AMES, Iowa — For a second straight week, Kansas State made securing a victory tougher than it needed to be. But for a second straight week, the Wildcats will take it.
A strong rushing attack and timely defensive stands led the way for K-State in its first road win of the season, 31-26 over Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium.
Jesse Ertz rushed for a career-high 106 yards on just nine caries, while running backs Justin Silmon and Alex Barnes combined for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts.
The Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) jumped to a 17-3 halftime lead on a Silmon score and a six-yard connection from Ertz to Deante Burton. Everything was working for the K-State offense in the early going against an ISU team searching for its first FBS win under head coach Matt Campbell.
It was a career day for Burton, who caught five passes for 72 yards, including a pair of critical receptions on third down. Dominique Heath added nine catches, the most by any Wildcat receiver this season, for 46 yards.
Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) reached into the bag of tricks to open the second half and recovered an onside kick. The Cyclones turned it into a touchdown to make it 17-10.
But K-State’s offense, which was ineffective for much of the second half, did put one crucial drive together in the third quarter. Alex Barnes paved the way for a short Winston Dimel score to keep the Cyclones at arm’s length.
The Wildcat defense recorded two critical fourth-down stops in the second half, including one inside their own five yard line early in the fourth quarter. ISU managed to score two touchdowns in the final period, resulting in a last-minute onside kick attempt, but it was recovered before going ten yards.
K-State has now won nine straight games in the “Farmageddon” rivalry, and eight of the victories came by a touchdown or less. Wildcat coach Bill Snyder, who won his 198th career game, has 21 wins over the Cyclones. The Wildcats host Oklahoma State next week.