The Kansas State Wildcats traveled to Lawrence in one of the most anticipated matchups against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. The Wildcats silenced the doubters and became bowl eligible with a dominating 38-10 victory highlighted by a three-touchdown day by junior quarterback Skylar Thompson.
The Wildcats opened the scoring on their first drive of the game capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Thompson to give K-State a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Jayhawks responded with an eight-play, 45-yard drive but settled for a 34-yard field goal by junior kicker Liam Jones.
K-State finished the first quarter leading 7-3 inside the red zone and opened the second quarter with a nine-yard option rush by senior running back Harry Trotter to extend the lead to 14-3.
Junior defensive back Jahron McPherson caught an interception on a pass from senior quarterback Carter Stanley but could not capitalize on it.
Stanley threw his second interception of the day to senior linebacker Da’Quan Patton at the KU 46 yard line with 1:20 remaining in the first half.
Junior kicker Blake Lynch kicked a field goal as time expired in the first half to give K-State a 17-3 lead over Kansas.
K-State had seven penalties for 78 yards in the first half alone, eclipsing the 74 total yards by the Kansas offense.
The Wildcats finished the half with 244 yards, 176 of which came on the ground. Thompson led K-State with 91 yards and a touchdown.
K-State’s defense only allowed three points and 74 total yards of offense in the first half. The Wildcats held sophomore running back Pooka Williams to 34 yards in the first half.
The Wildcats opened the second half with a nine-play, 75 yards for Thompson’s second touchdown of the day with a 12-yard run.
Kansas went for it on fourth down at their own 26-yard line but did not get it giving K-State the ball just outside the red zone. K-State added to their lead with a four-yard touchdown run by Thompson to take a dominating 30-3 lead over the Jayhawks.
The Wildcats added to the lead with a 14-yard rush by senior running back Tyler Burns to go up 38-3.
The Jayhawks would score within the final minute of the game on a one-yard run by senior quarterback Manny Miles. The Wildcats kneeled it out after a failed onside kick attempt to clinch bowl eligibility with a 38-10 win over Kansas. The eleventh straight win over the Jayhawks.
K-State finished the game with 471 yards of total offense as Thompson rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns.
“I kind of expected that just because James [Gilbert] and Jordan [Brown] and the possibility they wouldn’t play,” Thomspon said after the game. “I go into every week trying to execute my role, whatever that may be. Whatever the coaches call, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. They called my number a little more to run today, and rightfully so, I told them to keep it rolling baby.”
Thompson has rushed for seven touchdowns in the last two games.
The ground game as a whole was dominant, and the Wildcats gained 342 total yards on the ground without two of the primary running backs senior James Gilbert and senior Jordan Brown.
“We always say the next man up, and we talk a lot about the depth we have at running back and so pleased with Harry [Trotter], Tyler [Burns], Joe [Ervin] and obviously we used Skylar [Thompson] quite a bit more,” head coach Chris Klieman said.
After the seven penalties in the first half, K-State finished the game with 11 penalties for 113 yards.
“We have to clean it up, we probably could have had a couple of more scores, but they were taken back because of the holding,” Klieman said.
The K-State defense held the Jayhawks to 241 yards in the game. Senior defensive end Trey Dishon collected two of the four sacks and was extremely proud of the way the defense played today.
“I need to go back and watch film if I’m being honest,” Trey Dishon said. “I can’t believe we played that well after seeing the numbers and seeing everything it was just, you know, we had a little bit of drive here and there but stopping on a field goal in the beginning and holding them out all the way until the fourth quarter was huge. I’m very proud about the defense, but I do need to go watch film.”
The defense also held Williams to 61 total yards. The running back entered the game second in the Big 12 in rushing averaging 100.6 yards per game.
Klieman talked about how limiting him was key to their success.
“It was our best performance we tackled really well, we surrounded the cup on Pooka (Williams) because he is a phenomenal football player. We just didn’t give him a whole lot of daylight and lanes,” Klieman said.
K-State will play Texas on the road next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.