May 22, 2024

Wildcats bounce back to pound UTEP

Manhattan, Kan. (–In their final non-conference game of the season, No. 25 Kansas State put together a solid effort to take down the Texas-El Paso Miners 58-28 Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. 

K-State used a short field following a blocked punt to get their first score of the game. Matthew McCrane kicked in a 25-yard field goal with 9:36 left in the opening period to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. On their third possession of the period. the Wildcats pushed their lead to 10-0 on a Jake Waters one-yard plunge with 2:01 left in the first quarter.

UTEP was unable to get anything going offensively in the first half. They were only able to get one first down, and had just 30 yards of offense. Kansas State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) used the ground game to score two of their three touchdowns in the second quarter. Charles Jones scored out of the “Wildcat” formation from three yards out with 8:52 left in the first half, and scored from nine yards out with 17 seconds remaining before the break. Tyler Lockett had his first punt return for a touchdown called back, but his second one was good, as he took the Miner punt 58 yards to paydirt with 6:27 to go in the second quarter. It was Lockett’s first career punt return for a touchdown.

Leading 31-0 going into the third period, K-State scored in succession. Needing only five plays to find the end zone, Jones scored his third rushing touchdown of the game to put the lead to 38-0, following the McCrane PAT. The Wildcats made it 45-0 with 9:48 left in the third quarter, when Waters hit tight end Zach Trujillo from 44 yards, just two minutes into the second half. Texas-El Paso (2-2) got on the board on the ensuing drive, when Jameill Showers connected on a pass to Ian Hamilton from four yards out, and Jay Mattox’s kick made it 45-7. Kansas State’s starters were on the field for one more possession late in the third quarter, when DeMarcus Robinson ran for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 52-7 after three quarters. 

UTEP scored three times in the fourth against the Wildcats backups. Aaron Jones ran it in from three yards out, on another Showers to Hamilton connection from 69 yards out, and Showers hit Eric Tomlinson from two yards out late in the game. Backup K-State quarterback Joe Huebener scored from two yards out in the final frame.

Jake Waters was 10-of-15 for 209 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Lockett had four receptions for 84 yards, and Charles Jones had 12 rushes for 80 yards and three scores. Kansas State had 451 yards of offense, with 263 through the air and 188 on the ground. The Miners, one of the top 10 leading rushing teams in the country, were held to just 59 yards on the ground, and had 201 through the air for the 260 total yards. Jameill Showers was 18-of-28 for 201 yards with four touchdown passes. Aaron Jones had 19 carries for 47 yards and Ian Hamilton had two touchdown grabs in his five receptions for 112 yards.

Kansas State will host Texas Tech Saturday night at 6, while UTEP visits Louisiana Tech for their Conference USA opener Saturday night at 6.

Head Coach Bill Snyder

Quarterback Jake Waters

Wide Receiver Curry Sexton

Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett

Left Tackle Cody Whitehair

Defensive End Ryan Mueller

Safety Dante Barnett