Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Column: Takeaways from the Redhawks blowout loss to Kansas State

Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Photo by Hunter Caldwell

The Redhawks were in no way expected to upset the reigning Big 12 champions, but in the words of Coach Tuke, “we maybe should have made them try a little harder.”

SEMO football took on the #16th ranked Kansas State Wildcats Saturday, September 6, to kickoff a season that's filled with high expectations for the Redhawks.

The Wildcats set the tone early, with a nine play 67 yard drive that ended with a 33 yard touchdown pass from QB Will Howard. Although Kansas State got off to a hot start, the Redhawk defense would halt some of their momentum with an interception from junior defensive back Antonio Taylor.

Unfortunately, the SEMO offense was unable to cash in on the turnover, following the next drive with a three play -5 yard three-and-out that would push them out of field goal range.

More of those same struggles would continue throughout the night with each drive ending in either a turnover on downs or a punt. In total, the Redhawks would go on to punt seven out of their nine drives, with the other two drives ending in a turnover on downs.

The biggest killers to the Redhawks success on offense was poor offensive line play, and the inability to get the run game started.

In total, the reigning OVC Offensive player of the year Geno Hess, put up -4 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Although quarterback Paxton DeLaurent was able to put up a clean stat line going 24/36 with 213 yards in the air, he was still forced to run for his life on nearly every play that wasn't a screen pass or a quick hitter across the middle.

When you can’t run the ball, and your quarterback doesn't have time to allow plays to develop, you will almost never win games.

SEMO’s efforts didn't get any better on the defensive side of the ball ethier. The Redhawks D-Line was dominated by the Wildcats run blocking, allowing over 200 yards on the ground, but you can’t necessarily blame them. Kansas State had two potential NFL draft prospects starting on their O-line Saturday night, KT Leveston and Sports Illustrated projected first round pick, Cooper Beebe.

It would have been nice to see more out of the Redhawks defensive backs, although they were able to get a turnover early, Kansas State was still able to put up 360 yards through the air.

Although there were elements out of their control that were bound to determine the fate of the game such as going up against potential NFL draft prospects, it was the things that were in our control that allowed the game to be a blow out rather than a competitive football game.

Although this all may sound like a complete disaster of a game, there were some notable bright spots such as wide receiver Ryan Flournoy who put up an impressive 96 receiving yards. Paxton DeLaurent’s performance shouldn’t be ignored, to put up a productive stat line against a dominant pass rush, while also going up against two potential NFL Draft picks in linebacker Daniel Green, and defensive end Khalid Duke. His performance gets you excited for what kind of year he may put together against the OVC.

The Redhawks will get their chance to pass down a dominant performance to Lindenwood in their home opener at Houck Field on Sep. 9th at 6 p.m.