Cats flex defensive muscle in 23-7 win

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State's defense dominated for the second straight game and forced three turnovers, and the Wildcats' offense found its groove late in a 23-7 victory over Marshall on Saturday.


The Wildcats (3-0) have not yielded an offensive touchdown since the fourth quarter of their opener against Division I-AA Illinois State. Marshall (1-2) scored its only TD on James Johnson's 17-yard return of a blocked punt.


Kansas State outgained the Thundering Herd 355 yards to 142, but didn't mount a sustained TD drive until late in the fourth quarter.


Thomas Clayton, who had 152 yards and two scores in last year's victory over the Herd, scored a touchdown on his first carry Saturday but never really got untracked until he ran for 34 yards on the game's last possession. He finished with 76 yards on 14 carries.


And while Dylan Meier was 19-of-35 for 256 yards passing, including a 44-yard TD throw to Jermaine Moreira with about 4 minutes left in the game, he also overthrew several open receivers and threw one interception.


Jeff Snodgrass, who was 3-for-6 on field goal attempts in Kansas State's first two games, didn't miss in three tries against the Thundering Herd. He connected from 24 yards in the closing seconds of the first half to break a 7-all tie after Marcus Watts' leaping interception at midfield, and added field goals of 22 and 48 yards in the third quarter to make it 16-7.


Marshall's Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for 152 yards in last week's 54-31 victory over Division I-AA Hofstra, was held to 55 yards on nine attempts Saturday. And quarterback Bernard Morris, who ran for 151 yards in that game, was sacked four times and lost 8 yards on 10 carries.


A blocked punt led to Kansas State's first touchdown. Antwon Moore stuffed Ian O'Connor's attempt on Marshall's opening drive, and John McCardle recovered at the Herd 28. Two plays later, Clayton stretched in from 3 yards out to give Kansas State a 7-0 lead.


But on the Wildcats' first possession of the second quarter, Philip Gamble blocked Tim Reyer's punt and Johnson ran it in for a 7-all tie.


Kansas State's victory was the first by the home team in the three-game series, which dates to 2003. Marshall won 27-20 that year, when Kansas State was ranked No. 6, and the Wildcats escaped with a 21-19 win last year in Huntington, W.Va.