Three Thoughts: Kansas State 55, Stephen F. Austin 16

The Wichita Eagle

It’s been nearly 24 hours since Kansas State wrapped up its 55-16 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

Here are three lingering thoughts on the game:

1. K-State’s running back committee may grow to three before it shrinks to a featured rusher.

DeMarcus Robinson rushed for 49 yards and caught four passes for 47 yards in his first career start. The senior looked good in his senior debut, with the exception of a blown block that led to a sack. Charles Jones rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries while taking snaps in the wildcat formation. He also caught a pass for 17 yards. The sophomore averaged an impressive 8.02 yards every time he touched the ball.

Solid efforts from both backs, considering many thought they would struggle to replace John Hubert. But that’s not where the running-back rotation ends. When a reporter asked K-State coach Bill Snyder about the game’s top two rushers, Snyder asked why Judah Jones wasn’t mentioned in the question.

"How about Judah Jones?" Snyder said. "Judah made some people miss him, right? We need to stop being stubborn and make sure that he gets the opportunity to do that."

Judah Jones, a hybrid receiver/runner, rushed for 24 yards on two carries in the fourth quarter.

Expect K-State to primarily rotate Robinson and Charles Jones against Iowa State, but don’t be surprised if Judah Jones gets a carry or two. For now, K-State is closer to a three-man committee than a solo back.

"The (running backs) ran well and ran hard. I liked that," Snyder said. "We didn’t get a multitude of big plays but we were gaining good yardage."

2. Tyler Lockett should see his usual workload next week.

Bill Snyder didn’t say much about Lockett spending most of Saturday’s game on the sidelines, and Lockett called it "coaching decision." So there is no official word on why Lockett called it a day after catching a touchdown pass and blocking on a touchdown run in the first half. But K-State insiders say Lockett was limited for precautionary reasons after sustaining a minor injury in practice.

"It is nothing to be concerned about," said one source.

Lockett entered the game early on for plays in the red zone, but once K-State took command the coaching staff decided to rest him. They also asked Morgan Burns and Curry Sexton to return kicks and punts in Lockett’s place.

Lockett said he expected to play more, but respected the decision. He said he was 100 percent healthy, and he expects to play all four quarters against Iowa State. He stayed upbeat throughout the game.

"Being able to score the first touchdown (was good)," Lockett said. "Anything you can do to help your team win, that is what I try to do. Jake saw a check. We had a certain play called and Jake called (a check) and we were on the same page. I think that helped bring a spark to the team and we were able to see it carry on.

"… Sitting out, I was able to work on other skills as far as encouraging people. You got to see people like Kody Cook and Judah Jones and Deante Burton and stuff like that. We are going to need players like that, especially as we go down the road. So I think this game was able to build their confidence a lot to push us into this next game."

3. K-State’s defense will spend the next week working on quarterback scrambles.

The Wildcats were mostly strong against the run, allowing 69 yards. But when they did give up big plays, they were almost always quarterback scrambles up the middle. Zach Conque had a 32-yard run, Joe Minden scored on an 18-yard scramble and running back Gus Johnson scored on a 30-yarder up the gut.

K-State’s linebackers and defensive backs weren’t watching for the runs, and the Wildcats’ defensive line surrendered too much space.

Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson rushed for 58 yards on 15 attempts against North Dakota State. So the Wildcats will see more of it next week.

And Snyder knows it.

"We have to learn how to play," Snyder said. "When the quarterback goes back to throw it -- in the junior American terminology I am using -- and he decides he can’t throw it and he is going to run it, we have to be able to make tackles instead of letting him get 25 yards down the field and in the end zone.

"There isn’t any carryover from one season to the next, but it is about plays. People got scrambles against us last year. We gradually got a grasp of it. We are going to see it this coming week with Sam Richardson. He can pull it down and he can bring it out. His eyes are going to light up when he sees the tape tonight."

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.