The Wildcats took care of business in a big way in their second home game of the season, getting Chris Klieman his first win – and first shutout – over an FBS squad as heach coach in Manhattan.
From the start, Kansas State physically overpowered the Falcons from the MAC, racing out to a 38-0 halftime lead over Bowling Green. The Wildcats didn’t punt the entire first half, and wouldn’t end up doing so until Skylar Thompson was pulled in the third quarter.
This one was over before halftime, but garbage time probably officially came after the Wildcats scored in four plays on their first possession of the third quarter to go up 45-0. Most of the starters were pulled at that point, and Kansas State was able to hold on to the shutout and finish off a practically flawless 52-0 performance.
Key Plays Of The Game
5:57 1st [KSU 2nd & 5 at 50] – This 50 yard TD scamper by Jordon Brown gave the Wildcats their first touchdown of the day, giving them a 10-0 lead, but it also established the type of football Kansas State would play all day. The power run play to the right was blocked perfectly, and it left Brown with only one tackle to break before he saw nothing but open grass.
0:40 [KSU Kickoff at KSU 35] – This was some smart special teams gamesmanship on the part of Klieman. Just after scoring to go up 17-0, the Wildcats sky-kicked the ensuing kickoff, landing the ball right at the Bowling Green 25-yard line. The return team for the Falcons was caught off guard by having the kickoff land in one of the gaps in their coverage, and Kansas State was able to recover. A few plays later, the Wildcats went up 24-0.
4:02 2nd [KSU 4th & 3 at BGSU 34] – Up 31-0, Kansas State’s drive into Bowling Green territory looked like it was about to fail when the Wildcats faced one of the few fourth downs they had all day. With the Falcons decidedly committed to stopping anything close to the line scrimmage, Skylar Thompson found wideout Malik Knowles deep down the sideline for his first touchdown pass of the day.
Key Stats Of The Game
140 Total Yards Allowed – The Wildcats were able to completely shut down the Bowling Green offensive attack, with the Falcons unable to gain more than 80 yards either through the air or on the ground. They averaged just under 3.2 yards per play, a number that is not going to lend itself to many first downs.
4 Penalties – Overall, this was a mostly clean game, and the Wildcats rarely hurt themselves with penalties. The four flags caused them to lose only 35 yards, something that the coaching staff can probably live with.
9.9 Yards Per Pass Attempt- Kansas State didn’t air the ball out a ton in this game, but when they did, it paid off big for them. Skylar Thompson completed 77 percent of his passes on the day, connecting with his receivers any time the Wildcats needed key yardage.
333 Yards Rushing – After two weeks, I think it’s safe to say that the Wildcats are a “run first” type of team. Bowling Green was absolutely out-manned defensively, and there were lanes opened up by sound blocking all day long. Starter James Gilbert needed only eight carries to have his second straight 100-yard game rushing.
Players Of The Game
Skylar Thompson – 10/13, 151 yards, 2 TD
Malik Knowles – 8 catches, 99 yards, 2TD
Denzel Goolsby – 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL
This Is A Well-Coached Team – Through two blowouts against less talented competition, the Wildcats have looked sharp. While there’s some youth on this team, for the most part they execute on offense and defense like veterans. They’ll have to keep that up against tougher opponents, but so far they look well-developed.
Malik Knowles Looks Like A Feature Wide Receiver – Knowles is a name to pay attention to for the Wildcats. He had a rough home opener, but he showed that he’s capable of being the premier wideout on this Kansas State football team. The redshirt freshman caught the team’s only two touchdown passes against Bowling Green, and he was one yard shy of his first 100 yard game receiving.
How Good Is The Passing Game – Partially because of the way the Wildcats play football, and partly because of the nature of their previous two opponents, Kansas State hasn’t been in a lot of situations where they have to throw the ball. Even when they were in situations where they needed a lot of yards, Thompson was able to pick up yards with his legs. Can this team be successful if it needs to throw the ball around?
What’s The Ceiling For The Wildcats – We will find out a better to that question after Kansas State’s road trip to take on Mississippi State, but what should the expectations be for a team picked to finish ninth in the conference? They may not beat themselves, but does this team have enough to consistently beat Power Five talent?