October 17, 2009
Kansas State 62, Texas A&M 14. Here is the worst single loss any team has suffered yet this season, and the really morbid aspect of this score -- achieved by the same Wildcat team that was trounced by 52 points last week at Texas Tech -- is that it could have been much worse. K-State led 38 nothing at the half and 59-0 with 10 minutes to play in the third quarter before conceding mercy for the final 25 minutes. Up to that point, it was one of the most miserable nights in Aggie history -- to wit, in the first 35 minutes alone:
• A&M turned the ball over four times, all four leading to touchdowns by K-State's 99th-ranked scoring offense.
• By combination of turnovers and special teams, the Wildcats began five drives in Aggie territory, four inside the A&M 30, and scored touchdowns on all five.
• In his second career start, K-State quarterback Grant Gregory hit 11 of 14 passes with one touchdown and a 193.9 efficiency rating.
• In his 20th career start, Aggie quarterback Jerrod Johnson completed fewer than half of his passes, was sacked six times and threw three interceptions. Including those sacks, A&M finished with –17 yards rushing as a team against a defense that ranked last in the Big 12 in sacks and tackles for loss.
• At one point in the second and third quarters, Kansas State scored four touchdowns in a little over two minutes of game time, finishing a long TD drive with a minute remaining in the first half; scoring again with five seconds remaining in the half after an A&M fumble; returning the opening kickoff of the second half 96 yards for a touchdown; and scoring on a one-play, nine-yard "drive" a minute later following an Aggie interception.
Coming into the day, the only team I suspected of having possibly given up on the season was Illinois, which sealed its fate as the worst team in the Big Ten with a double-digit loss at Indiana. That's a bad loss, an inexcusable loss for Illinois fans, but at least the Illini were somewhat competitive. If any team had a reason to quit, it was Colorado after its season-opening embarrassments against Colorado State and Toledo, and the Buffs have responded by giving West Virginia and Texas tough games on the road and coming home to stun undefeated Kansas tonight in Boulder.
Texas A&M, on the other hand, could not have conceivably engaged in such a comedy of errors with anything like a normal effort. A bad team may lose to Arkansas by four touchdowns; it may even lose by three touchdowns to Baylor after the Bears took their foot off the gas. But it takes genuine apathy to fall more than eight touchdowns behind to Kansas State in a little more than two quarters. "Incompetence" doesn't quite cover that situation, just like "patience" doesn't quite cover A&M's policy toward coach Mike Sherman if he survives the rest of his second season.