Kansas State University

Wildcat report: Kansas State 31, Iowa State 26

Iowa State wide receiver Carson Epps, left, makes a catch over Kansas State defensive back DJ Reed during the second half Saturday.
Iowa State wide receiver Carson Epps, left, makes a catch over Kansas State defensive back DJ Reed during the second half Saturday. Associated Press

First Quarter

The key: Chase Johnston committed a false start at the one-yard line, which pushed K-State back 10 yards and led to a field goal.

Second quarter

The key: Jesse Ertz found Deante Burton in the end zone with a perfectly placed back-shoulder throw that gave K-State a 10-3.

Third Quarter

The key: K-State scored 14 points in the third quarter after failing to score a touchdown in the third quarter of its first four Big 12 games.

Fourth Quarter

The key: K-State gained nine yards of offense.

Player of the game

Junior QB Jesse Ertz led all rushers with 106 yards on nine carries and threw for 151 yards and a touchdown. He looked sharp throwing to Deante Burton and didn’t lose a turnover.

Grades

Offense: B. As good as K-State ran the ball, it could have gained more than 247 yards on the ground. Justin Silmon, Alex Barnes and Ertz all averaged more than six yards per run, but the all saw few carries than Charles Jones, who managed 37 yards on 12 attempts.

Defense: C. Give the Wildcats credit for stopping fourth-down conversions, but they give up too many yards otherwise. They continue to be one of the Big 12’s worst defense against the pass and allowed 339 passing yards Saturday.

Special teams: D. Holding penalties hurt K-State on a pair of punt returns and Iowa State converted a surprise onside kick in the third quarter.

Coaching: C. K-State hasn’t played a complete game against a conference opponent this season. That’s on the coaches to fix.

Reason to hope

The Wildcats are playing up to expectations at 5-3. They should play in their seventh-straight bowl this season. With a strong finish, it could be a good one.

Reason to mope

Other than a home game against Kansas, none of K-State’s final four games appear easy. The Wildcats are unlikely to be favored against Oklahoma State, Baylor or TCU.

Next up

K-State gets Oklahoma State next week. The Cowboys cruised past undefeated West Virginia 37-20 on Saturday. This will be the Wildcats’ most difficult home game.

Notes

Disappearing act — Justin Silmon appeared on his way to a breakout game in the first half, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown on nine carries before halftime. But he oddly didn’t play in the second half.

Why? That remains uncertain.

Snyder said Silmon was dealing with a minor injury issue that won’t impact his playing time moving forward, but that was news to Silmon.

“No, I was straight,” Silmon said when asked if he was hurt. “We just have a lot of backs who can really run and ran hard today. They got in there today and made plays and we got the win.”

Alex Barnes and Charles Jones split carries in the second half with Silmon on the bench. Barnes rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Jones rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries.

“It isn’t really tough,” Silmon said. “They are my brothers. I want to see everybody get theirs. I am supportive of all my teammates. I want to see them all succeed.”

On the mend — Ertz threw the ball with noticeably more zip against Iowa State than he did against Texas, completing 18 of 28 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. He even overthrew a few receivers deep.

His right arm seems to be near full strength after injuring it against Oklahoma two weeks ago.

“My arm is fine,” Ertz said.

Inactive — Dalvin Warmack missed the game with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since the first half of a 24-21 victory over Texas.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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