Manhattan, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–When you’re a underdog, the margin for error is slim. Unfortunately for No. 20 Kansas State, three turnovers and three missed field goals cost the Cats at a shot of knocking of the national runner up Auburn in a 20-14 final Thursday night in front of the fifth largest crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 53,046.
No. 5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC) capitalized early on a turnover in the first quarter, thanks to a field goal of 34 yards from Daniel Carlson. K-State had their chance to take the lead on the ensuing drive, but Tyler Lockett, who is usually sure-handed, saw the ball go off his hands in the end zone, only to be intercepted. The Tigers led 3-0 after one. Kansas State took their first and only lead in the second quarter, on DeMarcus Robinson’s three-yard run with 4:56 left before halftime to take the 7-3 lead, after Jack Cantele’s PAT. Auburn responded just before halftime, as former Garden City CC quarterback Nick Marshal hit Ricardo Louis on a 40-yard touchdown pass with about 90 seconds left before the break, and Carlson’s point after try made it 10-7 Tigers at the break. K-State had a chance to tie the game, but their second missed field goal of the game at the end of the half prevented that.
The Wildcats had another prime opportunity to take the lead or tie slip away in the third quarter. Late in the period, another missed field goal of 22 yards by Cantele went right, and Auburn led 10-7 after three periods.
Auburn converted four third down conversions on their next scoring drive, and Marshal hit Duke Williams on a nine-yard touchdown pass a minute into the final quarter to make it 17-7, following the Carlson PAT. Carlson tacked on a 25-yard field goal with 5:48 remaining to make it 20-7 Tigers. Kansas State (2-1, 1-0 Big 12) didn’t quit, as Charles Jones scores out of the “Wildcat” formation from a yard out with 3:49 remaining. Matthew McRane’s PAT pulled K-State to within 20-14. Auburn collected two first downs, including a long third-and-nine pass play to run out the clock and escape Manhattan with the victory.
Auburn outgained the Wildcats 359-285, and had a 128-40 advantage on the ground. Nick Marshal threw two touchdowns and an interception, and was 17-of-31 for 231 yards. He added 46 yards on the ground on 10 carries. Jake Waters was 24-of-40 for 245 yards, with two interceptions. Curry Sexton had 11 receptions for 121 yards, both career high’s.
Kansas State closes out their non-conference slate on Saturday, September 27 at home against the UTEP Miners.
Coach Bill Snyder
Quarteback Jake Waters
Running back DeMarcus Robinson
Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett
Center BJ Finney
Linebacker Jonathan Truman
Linebacker Dakorey Johnson
Cornerback Danzel McDaniel