The first half of K-State season’s opener hit both sides of peculiar.
On the positive end, senior corner back Morgan Burns started the game off with a bang by returning the football 100 yards on the opening kick-off to extend the Wildcat’s nation leading streak of having a kick-off return for a touchdown in 11 straight seasons.
It was the first game opening kick return for a touchdown for K-State since 2006 against Florida A&M.
However the jubilation for K-State didn’t linger as in the next offensive possession, sophomore quarterback Jesse Ertz became injured on a quarterback run play that saw him removed from the game and taken to the locker room in a cart.
With the injury to Ertz, junior back-up Joe Hubener took the reigns and struggled at times, throwing for 63 yards and rushing for 18 but stalling out on two consecutive drives in the red-zone, including a fumble on the one yard line.
However, K-State’s offense seemed to find its way in the 2nd quarter.
Redshirt freshman running back Justin Silmon came in for the largely ineffective junior Charles Jones and lit a spark, driving K-State down the field racking up 38 yards rushing.
Sophomore Glenn Gronkowski rumbled down to the two yard-line before tagging in fellow fullback and freshman Winston Dimel to knock the ball in to give K-State a 17-0 lead.
The Wildcat offense stalled out on the next offense, but once again cashed-in on special teams as senior wide receiver and special teams captain Stanton Weber forced and recovered a fumble on the punt.
Hubener wasted no time getting the ball into the end-zone finding a 24 yard pass to junior wide-out Deante Burton for a touchdown to extend their lead at the half to 24-0.
On South Dakota’s next possession, senior safety Dante Barnett went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. He led the Wildcats with five tackles at the half.
Stay tuned to kstatecollegian.com and @sportscollegian on Twitter for more K-State sports coverage for the duration of the game.