamo Bowl, UCLA head coach Jim Mora confirmed the quarterback will forgo his final year of eligibility with the Bruins to join the professional ranks.

Hundley saved one of his best games for last as the No. 14 Bruins lead the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats 31-6 in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The quarterback’s outstanding performance became quickly evident. The Bruins scored on all three first-quarter drives and quickly built a 17-0 lead.

Hundley plays his best in bowl games. During last year’s Sun Bowl, the quarterback threw for 226 yards and a touchdown while adding 161 more yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns.

The junior could duplicate the performance with a strong second-half effort. Hundley competed 11 of 20 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 57 yards and the pair of aforementioned touchdowns.

If the score isn’t any indication, history indicates the contest is already over for the Wildcats.

To make the second half more interesting, the Wildcats’ primary concern will be to take away the Bruins’ rushing attack. It wasn’t simply Hundley causing Kansas State problems. Running back Paul Perkins, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, carried the ball 11 times for 86 yards, which included a 32-yard touchdown romp.

Bill Snyder‘s squad must force Hundley to beat them through the air to slow the Bruins offense.

Kansas State, meanwhile, needs more from its quarterback. Senior Jake Waters hasn’t played like the quarterback seen during the team’s previous three contests. After completing nearly 74 percent of his passes against the West Virginia Mountaineers, Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears, Waters is only 9-of-19 passing for 89 yards with an interception.

As the second half resumes, it’s all about about Hundley showcasing his talents for the next level.

Quarterback play defines No. 12 Kansas State’s 26-20 victory over WVU

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Bill Snyder‘s Kansas State Wildcats are known for playing fundamentally sound, ball-control football. Neither was the case Thursday against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Yet, the No. 12 Wildcats still found a way to beat WVU 26-20 in Morgantown.

Two leaders on Kansas State’s offense, quarterback Jake Waters and wide receiver Tyler Lockett, took over the game and never looked back.

Everything starts with the quarterback. Waters was forced to carry the offense due to West Virginia completely taking away Kansas State’s running game. The Wildcats gained one yard on the ground. Waters was forced to throw the ball 33 times. He completed 22 passes for a career-high 400 yards through the air.

Waters doubled as the team’s leading rusher. The quarterback was credited with 12 carries for 13 yards. And his seven-yard touchdown pass to running back DeMarcus Robinson on the team’s initial drive was the only time the offense found the end zone.

Lockett was, as per usual, Waters’ favorite target.

The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 196 yards. His biggest contributions actually came on special teams, though. Lockett’s 43-yard punt return for a touchdown granted Kansas State a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. The talented receiver/returner finished the contest with 321 total yards.

Lockett completely outplayed one of the nation’s top wide receivers in West Virginia’s Kevin White. The Wildcats successfully bracketed White throughout the contest, and the nation’s third-leading receiver finished the contest with seven catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Waters’ play wasn’t the only interesting quarterback situation in this particular game.

West Virginia sophomore Sklyer Howard took over for senior Clint Trickett, and the underclassman may not hand the job to Trickett with only Iowa State remaining on the schedule.

Howard played much better than Trickett did once he was inserted into the lineup. The sophomore was 15-of-23 passing for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

At 6-5 overall, the future is now for the Mountaineers.

As the Mountaineers contemplate their fledgling quarterback controversy, Kansas State still has an outside shot of claiming a Big 12 Conference championship.

The Wildcats are now tied with the TCU Horned Frogs at 6-1 overall in the division. With a contest remaining against the No. 7 Baylor Bears and TCU playing the Texas Longhorns this weekend, Kansas State can still claim an outright Big 12 title.

Snyder’s squad will have to play better than they did against West Virginia for the program to have a chance of that actually happening.

Fortunate calls allow No. 12 Kansas State to build 17-3 lead against WVU

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The ball bounced in favor of the No. 12 Kansas State Wildcats during the first half of play against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

A suspect touchdown call and another touchdown being called back proved to be the biggest difference for the Wildcats, who hold a 17-3 lead at halftime.

The fortunate calls in Kansas State’s favor started on the team’s initial drive.

After a 23-yard punt return from Tyler Lockett — and his presence on special teams will come up again — the Wildcats started their initial drive from West Virginia’s 49-yard line. Seven plays later, Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters drove his offense to the 7-yard line. On third-and-goal, Waters scrambled in the pocket and found running back DeMarcus Robinson open for a touchdown pass.

However, Robinson dropped the football during the follow through of the catch. Despite the bobbled ball, the referees ruled he had possession before he went to the ground and the touchdown call stood. Kansas State gained an early 7-0 lead.

After the team’s traded field goals, the Mountaineers finally found the end zone on one of the wackiest touchdown catches of the season. Or so they thought.

Kevin White, the nation’s third-leading receiver, came up with an amazing tipped pass for the unlikely score (see: below).

The catch was eventually ruled incomplete upon review. One angle appeared to show the ball hitting the ground before it flipped into the air toward White. The situation was compounded by the fact West Virginia kicker Josh Lambert missed the ensuing field goal attempt.

Locket extended Kansas State’s lead with a 43-yard punt return for a touchdown. The All-American returner averaged 33 yards per punt return through two quarters of play.

As the teams enter the second half, Kansas State wants to return to playing sound football after a sloppy first half. West Virginia, meanwhile, needs to capitalize on its opportunities and find ways to get its vertical passing attack on track.

Kansas State saves season with rally against Iowa State

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It’s not always easy, but Bill Snyder‘s Kansas State Wildcats find ways to win. The 20th ranked Wildcats earned a 32-28 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium.

A loss would have almost certainly taken the Wildcats out of contention for the Big 12 Conference title. The Wildcats will now have two weeks to prepare for the Auburn Tigers to prove they should also be a part of the national conversation.

The Wildcats had to overcome plenty of adversity against the Cyclones to get to this point.

With 11:35 remaining, the Wildcats were down eight points and driving. They drove the ball from their 3-yard line to the Cyclones’ 31-yard line. On 4th-and-1, the Cyclones stuffed the Wildcats. A series later Kansas State was able to score a touchdown, yet it needed a two-point conversion to tie the game. Quarterback Jake Waters attempted a designed quarterback run. Iowa State safety Kamari Cotton-Moya scraped across the formation and met Waters inches short of the goal line for the stop.

But Waters took over when the game was on the line. The Wildcats were down 28-26 when they started their final drive with 3:01 remaining and 80 yards to go. Waters’ mobility kept the drive alive multiple times as he ran for 51 yards including an 8-yard touchdown scamper.

Waters was the game’s leading rusher with 138 yards. He was also 16-of-29 passing for 239 yards. It was enough for Kansas State to squeak by Iowa State and leave Ames with the victory.

Meanwhile, an 0-2 start to the season is devastating for Iowa State and head coach Paul Rhoads.

Rhoads is now firmly implanted on the hot seat. After Iowa State finished 3-9 last season, it needed to bounce back this season. Instead, it’s easy to envision the Cyclones starting 0-5 with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Baylor Bears and Oklahoma State next on the schedule.

Kansas State can continue with their expectations intact, while this may be the beginning of the end for Rhoads at Iowa State.