Sams shows good and bad in K-State loss
Published on -10/6/2013, 9:12 AM
The sophomore also showed a propensity for turnovers in a 33-29 loss to No. 21 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Sams, who had attempted just four passes this season entering the game, accounted for 299 yards of total offense and three touchdowns for Kansas State (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) — which nearly overcame 12 penalties for 92 yards against the Cowboys (4-1, 1-1).
It was the quarterback's four turnovers, including a pair of late interceptions, which proved too much for the Wildcats to overcome.
"We started him because we were trying to do some things that we knew he could do, and get him invested collectively in the ballgame," Kansas State coach Billy Snyder said. "As you can see, he came in and threw the ball just fine. I certainly don't like the interceptions."
Sams entered the game having shared time with Jake Waters at quarterback this season. The sophomore played the majority of the game on Saturday, finishing 15-of-21 passing for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he had 118 yards rushing on 27 carries.
However, he also finished with three interceptions and a lost fumble.
"I decided to be ready for whatever comes, and a lot of playing time came (Saturday)," Sams said. "It felt good to do it, but we came out with three interceptions, so you can't beat anybody doing that."
Sams and the Wildcats were hardly the only ones experiencing an up-and-down day on Saturday.
Oklahoma State struggled for much of the second half before rallying with J.W. Walsh's 6-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Moore with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. The score put the Cowboys up 30-29 and helped them overcome a third quarter in which they had no first downs.
The six-play, 75-yard drive — engineered by Walsh — came only after the Cowboys had fallen behind and watched as several scoring opportunities resulted in only field goals.
Afterward, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had one wish looking back on the go-ahead drive.
"Whoever flipped the switch, I wish they'd flip it earlier," Gundy said. "I don't know what to say. It was very well executed; guys made plays."
While Oklahoma State breathed a sigh of relief, Kansas State was left to once again ponder what might have been — despite the emergence of Sams at quarterback.
Oklahoma State led 17-14 at halftime thanks to a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by Walsh, who bounced back from a two-interception performance last week in a loss to West Virginia.
The sophomore's best moment came following Sams' 3-yard touchdown that put Kansas State up 29-23 in the fourth quarter.
Following the score, Walsh opened the Cowboys' drive with completions of 12 and 26 yards to Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore, respectively. After a 16-yard run by Jeremy Smith, Walsh added a 15-yard strike to Brandon Sheperd before capping the go-ahead drive with his touchdown pass to Charlie Moore.
"It was one of those situations where the guys on the field knew we had to go down and score, and if we didn't, we may not win," Walsh said. "We knew we had to take care of the ball and go score.
"We just put the ball in our playmakers' hands. When we do that, good things happen."
Oklahoma State's Shaun Lewis and Daytawion Lowe followed with interceptions to end the Wildcats' final two drives and secure the win.
Sams put Kansas State up 7-0 in the first quarter with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Gronkowski, a play on which he faked the run before pulling up and slinging the ball over the middle to the streaking fullback.
Sams also found Torell Miller for a 17-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats up 21-17 to open the third quarter.
After falling behind, the Cowboys forced turnovers on each of Kansas State's next three possessions. They were only able to come away with a pair of field goals by Ben Grogan, however.
The freshman kicker, who missed a pair of field goals in the loss to the Mountaineers, connected from 30, 34, 23 and 28 yards out on Saturday.
Despite the turnaround in the kicking game, Gundy had no answers for an Oklahoma State offense that had no first downs in the third quarter.
"I don't have a clue," Gundy said. "I really wish I could give you an explanation so it sounds good on the news tonight.
"We need to become a better football team from the 7-yard line in. That's a fact."
Walsh had the answer when the Cowboys needed them most.