K-State Slams Aggies, 62-14

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats made a statement in their 62-14 blistering of Texas A&M on Saturday night. Bill Snyder and his team put together a complete performance dominating the Aggies in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams. It was the most points K-State has scored in a Big 12 Conference game since defeating Kansas 64-0 on November 2, 2002.

Already ahead 38-0 at the half, K-State (4-3, 2-1 Big 12) got the ball first in the second half and immediately put points on the board. Return specialist Brandon Banks returned his school-record third kickoff of the year for a touchdown to pull ahead 45-0. Then, K-State intercepted a pass and returned it inside the 10-yard line and scored on the first play to put A&M further back, 52-0.

The Wildcats gained 424 yards of total offense on the day and saw a career day from running back Daniel Thomas, as he rushed for 91 yards and scored four touchdowns - all of them coming in the first half. His four TDs were one short of tying a school record.

Texas A&M (3-3, 0-2 Big 12) could not get anything going on offense as the Wildcats swarmed to the ball on defense and forced a season-high five turnovers on the night. The Aggies gained 301 total yards, and quarterback Jerrod Johnson threw his first three interceptions of the season.

K-State's defense helped the Wildcats get on the board early in the game forcing a turnover on Texas A&M's second play from scrimmage. Jeffrey Fitzgerald stripped the ball out of Jamie McCoy's arms as the fumble was recovered by Troy Butler. The Wildcats would make quick work of the short field and score in four plays to cover the 29 yards to go ahead 7-0 on a Daniel Thomas touchdown run. It marked the third time this season the Wildcats have scored on their opening possession.

The Wildcat defense came up with another stop after allowing the Aggies to gain one first down on their second possession. A penalty on the punt return by Texas A&M and a pass interference call helped K-State push the ball downfield before a 23-yard field goal by Josh Cherry gave the Wildcats a 10-point advantage.

K-State's defense continued to pour it on against the Aggies forcing a three-and-out following the field goal. After an incomplete pass, Fitzgerald tallied a tackle for loss on a rushing attempt by the Aggies. Then, Fitzgerald struck again with a sack to put A&M's punter in the shadow of his own goal post.

A big return by Brandon Banks, paired with a face mask penalty at the end of the return, helped set up another quick strike by K-State's offense. Thomas scored his second touchdown of the day on a three-yard pitch-and-run to the right corner of the endzone on the third play of the drive, and the Wildcats went ahead 17-0 with 3:34 remaining in the first quarter.

Thomas scored his third touchdown of the day to pull further ahead, 24-0, on a nine-yard rush to the left midway through the second quarter. The 67-yard scoring drive was set up by a 45-yard completion to tight end Jeron Mastrud on the second play. The catch was Mastrud's 100th of his career to put him 10th all-time at K-State.

Just as Texas A&M began to move the ball with its first significant drive of the evening, Tysyn Hartman picked off a pass across the middle in the redzone and the first surrendered by A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson all season. Johnson had thrown 225 passes without being intercepted this season. The pick was Hartman's fourth of the year as well.

The Daniel Thomas show continued heading into the locker room at the half. With just over a minute left in the second quarter, Thomas scored on a 17-yard rush as the quarterback out of the Wildcat formation. The score gave him four touchdowns in the first half alone and gave K-State a 31-0 lead.

A fumble recovery by Joseph Kassanavoid at the 16-yard line with 15 seconds remaining put K-State in a position to put more points on the board heading into the locker room at halftime. On the ensuing play Grant Gregory found Collin Klein alone in the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 38-0 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats controlled the clock in the second half with its ground game, and the Aggies still could not stop it. Keithen Valentine scored his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard scamper to the endzone that saw him change directions twice before cutting it across the middle for the score to pull ahead 59-0.

A&M scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to cut the lead to 59-14, but it would not be enough as the Wildcats continued to milk the clock keeping the ball in bounds and gaining first downs.

K-State will be back in action for homecoming against Colorado next week. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. from Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports. It will be another Wildcat Weekend in Manhattan, with the volleyball team taking on Baylor later that afternoon in Ahearn Field House.

- k-statesports.com -