Courtesy: K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State jumped out to an early advantage behind the strength of the rushing attack and the opportune defensive play of Kendall Adams and never looked back, as the No. 19 Wildcats dropped the Charlotte 49ers, 55-7, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium Saturday afternoon. The win, which saw the Wildcats nearly reach the 500-yard mark and score 55 points for the second week in a row, was K-State head coach Bill Snyder’s 204th career win, moving him to 21st all-time in NCAA career wins.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The No. 19 Wildcats (2-0) were led by a Wildcat defense that accounted for 14 points, as they were able to stifle the 49ers to just 92 total yards in the first half. The defense allowed a total of 58 passing yards in the game, and held the 49ers to 3.17 yards per play.
Offensively, K-State came out of the gates with an exuberant rushing attack, starting with back-to-back scoring drives through the ground. The 136 rushing yards in the first quarter established a tempo for the Wildcats as they were able to open up the offense later in the game, totaling 493 yards in the game. In all, five different Wildcats found the end zone on the ground including Alex Barnes, who led all players with 99 rushing yards.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The rushing trio of Barnes, Ertz and Winston Dimel led a Wildcat’s backfield that accounted for a total of 304 rushing yards in the game. Ertz’ 35-yard TD scamper in the first quarter marked the longest rush from scrimmage in the game and the longest rushing touchdown of his career. Barnes’ 99 yards in the game was the third-most in a single game for his career.
Through the air, Ertz closed the game 16-for-21 for 178 yards and tallied 13 rushes for 76 yards. Sophomore Isaiah Zuber led the charge in receiving, bringing in a career high seven catches for 73 yards. Zuber’s career high was accompanied by sophomore Dalton Schoen, who caught four passes for 61 yards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The offense wasn’t the only side of the ball that got on the scoreboard. On the second Wildcat defensive possession of the game, Adams jumped a pass and took it to the house for 30 yards. In the second quarter, Adams was able to get into the end zone a second time, this time on a 46-yard fumble recovery. Adams’ two touchdowns marked the first two of his career and the first time since 1999 (Dyshod Carter) a K-State player returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown.
Senior Cre Moore nabbed his first career interception in the fourth quarter, wrangling a tipped pass and forcing the third K-State turnover in the game. Jayd Kirby paced the Wildcat defense with six total tackles in the game and one assisted tackle for loss. K-State did not record any sacks in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS STARS OF THE GAME
Kicker Matthew McCrane added to the K-State lead going 2-for-2 in field goals of 24 and 22 yards. With McCrane’s kicks, he is now second all-time in career field goals made with 20. Punter Nick Walsh saw his first action of the season, booting two punts for 80 yards.
The kickoff unit was responsible for pinning the 49er’s deep in their own territory on several occasions, as junior Sam Sizelove led the squad, accounting for two special teams tackles.
STAT OF THE GAME
Walker’s interception and fumble returns were the first time a K-State defender returned both an interception and a fumble for a touchdown since Dyshod Carter did so against Missouri in 1999.
SEASON RECORD UPDATE
K-State: 2-0 (0-0 Big 12)
Charlotte: 0-2 (0-0 Conference USA)
Kansas State hits the road for the first time in the 2017 as they visit Vanderbilt on Sept. 16 before opening up Big 12 play against Baylor the following week. K-State’s trip to Vanderbilt marks the first meeting of these two teams since 1984, in which Vanderbilt came out victorious, 26-14. The game will be aired on ESPNU.