Cats Shutout Owls, 45-0

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Justin McKinney became the first Kansas State player in 70 years to run back an opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the Wildcats went on to beat Florida Atlantic 45-0 on Saturday night.

 

McKinney sprinted to his right and went 88 yards down the sideline for Kansas State's first game-opening score since Red Elder's touchdown return in a 6-6 tie at Oklahoma on Nov. 7, 1936.

 

Dylan Meier threw for 125 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (2-0), who extended their winning streak against Sun Belt teams to 10 straight games. It was the first shutout for Kansas State since a 45-0 win over Iowa State on Nov. 8, 2003.

 

After managing just 207 yards of offense in its first game, Kansas State rolled up 346 yards on the Owls (0-2). The Wildcats' defense, meanwhile, had three sacks and nine other tackles for loss, holding Florida Atlantic to 202 yards.

 

Thomas Clayton returned from a one-game disciplinary suspension, stemming from a misdemeanor battery conviction over the summer, to rush for 89 yards and one TD for Kansas State.

 

The margin could have been worse for Florida Atlantic, which has yet to score a touchdown this season. Kansas State's Jeff Snodgrass missed field-goal attempts of 22 and 49 yards before hitting a 37-yarder late in the second quarter for a 24-0 lead.

 

Snodgrass' second miss, early in the second, didn't hurt the Wildcats much. On the next snap, Bryan Baldwin intercepted Rusty Smith's pass and returned it 21 yards to set up Meier's 21-yard TD throw to Jermaine Moreira that made it 21-0.

 

Meier came out early in the fourth quarter, after throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Gonzalez for a 38-0 lead. His replacement, freshman Josh Freeman, threw an interception on his second snap and did not complete a pass in four attempts.

 

Sean Clayton, who replaced Smith as Florida Atlantic's starter this week, played the first and third quarters and had 95 yards on 8-for-14 passing. Smith was 2-for-8 for 14 yards in the second and fourth quarters.

 

The Wildcats, who didn't score on offense in their opening 24-23 win over Illinois State, broke that drought with Yamon Figurs' 38-yard reverse for a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

 

Clayton's 2-yard touchdown run put Kansas State up 31-0 in the third quarter, and Terry Petrie's 32-yard TD carry in the fourth closed out the Wildcats' scoring.

 

The game was delayed for 30 minutes by heavy rain and lightning between the first and second quarters.