K-State Blocks Its Way to 69-10 Win

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)Josh Freeman ran for two scores and threw for two more and Kansas State returned two blocked punts for touchdowns for the first time in school history in a 69-10 rout Saturday night of Montana State.


On their final possession, the Wildcats (2-0) merely pounded the ball up the middle with second- and third-teamers. They had a fourth-and-8 on the Montana State 17 but ran up the middle rather than kicking a field goal. Kansas State also scored on a fumble recovery while ringing up their most points since a school-record 76-0 pounding of Ball State in 2000.


Freeman, a week after accounting for five touchdowns in a 45-6 victory over North Texas, hit 16 of 21 passes for 288 yards, including two 36-yard touchdown strikes, before being lifted midway through the third quarter.


According to the Montana State media guide, the 69 points tied for the most points allowed by the Bobcats since 1950. They also gave up 69 to Florida in 1988.


The Bobcats (1-1), an FCS team, had three turnovers, 42 yards in penalties and two disastrous punting game failures while Kansas State was seizing a 31-7 lead in the first quarter.


While rolling up 481 total yards, the Wildcats averaged 7.3 yards per play.


They never punted, but on Montana State’s first punt, the ball was snapped over Eric Fisher’s head and rolled to the 1. Fisher kicked it through the Kansas State end zone, and the ensuing illegal kick penalty gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal from the 1. Freeman carried it over on the next play.


On Montana State’s second punt, the Wildcats scored their second touchdown. Adrian Stryker rushed up the middle to block the kick and Ernie Pierce recovered in the end zone.


Leading 45-7 in the third quarter, the Wildcats did it again. Courtney Herndon came up the middle to block Fisher’s punt and Chris Carney picked up the ball on the 5 and ran into the end zone untouched.


Early in the fourth quarter, Herndon plucked the ball out of the air after Demetrius Crawford fumbled, and ran 43 yards for a 55-7 lead.


The frustrated Bobcats, who opened last week with a 59-3 victory over Division II Adams State, kept Kansas State’s next scoring drive alive with a roughing-the-passer penalty. Justin Woods’ 8-yard run made it 69-7 with 9:53 to go.


A few minutes after Pierce’s touchdown, linebacker Ulla Pomele recovered Crawford’s first fumble on the Montana State 10, and Freeman made it 24-7 with a 6-yard run.


With 4 minutes to go in the wild opening quarter, Ray Cheatham intercepted Cody Kempt’s pass. Three plays later, Freeman threaded the needle perfectly on a 36-yard touchdown pass to Aubrey Quarles, who made the catch while running into the end zone despite having a defender draped all over him on an interference call.


Four minutes into the second quarter, Freeman flipped a screen pass to Brandon Banks, who cut right and sailed down the sideline for a 36-yard touchdown play. Deon Murphy’s 44-yard run on a reverse set up Logan Dold’s 1-yard TD run for a 45-7 halftime score.


Kempt threw a 2-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to Brandon Bostick and Jason Cunningham had a 41-yard field goal for the Bobcats.