Key play: Brock Jensen hit Ryan Smith for the game’s first touchdown, giving North Dakota State a 7-0 lead it maintained throughout the first quarter.
Key stat: K-State gained five rushing yards on five attempts.
Key play: North Dakota State dropped what would have been a sure touchdown pass and missed a short field goal on the same drive, ensuring the half would end in a tie.
Key stat: K-State gained 14 yards on seven rushing attempts.
Key play: Jake Waters hit Tyler Lockett deep for a 56-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 14-7 quickly into the third quarter.
Key stat: After three quarters, K-State outgained North Dakota State 303 yards to 302.
Key play: Jensen scored the go-ahead touchdown with 28 seconds to play, giving North Dakota State the win.
Key stat: North Dakota State converted four third downs on its 19-play final drive.
Offense: B. The passing game was strong. Other than an ill-advised interception by Waters in the second quarter, he had a good debut. His long touchdown passes to Tramaine Thompson and Lockett will be shown on highlight reels all season. But John Hubert, and K-State’s rushing attack as a whole, was sub-par. The offensive line struggled all night.
Defense: C+. K-State didn’t surrender many big plays, but it also failed to mount a consistent pass rush. Dante Barnett had a nice game, which featured an interception. Overall, K-State allowed too much yardage over the middle.
Special teams: B. The Wildcats pinned North Dakota State deep with some good punts, but also allowed yardage on returns.
Coaching: C-. The offense started slow and the defense couldn’t stop North Dakota State on third downs in the fourth quarter. North Dakota State had a better game plan.
Player of the game
North Dakota State running back Sam Ojuri rushed for 128 yards, giving the Bison key first downs and allowing them to control the clock.
Reason to hope
North Dakota State might be the strongest opponent on K-State’s nonconference schedule. The next two should be easier.
Reason to mope
Losing to a FCS opponent, regardless of skill, is never good.
K-State will try to bounce back against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that returns many starters and will try to duplicate what North Dakota State accomplished. Game time is 5:30 p.m. next Saturday (Fox Sports 1) in Manhattan.