With a couple of extra days to stew over their loss to 5th-ranked Auburn, the 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats had a good opportunity to work on things that were missing from their game and get in one last tune-up before moving back into conference play next weekend.
The Wildcat Defense carried over their solid play from the Auburn game, and the Offense kicked it into another gear as K-State hammered Texas-El Paso 58-28 before a Band Day crowd of 52,899 Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
After forcing UTEP into a three and out on their opening drive, Deante Burton blocked a Miner punt putting the Wildcats in business at their opponents 32-yard line. The drive stalled and Matthew McCrane who found out only just before game time he would be the starting kicker knocked through a 32-yard Field Goal for a 3-0 lead. The rest of the quarter featured another blocked punt, but UTEP having recovered the Football advanced it but then was allowed to keep possession after what officials called an inadvertent whistle which blew the play dead. Still UTEP was unable to move the ball and K-State would eventually gain possession at their own 49-yard line.
The Wildcats then found the end zone on a one-yard plunge by Jake Waters for a 10-0 lead after Charles Jones was denied a touchdown on the previous play when a review revealed his knee was down at the one-yard line. The Wildcats then ran their margin to 31-0 by halftime on runs of three and nine yards by Jones and a 58-yard punt return by Tyler Lockett. Lockett who would pass his Uncle Aaron Lockett and former K-State player and assistant coach Michael Smith for second on the all-time receiving yards list during the game had an earlier return called by back a holding penalty.
K-State pushed the lead to 45-0 in the first 5:12 of the third quarter on Jones’ four yard run and a 44 yard touchdown pass from Waters to Tight End Zach Trujillo. UTEP got on the scoreboard late in third quarter when Jameill Showers connected on a four-yard touchdown pass with Ian Hamilton before K-State responded on its next drive with a 40-yard run by DeMarcus Robinson to make the score 52-7. The Cats’ final touchdown of the day came on a two-yard run by backup Quarterback Joe Hubener while Showers threw for three more scores in the fourth quarter to make the score look closer than the game actually was.
The K-State Defense was stingy holding UTEP to 10 first downs, the bulk of which they gained against the reserves and the Miners managed just 260 yards of total offense for the game. UTEP boasted the nation’s second-leading rusher in Aaron Jones coming into Saturday’s game, but he gained just 47 yards on 19 carries and the Miners as a team were held to just 59 yards on the ground. After attempting 40 passes in the Auburn game last week, Waters completed 10 of 15 passes for 209 yards and the single touchdown. Charles Jones was the leading rusher for K-State with 12 carries for 76 yards and his three scores. Lockett had his best game of the season with four receptions for 84 yards. The Wildcats amassed 451 yards of total Offense and had just one turnover on the day,
Kansas State (3-1,1-0) will play its third straight game at home next week when Texas Tech visits Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Kickoff on Saturday night is set for 6 p.m.
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