The Charlotte 49ers presented no challenge whatsoever to their hosts today as the Kansas State Wildcats rolled to an easy 55-7 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
The game was effectively over before halftime, as K-State led 38-7. The 49ers had done almost nothing on offense, their only scoring drive the result of a 66-yard return by Aaron McAllister on a kickoff which was short to begin with. (It was the only flaw on kick coverage the entire game.) With a 19-yard field, Hassan Kluge was able to hurdle Kendall Adams to get into the end zone.
Of course, that was about the only bad thing to happen to Adams on the day. The Wildcat safety scored on a 30-yard interception return, and later on a 46-yard fumble recovery; he should probably snag Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors as a result.
The other three Wildcat touchdowns in the first half all came on the ground, as Jesse Ertz, Alex Barnes, and Winston Dimel all rumbled across the goal line. After the half, things slowed down as they are wont to do under Bill Snyder when the Cats have a big lead; Matt McCrane added the second of his two field goals, and both Dalvin Warmack and Mike McCoy found the end zone to extend the lead. One other big second-half play was an interception of Charlotte backup quarterback Brooks Barden by nickel Cre Moore.
Ertz was again efficient, going 16-21 for 178 yards. He threw no touchdown passes, obviously; he also threw no interceptions. On the ground, Ertz had net 76 yards on 13 carries. Barnes broke 100 yards, but not officially due to a 3-yard loss on one carry. Officially, he ended the game with 99 yards on 16 carries. Dimel had 29 yards on 4 carries, 11 of them on his TD rumble. Warmack picked up 43 yards in relief, McCoy 33.
Both in yardage and receptions, Isaiah Zuber was the leading pass catcher for the Wildcats, hauling in 7 balls for 73 yards. Dalton Schoen once again made his presence felt, catching 4 for 61, including the longest reception of the day at 29 yards. Dominique Heath made his season debut, grabbing 3 balls for 24 yards.
K-State racked up a total of 493 yards, 303 on the ground. Charlotte was held to 168, rushing for 110.
What did we learn?
1) Not much.
It’s really hard to glean anything from a game like this, because the opponent is so overmatched that it’s just not a viable exercise.
2) But... the second-string linebackers actually seem to be better than the starters.
I’m not trying to criticize Trent Tanking and Jayd Kirby here; they’re both good ballplayers. But the speed and pursuit displayed by their backups is visibly noticeable, and that presents Tom Hayes with a bit of an issue. The question is whether it results in any changes going forward.
3) Carlos Strickland is, in fact, alive.
Strickland made his debut by drawing a false start penalty, but he later finally caught a pass from Skylar Thompson for 11 yards.
4) So is Nick Walsh!
Yes, after six quarters of football, K-State finally had to punt. We’re happy for Nick, because nobody likes to not play football.
5) Once again, there were unexplained absences.
Nobody expected to see Justin Silmon this week, but Byron Pringle and Duke Shelley were both MIA. The former didn’t matter at all, good or bad; the latter allowed A.J. Parker the opportunity to start and play most of the game, and he made the most of it. He had three tackles, one for a loss, and broke up two passes; one of those breakups was really nice, too.
Issues? Injuries? Snyder playing games? We’ll have to wait for post-game comments for answers there.
Celebrate, and watch some 2:30 football. We’ll be back at 5ish with an evening open thread for you, too.