SE: Wildcats Win Three-Overtime Thriller

Please click here to view K-StateHD.TV's highlights from yesterday's Wildcat victory!
September 20, 2015
By Kelly McHugh-Stewart
And exhale.
Kansas State’s 39-33 triple overtime victory yesterday over Louisiana Tech was a thriller, to say the least.
A back-and-forth game featuring three exciting overtimes and gritty performances from both the Wildcat offense and defense, K-State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) had its fans at the edge of their seats all afternoon.
“I will say I’m proud of them,” Bill Snyder said during his postgame press conference. “This group of young guys has not been in that situation before, and through heck and high water, they managed to carve their way through it. I’m not sure exactly how, but they did, and at least we’re 3-0.”
Although it wasn’t the prettiest of football games for the Wildcats, K-State never backed down and showed grit through a game that lasted nearly four hours. 
“I have three emotions: I’m extremely excited, I’m extremely tired and I’m extremely hungry,” laughed junior linebacker Will Davis after the game. “It was a long, hard-fought game. They were a super talented team, we knew they were and we can’t give enough credit to those guys, but I’m super excited. This was a big win for us tonight; it gives us a lot of confidence going forward knowing that we can go down the stretch, fight and win.”
Senior Kody Cook grabbed the Wildcats’ game-winning touchdown in the third overtime, lifting K-State to the win. The touchdown came by way of a 31-yard dart from K-State quarterback Joe Hubener – who finished 15-of-26 for 195 yards and three touchdowns.  
“It’s exciting, that’s the only word I can think of to describe it,” said Cook about his game-winning touchdown. “When you play football, you want that opportunity to go make that play. That’s what we talk about in our receiving room all the time – make a play, go make it happen, and that’s what (we did).”
It was Cook’s second touchdown of the afternoon as he also scored K-State’s first touchdown of the day – an incredible one-handed catch – to tie the game at 13 in the third quarter. Overall, Cook led the team with 73 receiving yards on only four catches, including a 31-yarder. 
“It was a great team win,” added Cook. “The team came together in the locker room at halftime and we said, ‘This is not us, let’s pick it up and let’s go.’ And we did. It was a team win. Everybody played a little part to get us through, people stepped up and made big plays.”
A few of K-State’s younger players stepped up big in yesterday’s win as running back Justin Silmon shined on offense and sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee stepped up his game once again on the defensive side.
Silmon led the team in rushing yards with 114 yards, K-State’s first 100-yard performance by a running back since 2013. Silmon was responsible for stringing together a third-quarter, game-tying touchdown drive for the Wildcats where he rushed five times for 58 yards.
“I think as an offense that was our best drive,” said Silmon. “The O-line was opening up holes every play. I had a lot of holes to run through, so it wasn’t just me. I just ran to open grass.”
Lee flew around and finished the game with a team-leading 12 tackles and two sacks. His final sack came in the game’s second overtime period and provided extra momentum for the K-State defense. 
“I’ve never been in a game like this and it’s exciting. As a kid, these are the types of games you want to be in,” said Lee. “But then when you get to this point, you know you have to get a stop. Now, whenever we get into hard moments, whenever we get down, we know we’ve been in that position before and we know we can fight back when we’re down because we just did.”
With K-State All-America kicker Matthew McCrane sidelined, it was up to Jack Cantele to take over the role. Serving as the primary place kicker for the first time in more than a year, Cantele went a perfect 4-for-4 in field goals, including a 44-yarder that came in a must-make situation in the game’s second overtime.
“The last one he hit, the longest one he hit, for him to line up and have the mental toughness and discipline to hit the ball, that speaks highly of him as a person and an individual,” said Snyder. “There was some pressure on him today, but he hit them all well. (He showed) lot of poise, a lot of mental toughness.”
Yesterday’s Wildcat victory was a complete team win – when the offense wasn’t producing, the defense stepped up and visa versa. It was a win that provided K-State added confidence as, after a bye next weekend, the Wildcats open their Big 12 schedule on Saturday, Oct. 3, with a trip to Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12). 
For stats, photos, game notes, quotes and more from yesterday’s game, please click here
Also see:
For the first time since 2011, K-State lost consecutive non-conference matches as the Wildcats dropped a five-set decision to Arkansas (25-19, 20-25, 21-25, 25-23, 11-15) on Saturday in D.J. Sokol Arena at the Creighton Classic.
K-State (8-3), which lost to No. 11 Wisconsin in four sets on Friday, was unable to overcome the defense of Arkansas (9-2) that entered the weekend 10th in the country in opponent hitting percentage. The Wildcats were out-hit by the Razorbacks, .239-.164, as Arkansas tallied 15 team blocks and 95 digs.
To continue reading about K-State volleyball, please click here.

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