Football identifies mistakes against Stanford, looks forward to SIU

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The K-State special team's unit lines up to block a punt in the 24-7 season-opening win over the Stanford Cardinal. (Archive photo by Elizabeth Proctor | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman reflected on the team’s 24-7 win over Stanford, looking ahead to this week’s match-up against an experienced Southern Illinois team during his mid-week press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Klieman came out of the gate praising his team for their neutral-site win over a Power 5 opponent, while also noting specific failures.

“I thought our guys came out and played really hard and physical,” Klieman said during the press conference. “Some areas that we need to clean up, some penalties that hurt us a little bit, some things on defense with some of our techniques … some first game things that I thought maybe would happen.”

One major mistake? Quarterback Skylar Thompson threw an interception in the end zone to end the first drive of the game on a low note. Thompson said the interception was on an audible he made.

“It was a play that I checked [into]. I saw something that I liked, and they played a little bit differently in the game than what I saw on film going into the game,” Thompson said. “I was playing aggressive, and I should have come outside and thrown my slant to Malik [Knowles] underneath.”

Looking ahead to Southern Illinois, Klieman pointed out his history as an FCS coach and the Missouri Valley’s history of giving Big 12 teams a scare. Klieman was the defensive coordinator for a North Dakota State team that beat K-State in Manhattan to start the 2015 season.

“I wish you guys had the appreciation for the eight years I spent at NDSU of how good the football really is [in the Missouri Valley],” Klieman said. “Iowa State knows how good Northern Iowa is year in and year out. … It’s not a fluke to beat a Power 5 team. Those are good football teams.”

Thompson said the same thing, listing the Missouri Valley’s successes this past week against Power 5 programs.

“Go look at the scores from last week — everybody was competitive,” Thompson said. “South Dakota State beat Colorado State, Montana won, Missouri State lost by seven to Oklahoma State, UNI lost by six to Iowa State. It’s a competitive conference.”

He added that SIU is “a team full of Briley Moores.” Moore was a tight end who transferred into Manhattan from Northern Iowa and had a strong final season this past year.

Thompson and Klieman also pointed out that the Salukis have 18 sixth-year seniors.

“We’re focused in on that. They’re a good team,” Thompson said. “We just gotta prepare this week like we did last week.”

The Wildcats kick off against Southern Illinois at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, playing in front of a full crowd in Manhattan for the first time since 2019.

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Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, an alumnus from Olathe, Kansas. I graduated in spring 2022 with a Masters in Mass Communication, and I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. I covered K-State sports for the Collegian for four years.