Purple Bests White, 66-13, at Sold-Out Sporting Park
Purple Bests White, 66-13, at Sold-Out Sporting Park
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The annual Purple/White Spring Game saw Purple pour on 66 points, including 49 unanswered, en route to a 66-13 victory over White at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Saturday. Squaring off in front of 17,080 faithful at the home of MLS' Sporting KC, the Purple and White squads combined for four defensive/special teams scores, including an electrifying 75-yard punt return by freshman wideout Dominique Heath in the fourth quarter.
Heath starred for Purple in the return game, totaling 181 yards on seven returns (6 punts/1 kickoff), while the Purple rushing attack controlled the pace of play with 207 yards on 37 attempts -- good for 5.6 yards-per-carry. Halfbacks Charles Jones and Winston Dimel both notched two scores on the day and Justin Silmon led all rushers with 65 yards on nine carries.
Despite the lopsided score, the contest between the two squads remained close at 17-13 with only six minutes remaining in the first half. White could not handle the scoring onslaught by Purple though, ceding 49 unanswered points from that point on, including four-straight touchdown drives to end the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED | First Half
· The day's action got off to a quick start with freshman Dominique Heath taking the opening kickoff 59 yards to the Purple 36-yard line. White was unable to capitalize on the strong field position though, as the offense turned the ball over on downs -- halfback Justin Silmon was stuffed by Jordan Willis and Matt Seiwert on 4th-and-2 from the 28.
· A pick-six only two plays later gave White the early 7-0 advantage. Junior defensive back Jesse Mack was the man responsible, stepping in front of an errant Jesse Ertz throw for a 35-yard interception return. The turnover would be the lone giveaway by Purple on the afternoon.
· Purple would respond with a defensive touchdown of their own, recovering a muffed punt by Andre Davis for seven. Picking up one first down on the drive, Ertz and Stanton Weber weren't able to connect on the ensuing 3rd-and-4, leading to the eventual 40-yard punt by Nick Walsh. Davis attempted to return from his own five, but saw the ball bounce off his chest and into the end zone, where sophomore wideout Taylor Hilgers pounced on the ball to tie the contest up.
· A quick three-and-out by White led to another scoring opportunity for Purple. Highlighted by a 46-yard hook-up between Ertz and Deante Burton on the fifth play of the drive, Purple tacked on three points via a 21-yard field goal by Matthew McCrane to make it 10-7 in their favor.
· Donnie Starks picked off Joe Hubener on the following drive, returning the ball 12 yards to the White 30-yard line. White's second turnover of the afternoon proved costly, as halfback Charles Jones cashed in from four yards out five plays later to give Purple a 17-7 advantage.
· Trading stalled drives to start the second, a Purple three-and-out ended with a 47-yard punt return by Davis for White. Tacking on three thanks to the long return, White's points came via Jack Cantele's 28-yard field goal to make the score 17-10 Purple.
· McCrane would add on another three for White following another Purple three-and-out. Quarterback Alex Delton fueled the scoring drive, notching 45 yards on three runs, including a 39-yard scamper to put White on Purple's 28-yard line.
· Purple responded with a 9-play, 80-yard scoring drive to cushion their lead to the eventual halftime score of 24-13. Covering ground in 4:16, halfbacks Dimel and Silmon powered Purple via the ground game, combining for 58 yards on seven attempts, including a 3-yard score by Dimel to end the drive with 1:45 remaining in the half.
HOW IT HAPPENED | Second Half
· As is tradition, the score flipped to 24-13 in White's favor to open the second half.
· Purple continued to pour on the points in the third, outscoring White 14-0 in the quarter and pushing their lead to the official score of 38-13.
· First, Jones picked up his second touchdown of the afternoon on a 2-yard plunge to make the score 31-13 with 7:18 remaining in the third. The drive saw Purple total 49 yards on six plays, including a 31-yard connection between Ertz and Burton to put Purple on the White 6-yard line.
· After a Davis Clark sack on Delton forced a White three-and-out, Purple tacked on another seven with a 1-yard touchdown run by Dalvin Warmack. Making it 21 unanswered for Purple, their 25-point lead came result of covering 38 yards in a brisk two minutes.
· White would fare no better in the final 15 of the game, as Purple opened the fourth quarter by capping off a 7-play, 58-yard drive with another rushing touchdown. Picking up his second score of the day, Dimel was true from five yards out to make the score 45-13.
· Purple added another seven to their lead not even a minute later, as Elijah Lee picked off Zach Davidson, returning White's second turnover of the day 18 yards for the score, 52-13.
· Picking up their first set of fresh downs in the fourth, White's drive ended in yet another Purple touchdown. This time Heath burned the White special teams unit with a 75-yard punt return for a score to extend the Purple advantage to 59-13 with 9:35 remaining in the contest.
· Purple would go on to tack on one more score for the final tally of 66-13. Starting on their own 42-yard line, Ertz marched Purple 58 yards down the field in 3:48, ending the drive with a 22-yard completion to Davis for a score.
Led by its 24th-year head coach in Snyder, K-State begins the 2015 season on Saturday, September 5, as the Wildcats host South Dakota at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats return 45 letterwinners, including 16 starters, from last year's team that went 9-4 and earned a bowl berth for a fifth-straight season. The remaining six home games feature five opponents that advanced to bowl games in 2014, including a pair of top-10 teams in TCU (No. 3/3) and Baylor (No. 7/8).
A limited number of single-game tickets for the 2015 season go on sale online only at www.k-statesports.com/tickets on June 22, while fans can purchase by calling the ticket office at 1-800-221-CATS beginning June 24.