Key play: K-State’s Tyler Lockett returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7.
Key stat: North Texas had six first downs while K-State had none.
Key play: Collin Klein hit Tramaine Thompson for a 38-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 14-7 lead.
Key stat: Two K-State sacks, from defensive ends Ryan Mueller and Adam Davis, both with North Texas driving in K-State territory. They were the first two sacks of the season given up by the Mean Green offensive line.
Key play: Klein hooked up with Thompson for another touchdown – this one from 21 yards – after an official’s ruling of an incomplete pass was overturned. The score gave K-State a 21-13 lead.
Key stat: North Texas ate up eight minutes on their touchdown drive to open the second half.
Key play: John Hubert’s 6-yard touchdown run was held up on review and gave K-State a 28-13 lead.
Key stat: After struggling running the ball most of the game, K-State rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Offense: B. Tramaine Thompson’s big game overshadowed all else, and K-State had 373 yards to North Texas’ 353.
Defense: C. The Wildcats seemed shook after Arthur Brown went down with an ankle injury — even though he eventually returned.
Special teams: A+. Lockett’s kickoff return for a touchdown came at a crucial time for the Wildcats.
Coaching: C. K-State’s coaching staff, to its credit, didn’t bail on their passing game when Klein missed a few times early. But they also couldn’t figure out how to shut down North Texas’ offense for the majority of the game.
Player of the game: Thompson had a career-high five catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Reason to hope: K-State ran the table on its preseason schedule and is 3-0 headed into Big 12 play.
Reason to mope: This wasn’t the easy victory the Wildcats had hoped for — they let North Texas hang around for most of the game.
Harper for five
Senior wide receiver Chris Harper seemed to finally get on track with five catches for 78 yards, but Klein overthrew the Wichita Northwest product several times, including once in the first half where Harper broke free for what would have been a touchdown.
Snyder, however, wasn’t pleased with Harper’s effort on Klein’s interception toward the end of the first half.
“He needs to get back and be able to break that up,” Snyder said.
Lockett’s kickoff return for a touchdown was the third of his career, moving him into sole possession of second place for the Wildcats. Brandon Banks holds the record with five.… Backup quarterback Daniel Sams, who had six carries for 108 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games, came in for K-State’s final series and carried the ball four times for 19 yards.… Bill Snyder’s first win as K-State’s coach came against the Mean Green on Sept. 30, 1989, in Manhattan. The Wildcats won 20-17 on a touchdown pass from Carl Straw to Frank Hernandez as time expired to break a 30-game winless streak. “It wasn’t important because it was my first win,” Snyder said. “It was important because it was our only win that year.”
— Tony Adame