September 15, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
From senior Robert Rose's first career touchdown to senior Kip Daily's first interception, last night's 37-7 win over the University of Massachusetts was a night of firsts for quite a few on the K-State football roster.
Only three minutes into the game, Daily picked off Minutemen quarterback A.J. Doyle and raced to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown. It was the first big play of the game for K-State, and Daily's first-ever interception and, of course, touchdown.
"It felt good; I was just thinking, 'Thank you God,'" Daily said postgame about his first interception, "Coach just called a good play and I saw the quarterback pull up so I went for the ball."
Then, with about only four minutes left in the third quarter, Daily's already solid performance got even better and he recorded his second interception of the game that eventually led to a field goal by place kicker Jack Cantele giving K-State a 37-7 advantage.
"I think any time you can score on defense and score on special teams it creates the balance that you need to have with your program and it's a great asset," head coach Bill Snyder said. "It's good to have interceptions for touchdowns. Any time we can get them, we'll take them; it was a nice play on Kip's part - he was in the right spot at the right time."
Also recording touchdowns for the first time last night were both Rose and redshirt freshman fullback Glenn Gronkowski.
Rose's first career touchdown came with 3:45 left in the first half after he rushed for a 26-yard touchdown.
Before the 2013 season, Rose had a total of 44 career rushing yards. Today - three games into the season - he has a total of 56 yards in 2013 and tallied 39 in last night's win.
"It was definitely exhilarating," Rose laughed about his first touchdown. "After I scored I was kind of shaking, some of the guys were kind of laughing at me, but it was great for me to finally get over that hump scoring. Hopefully getting over that hump I'll be able to get a little more."
Snyder said he was happy to see Rose get the touchdown, and was pleased to see Rose's good decision on the field pay off.
"He's got awfully quick feet - you can't find him," Snyder said about 5-foot-4 Rose, "He's got good change of direction, the quickness and by the time you really identify where he is sometimes it's a little too late. He made a good decision on he one he got in the end zone."
During K-State's first drive of the third quarter, Gronkowski found himself in perfect position to receive a throw from quarterback Jake Waters. Gronkowski connected with Waters' pass and went on to score a 50-yard touchdown, putting the Wildcats up 34-7.
"It was pretty good," Gronkowski said about his touchdown. "I got a lot of stuff from everyone for not getting in on that one yard touchdown last week, and now they have nothing to say this week."
Gronkowski comes from a family with strong football roots as his older brothers Dan, Rob and Chris have all played (or still play) in the NFL, and he said when he checked his phone after the game it was full of messages from, perhaps, his biggest fans.
"I can rub it in to my brothers' face - I don't think they've done anything like that," Gronkowski laughed about the touchdown. "I've already talked to them, though, they've all texted me already because they were watching it on the internet. They we watching tonight, and they were just saying, 'congratulations, and 'it's about time,' even though it's only been three games."
Also to mention:
Senior running back John Hubert recorded his first 100-plus rushing yard game this season with 120 total yards last night. He needs only 39 more yards this season to pass Isaac Jackson (1971-73) for eighth place in K-State history in career rushing yards, and now has 2,144-total career yards.
Sophomore place kicker Jack Cantele hit a career-long 42-yard field goal and junior defensive end Laton Dowling recorded his first tackle.