Kansas State player of the game
It’s a tough call between Jesse Ertz and D.J. Reed, as they both were exceptional, but Ertz gets the edge. The K-State senior quarterback completed 10 of 16 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns, obliterating his previous career high of 207 passing yards. This was the best he has ever looked as a passer.
Central Arkansas player of the game
Carlos Blackman. The sophomore running back rushed for 114 yards on 24 carries, occassionally making K-State defenders look silly trying to tackle him. He had much of his success out of the option, which the Wildcats couldn’t seem to stop.
Key moment of the game
D.J. Reed returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. It was a big moment for the defensive back, as he fell four yards short of reaching the end zone on a 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. It was also a big moment for the Wildcats. Central Arkansas was hanging around, trailing 24-16, but Reed’s score gave K-State enough momentum to pull ahead.
Offense: A. Give Central Arkansas credit for keeping K-State’s rushing attack in check. The Bears twice made Alex Barnes lose yardage, something that didn’t happen a single time last season. The Wildcats could have been better on the ground, rushing for just 186 yards, but they didn’t have to be the way Ertz was throwing the ball. K-State receivers also deserve kudos for gaining big yardage after the catch.
Defense: C+. K-State was so shaky on defense, allowing 421 yards, that Bill Snyder joked he was going to hold a special midnight practice to teach his players how to defend the option. But the Wildcats improved as the game went on and only surrendered a field goal in the second half. Trent Tanking and Jayd Kirby need to improve at linebacker, but it’s worth remembering this was their first game as starters.
Special Teams: A+. D.J. Reed and Byron Pringle are going to be tough for opposing teams to figure out on kickoffs and punts. With both of them on the field, there is no kicking away from them. They combined for 218 return yards and a touchdown on Saturday. Matthew McCrane also made a 53-yard field goal.
Coaching: B+. Bill Snyder’s staff had K-State ready to go in most areas, and the Wildcats won comfortably.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett