Cyclone offense proves too much, Wildcats fall 33-20 to Iowa State

The Kansas State Wildcats fell to the Iowa State Cyclones 33-20 on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.(Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State Wildcats fell to the Iowa State Cyclones 33-20 after a bye week. K-State has now lost three straight Big 12 games, falling to 3-3 on the year.

Skylar Thompson led the K-State offense into the game, finishing with 206 passing yards on 15-23 completed passes for two touchdowns and one interception.

Running back Deuce Vaughn finished with 18 carries for 87 yards, and Joe Ervin carried the ball eight times for 60 yards as well. Vaughn finished with an average of 4.8 yards-per-carry, while Ervin finished with an impressive 7.5 yards-per-carry.

“We have had chances to win all of the last three games,” Vaughn said to K-State Athletics. “Either we didn’t make a play or the ball didn’t bounce our way. It’s one of those things that you kind of have to take on the chin, and we feel like we have a really good football team. We feel like we’ve played arguably the best three teams and the best three defenses in the Big 12, and you see the great teams that they are week to week. As for the next few games, we are going to have to go 1-0 every single day.”

Receiver Malik Knowles found the end zone for his first non-kickoff return touchdown this season, catching a pass from Thompson with just over five minutes left in the game. Knowles finished with three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on the game.

Phillip Brooks led the team in receiving yards, hauling in three passes for 54 yards — 40 of those yards coming off of a play-action pass to get K-State on the board in the first quarter.

Seven receivers caught passes from Thompson in the game, notably seeing Hutchison Community College transfer Tyrone Howell catch two passes for 27 yards — a K-State career-high — while also downing a Ty Zentner punt inside the Cyclones’ 10-yard line.

“Well, he’s improving,” head coach Chris Klieman said about Howell to K-State Athletics. “He played on some special teams and had a good open week. Like we talked about earlier in the week, he’s a new player, and it’s just taking him some time to get acclimated to the offense. I think he’s got the chance to be pretty good.”

Defensively, the Wildcats struggled to stop powerhouse Breece Hall.

Hall took the first play from scrimmage 75 yards to the house, putting Iowa State up seven just 12 seconds into the game.

Quarterback Brock Purdy finished the game completing 22-25 of his passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. His 88 percent completion rate earned him a quarterback rating of 171.1 on the day.

Freshman receiver Jaylin Noel led the Cyclones in receiving with 48 yards. The only receiving touchdown of the game went to redshirt junior receiver Sean Shaw Jr.

Super-senior Jahron McPherson led the K-State defense in tackles with seven total and five solo. Linebacker Daniel Green followed close behind with six tackles and a tackle-for-loss of his own.

“It’s tough,” Felix Anudike-Uzomah said to K-State Athletics. “We’ve just got to get off the field on third down. There were, like, two third-down conversions they had where we’ve just got to get off the field. We were just not aligned in the right spot, and that’s basically how they got the third down. We’ve got to tackle better and we’ve just got to work for that for next week.”

Anudike-Uzomah finished with five tackles and a half tackle-for-loss in the contest.

The K-State defense only had one hit on Purdy throughout the game, coming from defensive tackle Eli Huggins in the third quarter — the same third quarter where Iowa State drove for 93 yards, took ten minutes off the clock and capped the drive off with a touchdown.

Kicker Taiten Winkel struggled throughout the game, missing a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter and an extra point in the fourth.

The Wildcats look to regroup as they travel to Lubbock, Texas, next week to take on the 5-2 Texas Tech Red Raiders.