K-State scores early, holds on late to beat Iowa State

Kansas State running back Justin Silmon (32) celebrates with teammate Dayton Valentine, right, in front of Iowa State linebacker Reggan Northrup (9), after scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Kansas State running back Justin Silmon (32) celebrates with teammate Dayton Valentine, right, in front of Iowa State linebacker Reggan Northrup (9), after scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz celebrated his return to Iowa with one of the most complete games of his young career.

Ertz rushed for a career-high 106 yards on just nine carries and Kansas State held off host Iowa State 31-26 on Saturday for its third win in four games.

Ertz, a sophomore who broke the Iowa prep record for career touchdowns at tiny Mediapolis High, added 151 yards passing with a TD for the Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 Big 12). They beat the Cyclones (1-7, 0-5) for the ninth year in a row.

“Obviously it had a little more meaning to it. But overall, it’s one game at a time and we’re just trying to put together some wins and some streaks and get some momentum,” Ertz said.

Iowa State pulled to within 17-10 early in the third quarter, but K-State answered with two long scoring drives that put it ahead by 21.

But Kansas State nearly let the Cyclones steal it late — and coach Bill Snyder wasn’t too pleased about it.

Deshaunte Jones had a 5-yard TD catch with 51 seconds left for Iowa State. But the Cyclones failed to execute the ensuing onside kick, touching the ball before it went 10 yards.

Iowa State outscored the Wildcats 16-0 in the fourth.

“I’m not saying it’s so doggone easy. But the only way you can become successful is start, finish and be consistent in between. We’re not doing that,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said.

Alex Barnes, Winston Dimel and Justin Silmon all had short rushing TDs for the Wildcats, who ran for 247 yards.

Backup Jacob Park had 301 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Cyclones. But he missed David Montgomery on a wide-open pass on fourth-and-1 at the K-State 1 with seven minutes left.

“I’m going to take this on me and our staff. There’s some things that happened that we just can’t allow to happen eight to nine weeks into the season,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Kansas State: The Wildcats are now just a win shy of bowl eligibility. With a home date against woeful Kansas looming, that seems imminent. What kind of bowl Kansas State gets invited to remains up in the air, with tough games against Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU remaining.

Iowa State: The Cyclones had some promising moments on offense in the second half, outgaining K-State 493-398. But Kansas State converted eight of 12 third downs and scored on all five of its trips to the red zone. The Cyclones have let up at least 27 points in all five of their league games.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

Down 17-3, Iowa State opened the second half by recovering an onside kick — and seven plays later Park found Deshaunte Jones for a 24-yard TD pass to make it 17-10. But K-State answered with a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that sucked the life out Jack Trice Stadium.

PARK BLOWS IT

Park got the Cyclones to K-State’s 1-yard line with a chance to pull his team within seven. But the Wildcats stuffed Iowa State on three straight running plays, and Park overthrew Montgomery on a rollout that left both of them yards away from the nearest defender. Park knew the significance of his mistake immediately, falling to his knees with his head in his hands.

THE NUMBERS

Bill Snyder won his 198th game, placing him 25th all-time in career FBS victories. … Iowa State recorded its first safety since 2006 in the fourth quarter. … The Wildcats are 23-4 against Iowa State since 1990. … Iowa State’s Allen Lazard caught eight passes for 134 yards. He has now had at least one reception in 31 straight games, a school record.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Oklahoma State on Nov. 5. The Cowboys toppled previously-unbeaten West Virginia 37-20 on Saturday.

Iowa State has Oklahoma coming in on Thursday. The Cyclones haven’t beaten the Sooners in Ames since 1963.

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