After a lackluster offensive performance in its season opener at Stanford, Kansas State wanted to prove that the Wildcats are an improved team on that side of the ball.
There are still some kinks to work out, but in large part, it was a mission accomplished.
K-State ran for 336 yards as a team and the defense helped the cause with three first-half takeaways as the Wildcats routed Florida Atlantic, 63-7, in their home opener.
It wasn’t enough to impress the coach, however, who was on the K-State sideline for his 25th opener at the stadium that bares his name.
“We played 30 minutes of good football, but the game is 60 minutes, and that’s why I’m irritated,” Bill Snyder said.
The Wildcats (1-1) set the tone early and never gave their opponent any hope of making things interesting. K-State scored on its first three possessions, including a 20-yard strike from Ertz to Dominique Heath on third down to cap the Wildcats’ first dive.
From there, the running game took over. Winston Dimel scored four times on short bursts, two of them out of the Wildcat formation. FAU turnovers gave K-State a short field on a pair of those scoring drives.
“I felt like we got the ball on the two yard line on every possession,” Dimel said. “That makes it easier and gives our offense a lot of confidence.”
K-State also gave some carries to its younger and quicker runnings backs. The results were positive. Dalvin Warmack and Alex Barnes combined for 163 yards on 16 carries.
Snyder said their explosiveness opened up the offense.
“I thought each of (our running backs) made some aggressive plays, and that’s important for us. I was proud of the way they ran the ball.”
The Wildcats led 42-0 at halftime and had a 312-76 advantage in total yards. The 63 points marked the first time for K-State reaching the 60-point mark since 2009 against Texas A&M.
Ertz finished the game 8 of 13 passing for 117 yards while adding 40 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He was pulled from the game in the third quarter, and Alex Delton and Joe Hubener finished the contest under center.
Delton scored on a nine-yard keeper in the fourth quarter for his first career touchdown.
“It was a great feeling,” Delton said. “For me to do that, finally, it felt like I was completing a task that was on my to-do list when I got here.”
K-State’s other score of the second half came on a 75-yard punt return by Heath in the third, giving the Wildcats their 41st special teams touchdown since 2005, a mark that leads the country.
Snyder lamented his team’s discipline. K-State committed 13 penalties for 131 yards.
“That’s why I’m angry right now,” Snyder said. “It comes down to discipline. If we have that kind of discipline against the Big 12, we’re going to be hanging our heads at the end of the day.”
The Wildcats face Missouri State in Manhattan next week to finish non-conference play.