Kansas State football fans, more than 17,000 of them, came to the annual Purple-White spring game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday expecting to see a lot of offense and a lot of passing offense with the quarterbacks having the rare freedom to call all their own plays. They did see more passing plays than running plays, but it was the defense, not the offensive units, that dominated the final organized scrimmage of the 2014 Big 12 spring football season.
Soon-to-be-senior starting quarterback Jack Waters led the Purple offense, composed of the first-team offense and defense, to a 23-13 victory over the White team,
It took almost the entire first quarter before the Purple team broke through with the first score of the game. Fullback Glenn Gronkowsi, who will be a sophomore in the fall, rumbled for the final 14 yards, capping a 13-play, 60-yard scoring drive.
The White team added a 42-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker Matthew McCrane right before halftime for the only other scoring in the opening 30 minutes..
Waters used his legs instead of his with a 10-yard scamper to paydirt in the third quarter to give his Purple team a 14-3 advantage.
Perhaps the most exciting play of the game came with under a minute to go in the third quarter, when coach Bill Snyder called a timeout so that eight-year-old Kaiden Schroeder, who has been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, could enter the game.
On the ensuing play the young Schroeder, wearing the jersey number 44, the number of his favorite K-State player, linebacker Ryan Mueller, took a handoff from QB Waters and turned it into a 30-yard touchdown run. As Schroeder crossed the goal line, the K-State crowd immediately rose to its feat and gave the young Wildcat fan a thunderous ovation.
Waters ended the afternoon with a stat line of 26-out-of-38 passing for 227 yards. Curry Sexton, a senior wide receiver, led all receivers with eight catches for the Purple squad for 88 yards. The Wildcats top returning receiver, Tyler Lockett, did not play in the game because he is nursing what is described as a minor injury.
Sophomore running back Charles Jones was the game’s leading ground-gainer, picking up 73 yards for the Purple on 20 carries. Jarvis Leverett Jr. ran for 69 yards for the White team on 14 carries.
It may have only been a spring scrimmage, with five months still remaining before the start of the 2014 season, but Snyder was not all that pleased with what we observed on a warm spring afternoon in Manhattan, Kan. “I don’t think we were the kind of football team that I wanted to see today,” said the K-State head coach of 23 years. “There were some good things, some bad things, but the White team, I thought, collectively played better than the Purple team did.
“The offense has not been disciplined during the course of the spring,” Snyder added in speaking to reporters after the game. “Penalties are the biggest thing. We have had some turnover issues, and we turned over the ball today again when we has an opportunity to go in and score. If you are excited about beating yourself, then you better be excited about losing, because that is what is going to happen.”