Five takeaways from win over Troy

An embrace between center Hayden Gillum and wide receiver Phillip Brooks after Brooks scored a touchdown. Brooks scored two touchdowns with 94 receiving yards in the 42-13 win vs. Troy. (Julia Smith | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: Changed K-State to Kansas State in the first paragraph, and shortened the caption.

Kansas State had brief moments of concern during the 42-13 win over Troy with running the football. Nevertheless, the Wildcats pulled through and still had many standout performances. 

Takeaway #1: Phillip Brooks had a day

No one may have had a better day than wide receiver Phillip Brooks. He was featured three times in the first drive for 32 yards. His success continued as he finished with 94 receiving yards on seven catches with a receiving touchdown, and it doesn’t stop there. Brooks also took a handoff for a score as well as a punt return of 29 yards. His impact was felt early and often as he led the offense on a day where the rushing game struggled.

Takeaway #2: Offensive line struggles, misses Christian Duffie

Rushing offense was not a strength for the Wildcats against the Trojans. While running backs DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward combined for over 100 yards, they averaged less than four yards per carry. This was due to left guard Cooper Beebe sliding to right tackle with Christian Duffie out for injury. Without Beebe inside, the interior push was not nearly as impactful as usual. Heading close to conference play, Duffie’s potential return would strengthen the offensive line to produce how they were expected to.

Takeaway #3: Parrish, Lee and Duke all shine for the defense

The defense starred against Troy as one-handed catches were needed to score its 13 points. On the backend, cornerbacks Will Lee and Jacob Parrish kept the backline in check, each making plays in their own right. Lee managed his first interception as a Wildcat while collecting a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and six total tackles. Opposite of him, Parrish locked down his side, collecting two pass deflections and three tackles. The duo both excelled in the pass game as well as the run game.

Defensive end Khalid Duke stood out in the pass rush game for K-State. On third downs in back-to-back drives, Duke swiftly enveloped the quarterback’s pocket, collecting two sacks. Duke now has three sacks on the year in his natural position. The loss of star defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah may not hurt so much if Duke continues his dominance.

Takeaway #4: Run defense continues to hold strong

The run defense started once again. After facing one of the best FCS runners in SEMO’s Geno Hess, Troy Trojan Kimani Vidal provided another challenge. After rushing for nearly 250 yards in Week 1, Vidal only managed 83 yards on the ground against K-State with 46 of those on one run. The competition up front has not been on the Power 5 level. Even so, this production looks quite impressive for the Wildcats. The front line looks like a potential strength for the team for the season.

Takeaway #5: Keagan Johnson finds success in debut

After missing the first game of the season, wide receiver Keagan Johnson made his K-State debut. Despite not starting — most of his time was spent in the late first half/early second half — he found production, putting up 25 yards on three catches and nearly scoring a touchdown. With Johnson, Brooks, Jadon Jackson and RJ Garcia at wide receiver and Ben Sinnott at tight end, quarterback Will Howard has plenty of options to throw to.