Everything that could go wrong went wrong in Ames, Iowa, as the Wildcats failed to put points on the board for the first time since 2015.
“We didn’t play well enough,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “You are not going to find any silver linings in it. We need to get better and continue to improve.”
Kansas State’s offense struggled while junior quarterback Brock Purdy and Iowa State put up five touchdowns in the first half.
The Cyclones struck first. The opening possession was capped off by a 33-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Joe Scates.
The Wildcats responded with a solid drive but stalled out at the three-yard line after a failed fourth-down attempt. Iowa State extended the lead to 14-0 with a six-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Charlie Kolar.
Purdy continued to dominate and completed a third touchdown pass — a 21-yard pass to junior wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson to put some serious pressure on the Wildcats and g a 21-0 lead.
Sophomore running back Breece Hall added back-to-back touchdowns to take a 35-0 lead.
The Cyclones were able to swirl around the Wildcats in the first half with 363 yards. Iowa State would finish with 539 yards.
“I think we just gave up too many explosive plays,” Senior linebacker Cody Fletcher said. “The name of the game for Iowa State is shifts and motions to get us out of alignment and, for myself, I know they got me out of alignment a few times, and I just didn’t make the play.”
The linebacker room was thin this week because seniors Justin Hughes and Elijah Sullivan were not available.
The Wildcats were limited in several positions due to COVID-19. The lack of offense made it difficult for the defense to catch its breath.
“I was hopeful that we could be on the field more offensively because we were hurting was on defense from a numbers standpoint,” Klieman said. “We just couldn’t stay on the field on offense and on defense, we couldn’t get off the field.”
K-State could not gain any momentum after the opening drive, garnering only 74 total yards from scrimmage. Freshman running back Deuce Vaughn nearly outgunned the offense with 70 all-purpose yards in the first half, 61 of which came off of kick returns. Vaughn was the biggest offensive threat and finished the game with a total of 142 all-purpose yards but only 44 from scrimmage.
“Props to Iowa State,” Vaughn said. “They have a really good defense; they flew around all day and just made plays.”
The offensive struggles continued into the second half with 75 yards of offense, three turnovers and three punts. Junior quarterback Nick Ast went 6-10 for 44 yards in the second half.
The K-State defense had limited the red-hot Cyclones to only three points in the second half until early in the fourth quarter when freshman quarterback Hunter Dekkers scored on a 12-yard run to take the lead to 45-0.
The touchdown sealed the second-largest margin of victory in the rivalry for the Cyclones, surpassing a 48-0 victory over K-State in 1943.
The Wildcats will look to end the three-game skid in their final road game of the season against Baylor next Saturday.