Rushing Attack Keys K-State to 63-7 Win




1-2 (0-0 C-USA)

1-1 (0-0 Big 12)

J. Driskel (QB): 14-24, 125yds, 0TD, 2INT
K. Whyte (RB): 10car, 54yds 0TD
K. Woods (WR): 7rec 82yds, 0TD

J. Ertz (QB): 8-13, 117yds, 1TD
D. Warmack (RB): 8car, 90yds 0TD
I. Harris (WR): 6rec 46yds, 0TD

TEAM 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
FAU 0 0 0 7 7
K-State 21 21 7 14 63

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State dominated defensively and ran with conviction in its return to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, defeating Florida Atlantic, 63-7, in front of 50,871 fans on Saturday afternoon. The win moved head coach Bill Snyder to 23-2 (.920) in his home openers.

The Wildcats (1-1) flexed their muscles early, putting 21 points on the board in the first quarter. Three FAU turnovers turned into 21 points for K-State in the first half as the home team built a 42-0 advantage at the half. A special teams’ touchdown propelled the Wildcats after the break as the team eclipsed the 60-point mark for the first time since scoring 62 against Texas A&M on Oct. 17, 2009.  

K-State rushed for 336 yards and seven touchdowns on 54 attempts Saturday, the most the Wildcats have gained on the ground since going for 327 yards against Baylor in 2013. K-State added 159 yards through the air, including the game’s opening touchdown, to combine for 495 yards of total offense, as the Wildcats won the time of possession battle by just over 10 minutes.

In his second start of the season, junior Jesse Ertz completed 8-of-13 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Ertz rushed nine times for 40 yards, including for his first career touchdown from 12-yards out in the second quarter.

The ground game was a group effort for the Wildcats, with seven players carrying the ball on five or more occasions. Sophomore Dalvin Warmack led the charge, rushing for 90 yards on eight carries, while redshirt freshman Alex Barnes gained 73 yards on eight carries. K-State’s starting back, senior Charles Jones, carried it eight times for 40 yards.

K-State’s scoring was largely the product of sophomore fullback Winston Dimel, who bouldered into the endzone four times on his five carries. Backup quarterbacks Alex Delton and Joe Hubener added touchdown runs of their own.

Freshman Isaiah Harris led all K-State receivers with six grabs for 46 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Dominique Heath caught the game’s opening score in the first quarter, a 20-yarder from Ertz, as he hauled in three catches for 40 yards on the day. Sophomore junior college transfer Byron Pringle brought down the game’s longest throw of 36 yards, his only catch of the day.

Defensively, K-State’s front seven limited FAU to just 82 yards on 37 rushes and forced two fumbles. The Wildcats’ bundled up running backs Greg Howell, who ran for FAU’s touchdown in addition to 34 yards, and Kerrith Whyte, who led the Owl rushing attack with 54 yards on 10 carries.

The Wildcats recorded six tackles for loss and sacked FAU quarterback Jason Driskel four times. The secondary surrendered just 129 passing yards and added two interceptions of their own, as sophomore safety Kendall Adams and freshman cornerback D.J. Reed collected their first career interceptions.

Sophomore cornerback Duke Shelley paced K-State players with seven tackles, all of which were solo. Senior linebacker Charmeachealle Moore recorded four tackles on the day, including a sack, and added a forced fumble and a fumble recovery – his second fumble recovery of the season.

Special team duties were limited to extra points, with Matthew McCrane booting through all nine attempts, while the punting unit was used only five times. The game’s highlight came through Heath’s 75-yard punt return touchdown in the third quarter, boosting K-State’s number of non-offensive touchdown’s to 102, the nation’s most since 1999.

To begin the game, like usual, the Wildcats opted to kick away to the Owls, but the defense earned a stop three minutes later. Ertz and company then mounted a 15-play, 89-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Heath. The first offensive drive would be the longest of the game, lasting 7:37.

Just over two minutes later, the Wildcats found the end zone again, as a Dimel 7-yard touchdown run capped a five-play, 72-yard drive to go up 14-0. Adams’ interception on the ensuing Owl drive set up another Dimel touchdown – this time from 10 yards – just before the end of the first quarter to make it 21-0 in favor of the home team.

Seconds later, a forced fumble set up K-State with a short field. Ertz scampered to his left for a 12-yard touchdown run to begin the second quarter, pushing the lead to 28-0. Yet another fumble forced by the Wildcats’ imposing defensive front put K-State at the one-yard line midway through the second quarter. Dimel punched it home, again, to make it 35-0, resulting in three consecutive scoring drives of exactly one play.

The Wildcats made it 42-0, 26 seconds before the half as Dimel scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the game from three yards out.  The 42 first half points were the most by a K-State team since dropping 45 on Montana State in the first half on September 7, 2008.

Much of the third quarter was a field position battle as substitutions rolled in, but the Wildcats did capitalize on special teams. Heath received a punt from his own 25-yard line and bolted away from Owl defenders for K-State’s first special teams score of the year.

FAU wasn’t to be held scoreless, though. The Owls converted on a fourth down late in the third quarter and then completed a pass deep into Wildcat territory. Howell fell into the end zone from one-yard out with 14:57 left to begin the fourth quarter to make the score 49-7.

K-State added two scores as the game wound down. Backup quarterbacks Delton and Hubener ran in touchdowns from nine-yards and six-yards, respectively, to make it 63-7.  

The Wildcats continue their non-conference slate next Saturday, September 24, against Missouri State (2-0) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:10 p.m. CT and can be seen on K-State HDTV.