Kansas State defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 34-17 on a beautiful day in Manhappiness, Kansas. The Wildcats roared out of the gate early, with a Russ Yeast interception of West Virginia Quarterback Jarret Doege, setting up a crushing series of running plays, capped off by a 2 yard Joe Ervin touchdown run. Kansas State claimed the lead with 10:50 remaining in the 1st quarter and never gave it up.
The second touchdown of the game came later in the first quarter after a solid defensive series forced West Virginia to punt near their own goal line. Bill Snyder called down to the sidelines, requested a block with a scoop and score, and Coach Klieman and the boys had no choice but to abide by his wishes. Redshirt freshman receiver Ty Bowman blocked the punt and fellow freshman Marvin “The Martian” Martin snatched the ball from midair and advanced it into the end zone. I’m told Bill nodded in approval. (Note: the majority of this paragraph only occurred in my head...probably.)
The defense was stout in the first half, allowing just two field goal opportunities (1 of which West Virginia missed). Daniel Green (after avoiding yet another bogus targeting call), Russ Yeast, and Reggie Stubblefield were all over the field and the Mountaineer offensive line relied on the generosity of the Big12 officials to keep their quarterback upright. Nate Matlack and King Felix are still being held on the field, 30 minutes after the end of the game.
Skylar took a nasty hit to the head in the first half, leading to a West Virginia ejection, and got pushed into the K-State bench, which was ignored by the stellar officiating crew. Thompson has to draw the most personal fouls in college football, and for the life of me I can’t figure it out. Defenders see Thompson coming, and their brain immediately switches to kill mode. I can’t imagine his smack talk game is that devastating, but maybe he’s one of those guys that can get under the opposition’s skin by being incredibly nice. I have no idea, but I would appreciate if the opposition laid off QB1 for the rest of the season. He’s had enough.
K-State took a 17-3 lead into the locker room, and added to the lead on the first drive of the 2nd half. Malik Knowles, absent in the passing game, came up huge in the kick return game, setting up the Cats with excellent field position after a 64 yard return. 8 plays later, Thompson completed a touchdown pass to Sammy Wheeler for the game winning touchdown (West Virginia didn’t know that at the time).
The Mountaineers thought they had something going, sandwiching a shanked K-State chip shot field goal with a couple touchdowns to tighten the score to 24-17. Undeterred, the offense put together an 8 play, 63 yard touchdown drive featuring a crucial 35 yard reception by Sammy Wheeler on 4th and 8. Deuce Vaughn managed to punch it into the end zone on the next play to seal the victory.
After taking some lumps, the defense finished the game strong. King Felix forced yet another fumble, recovered by the defense, that led to an additional 3 Wildcat points. A Cody Fletcher interception on the final West Virginia drive of the game was the cherry on the sundae.
Deuce led the way today, putting up 121 yards and a touchdown on 25 attempts. Phillip Brooks hauled in 5 receptions for 62 yards, and Skylar went a respectable 14/19 for 138 yards and a touchdown and certainly didn’t have a couple passes that would have been picked by a decent middle schooler somehow drop harmlessly to the ground. Cody Fletcher led the team in tackles with 7, and threw in the last INT for fun. Nate Matlack may have been tackled more than Deuce Vaugh (this one’s for you Jon).
Next up, the soon to be ranked Kansas State Wildcats face a Baylor Bears team prime for upset after knocking off the Sooners (who are totally ready for the SEC, the Big12 is clearly holding them back by beating them in football games).
Be safe and see y’all next week after the win.