The Kansas State football team hosted the Iowa State Cyclones at home in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, where the Wildcats won in the last 10 seconds of the game, 20-19.
The Wildcats’ record for the year is now 7-5 and they are bowl eligible for the eighth consecutive year. For the second game in a row, the opposing team was picked to win over the Wildcats.
Freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for 152 yards today, with the longest pass being 25 yards. Thompson was only sacked once during the game, and he threw one touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, which won the game for the Wildcats.
Senior quarterback Kyle Kempt threw 264 yards for the Cyclones, with the longest pass being 34 yards. Kempt threw two touchdown passes and was sacked twice during the game. Kempt’s touchdown passes came out in the third and fourth quarter. One pass went over to senior Marchie Murdock for nine yards in the third quarter, while the second one went to sophomore Hakeem Butler for three yards in the fourth quarter.
Four Wildcats were able to rake in numbers on offense, with junior running back Dalvin Warmack leading the group with 42 yards. Following behind Warmack were junior running back Justin Silmon with 32 yards, sophomore running back Alex Barnes with 23 yards and Thompson with 12 yards. The Wildcats finished with a total of 109 rushing yards.
Six Cyclones brought in a total of 115 yards for rushing, with sophomore Sheldon Croney leading with 63 yards. Following Croney were junior Mike Warren with 17 yards, sophomore David Montgomery with 14 yards, Kempt with 11 yards, senior Joel Lanning with nine yards, and senior Trever Ryen with one yard.
Zuber led the pack for the Wildcats, where he received 56 yards and one touchdown. Following Zuber was junior wide receiver Dominique Heath with 23 yards, junior wide receiver Zach Reuter with 38 yards, junior fullback Winston Dimel with seven yards and one touchdown, Warmack with 24 yards and Barnes with seven yards. The Wildcats received for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior Allen Lazard led the Cyclones with 95 receiving yards, and sophomore Keonate Jones followed with 43 yards. Murdock came behind with 37 yards and one touchdown, Ryen with 36 yards, Butler with 23 yards and one touchdown, Croney with 15 yards, junior Matthew Eaton with nine yards and Montgomery with six yards. The Cyclones received for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Thompson stepped up to the quarterback position once again, entering the game with poise and passion as he led K-State to another victory. In the last minute of the game, Thompson led the team down the field showing his potential to get the job done yet again. In the last ten seconds of the game, he threw a one-yard pass to Zuber to seal a Wildcat victory.
Game. Winner. pic.twitter.com/jExIuNHnEs
— Matt Hall (@Matthew_D_Hall) November 25, 2017
During the post-game press conference, Thompson talked about the game-winning play.
“I do not remember much to be honest, because it happened so quick,” Thompson said. “It was an incredible moment. I had a good idea of what coverage they were running. Pre-snap, I was determined to go to Isaiah Zuber and they kind of jammed him up, so I came off it and scrambled, just trying to keep the play alive. I was literally just thinking about tucking and running it. As soon as I do that, I see number seven wide open and gave him a ball to catch.”
Zuber also talked about the game-winning play from his perspective.
“We just wanted it more,” Zuber said. “That is all I can say. We just knew that we had to get this drive and win the ball game. The defense got a big stop for us. We all talked right before we got onto the field that we were going to make a play.”
K-State head football coach Bill Snyder also talked about the game-winning play and what it meant to him.
“That’s one of the things we spent some time on this week,” Snyder said. “Defensively, they play a scheme. They weren’t in it on the goal line down there, but normally they play a scheme that covers well. Rush three, drop eight; [it’s] hard to find open areas. The pass rush is less, so the quarterback has a little bit more time and people have to find open areas to go.
“But that’s what Isaiah did,” Snyder continued. “It wasn’t what we had been working on out on the field, but it helps us down there. He kept it alive, and Thompson kept it alive, and Isaiah and the rest of the receivers – [Zuber] wasn’t the only one that continued to work. We just don’t sit down and let yourself be covered.”
Barnes and Dimel were also able to get a trick play done successfully, with Barnes throwing a three-yard pass to Dimel in the fourth quarter. The reaction from the crowd was huge, as it was one of the first trick plays Wildcat fans have seen all year.
Barnes talked about the trick play in the post-game press conference.
“I honestly didn’t notice a difference,” Barnes said. “It was pretty neat. It’s always special to score a touchdown.”
During the first three quarters, I honestly did not expect that much. It was a rather slow-feeling game until the second half rolled around. When the “assistant” for K-State received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, I knew it was about to get interesting. Defensively, the Wildcats held tight when they needed to and brought the team together.
Offensively, there were huge improvements at the end of the game. Snyder said they didn’t throw the ball much in the first half so “you would have something to talk about,” but in the second half, Thompson stepped up and threw the ball more.
The last five minutes of the quarter showed a lot to Wildcat fans. It showed that Thompson still has his killer arm from the scout team, and it showed that the K-State football team can come together as one to achieve victory. The amount of pressure the offense was under in the last minute of the game was insane, but I truly think it brought the best out of the team. K-State came to play once again today, and the Wildcats showed that they are indeed bound for a bowl game.
K-State will learn its bowl designation and opponent Dec. 3. The bowls the Wildcats could go to range from the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix, the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas, the Texas Bowl in Houston, the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida, and the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
The Wildcats are rumored to be top contenders for the Liberty Bowl, the Cactus Bowl or the Heart of Dallas Bowl.