MANHATTAN — No one was happier to see Kansas State end a three-game losing streak than Tramaine Thompson.
The senior receiver celebrated the Wildcats’ 35-12 victory over West Virginia like it came with a trophy. It didn’t, of course, but the outcome was a welcome change for someone who had felt miserable — both mentally and physically — since mid September.
Unlike most of his teammates, Thompson hadn’t spent much time on the field during practices or games leading up to Saturday’s victory. He unknowingly played with mononucleosis against Texas and spent the following four weeks recovering. Not only was he disappointed with the losses, he was frustrated by his inability to contribute.
Making matters worse, team policy prevented anyone from disclosing why he was on the sidelines, leading to rumors that he was suspended for publicly questioning the way K-State coach Bill Snyder used quarterbacks following a loss to Texas.
"The thing that bothered me the most out of that whole thing was how people were really talking bad about me," Thompson said. "There were a lot of people talking bad about me, saying I was in the doghouse because of my Texas comments and things like that. Coach Snyder doesn’t let us talk about injuries so I had to sit back and take that. That sucked."
His frustrations started to fade away when he caught three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in his return. He also played in an important role on punt returns.
"It’s all good," Thompson said. "I’m back now. It feels good to help the team again."
Along with junior receiver Tyler Lockett, who had also missed the majority of K-State’s past two games with a hamstring injury, Thompson helped keep West Virginia’s defense off balance.
That made life easy for K-State’s quarterbacks. Daniel Sams and Jake Waters combined to complete 18 of 21 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns.
No one could be sure how much Thompson would be able to help in his first game back. Thompson said he wasn’t allowed to run or lift while he was sick, and doctors told him he couldn’t play for four weeks. He was cleared to begin practicing a few days before the West Virginia game, and he had to fight to work his way back in the lineup.
"I couldn’t do anything. I was out of shape," Thompson said. "I had to hurry up to get back in shape this last week."
But he put in the effort and delivered when it mattered.
"Even when he was off by himself this week he was running every route full speed like he had somebody covering him," Sams said. "You could tell he wanted to come out and leave a mark on this game. He did."
Snyder was also impressed.
"Our receivers did a whale of a job," Snyder said. "… They held onto the ball after some serious contact. Curry (Sexton), Tramaine and Tyler all played very well. I was extremely proud of them."
Thompson felt the strong game coming. As hard as it was for him to sit out, it was easy for him to get fired up when he returned to practice.
He should stay that way as long as he remains healthy.
"I’m happy I’m back," Thompson said. "More than anything, though, I’m just happy we got a win."
K-State basketball lands combo guard — Tre Harris, a 6-foot-5 combo guard, verbally committed to K-State while on an official visit late Saturday night.
Harris is originally from Edwardsville, Ill., but currently plays basketball at Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia. Harris was lightly recruited out of high school. He chose to attend prep school in order to improve his body and earn more scholarship offers. He ended up choosing K-State over Toledo and Delaware.
Harris is best known as a shooter. He starts at shooting guard and is skilled from three-point range.
“I can knock down some shots,” Harris said by phone. “I’m a combo guard. I can play multiple positions. Right now, I’m starting the two. That is my primary position. But I’m a basketball player. I will do whatever I can to help my team win.”