No. 22 K-State pounds Missouri State with late TDs
Originally published September 1, 2012 at 9:30 p.m., updated September 1, 2012 at 9:49 p.m.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, John Hubert ran 95 yards for a fourth-quarter score and No. 22 Kansas State pulled away late to beat Missouri State 51-9 Saturday night.
Hubert finished with 152 yards rushing, Braden Wilson and Daniel Sams added touchdown runs, and Tramaine Thompson returned a punt 89 yards for another score as the Wildcats (1-0) tuned up for next week's showdown with Miami with an impressive second-half scoring binge.
The game was tied at 9 early in the third quarter before Kansas State piled up 42 straight points against the team picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The late surge allowed a sellout crowd of 50,007 to relax, assured that Kansas State wouldn't need more late-game antics in an opener against a middling opponent.
Last year, the Wildcats needed a long touchdown pass from Klein in the waning minutes to beat Eastern Kentucky, another program from the Football Championship Subdivision.
Missouri transfer Ashton Glaser was 22 of 44 for 257 yards for the Bears (0-1), who won just two games last season and had been going through some turmoil — special teams coach Bob Montgomery resigned just 10 days ago so to pursue a business opportunity.
It was the 20th consecutive season-opening win for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who returned to the sideline four years ago after a brief retirement to rescue a program that had fallen back on hard times. The Wildcats won 10 games last season and reached the Cotton Bowl.
Expectations are much higher this season — the Wildcats will no longer sneak up on anybody — and that showed as Missouri State gave everything it had most of the night.
The Bears had a healthy advantage in total offense by the end of the third quarter, but were done in by a couple mistakes that kept points off the board.
Wide receiver Julian Burton fumbled just short of the goal line to waste a touchdown chance in the first quarter, and a dropped pass midway through the fourth wiped out another likely score.
The Wildcats certainly didn't give the Hurricanes, who beat Boston College earlier in the day, any helpful video to prepare for next week's matchup in Manhattan.
They hardly blitzed on defense and ran a vanilla offense, and that was part of the reason the game was close into the second half. After carrying 317 times last season, Klein didn't take off on a designed run until midway through the second quarter, and finished with just 54 yards rushing.
It was Klein's legs that helped set up Kansas State's first touchdown, though — an 18-yard pass to Thompson with 7:06 left in the third quarter. And it was a 17-yard draw by Klein that set up Wilson's four-yard touchdown run a few minutes later to make it 23-9.
The Wildcats quickly got the ball back and Hubert scooted free for a 95-yard touchdown, the second-longest in school history. Gerald Hackney went 96 yards against Kansas on Nov. 2, 1948.
Klein added a short touchdown pass to Chris Harper before giving way to Sams, the freshman backup, and he scooted 46 yards for another touchdown. Thompson capped the scoring with his dynamic punt return in the closing minutes to make the score appear much more lopsided.
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