Another week, another convincing victory for Chris Klieman and the Kansas State football team.
The Wildcats followed up their impressive opening win with an even more lopsided blowout and defeated Bowling Green 52-0 on Saturday in front of 46,075 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
This was a mismatch from the start.
K-State scored touchdowns on five of its first six drives while Bowling Green struggled to pick up first downs and punted throughout the first half. The Wildcats infamously beat the Falcons 58-0 here back in 1997 in a game that went down as one of the most dominant of the Snyder era, and, for a while, it looked like this score might surpass that.
The sun-soaked afternoon was perhaps best summed up in two moments.
The first occurred in the second quarter when the Wildcats were penalized for holding and delay of game on back-to-back plays. They were suddenly looking at first-and-25 and their odds of a first down, let alone a touchdown, seemed slim. But they moved the chains with two a pair of strong running plays and then Harry Trotter found the end zone.
Later, K-State returner Phillip Brooks bobbled a punt near the start of the third quarter and the Falcons had excellent field position at the K-State 22. But the Wildcats got the ball back on the next play when Daniel Green forced a fumble and Khalid Duke recovered the loose ball.
You could fill up a hard drive with all the strong individual performances and eye-popping stats K-State players delivered on this sun-soaked afternoon. But here are the highlights:
Skylar Thompson once again looked sharp and completed 10 of 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He played so well that K-State coaches pulled him from the game in the third quarter.
Malik Knowles bounced back from his Week 1 struggles and made one monster catch after another. He looked like a lead receiver while hauling in five catches for 99 yards and two scores, including a 34-yarder in the second quarter.
K-State’s committee of running backs once again formed an impressive team. James Gilbert led the way with 103 yards and two touchdowns, but Jordon Brown had a 50-yard touchdown scamper and Trotter also scored.
On defense, the Wildcats limited the Falcons to 82 yards, three first downs and zero points in the first half. They finished the game with 140 yards.
Daniel Green, Denzel Goolsby, Wyatt Hubert and Jordan Mittie all had tackles for loss.
Backup quarterbacks John Holcombe and Nick Ast both saw significant action, while a whopping 11 true freshmen got on the field.
For the first time in school history, K-State amassed 500 yards of offense in each of its first two games. The Wildcats finished with 521.
It wasn’t all good news for the Wildcats, as defensive end Wyatt Hubert and defensive back Walter Neil left the game because of injuries of unknown severity. Klieman said he didn’t have an update for Hubert after the game, but said Neil would have returned had the game been close.
Still, add it all up and it’s hard for K-State fans to not feel optimistic about their chances moving forward, even as the schedule toughens starting in Week 3 with a road game against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs dominated the Wildcats in Manhattan last year and began the season with a victory over Louisiana-Lafayette and followed that up with a 38-15 win over Southern Mississippi. Next week’s game will be a battle of undefeated teams. Mississippi State should be favored at home.
Klieman will face his first true test as K-State football coach next week after acing his first two.