May 26, 2024

Kansas State rallies to knock off South Dakota

Manhattan, Kan. (–Sometimes, a win is a win. It doesn’t matter how pretty it looks. The Kansas State Wildcats can say that, as the Wildcats rallied for 15 fourth quarter points to defeat the South Dakota Coyotes 27-14 in front of 50,063 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

South Dakota would score the first points of the game, off a K-State fumble deep in Wildcat territory. Mason Lorber hit a 27-yard field goal with 8:18 left in the first quarter to give the Coyotes an early 3-0 lead. The Wildcats would come back down the field and tie the game up a three, with a 24-yard field goal by Blake Lynch with 4:16 left in the first quarter. It only took less than two minutes for the Coyotes to regain the lead. Quarterback Austin Simmons would rush it in from two yards out to give USD a 12-10 lead with 2:23 left in the first period.

Kansas State would drill three field goals in the second quarter to give them their first lead of the night. He would hit a 22, a 38 and a 44-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 12-10 lead with 2:15 left before halftime. Just when it looked K-State was going to take control of the game, South Dakota snatched it away in a short amount of time. The Coyotes would take advantage of a pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Wildcats, and retake the lead 46 seconds after losing the lead. A seven-yard pass from Austin Simmons to Dakarai Allen gave South Dakota a 17-12 lead with 1:29 left in the second quarter. Twenty seconds later, the Coyotes would strike again. Linebacker Alex Gray intercepted an Alex Delton Pass, and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to give South Dakota a 24-12 lead at the break.

Both teams were scoreless in the third quarter. Just like in years past, it would be special teams that would give Kansas State a spark to not only liven up the team, but liven up the crowd. Isaiah Zuber would catch the line drive punt by the Coyotes, and return it 85 yards for a touchdown to pull the Cats to within 24-19. On the next Wildcat drive, it would be Zuber who would strike again. On third and five from the USD 10, Skylar Thompson hit Zuber for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 25-24 lead. He was about nine-and-a-half yards deep in the end zone when he caught the pass, and drug his feet inbounds while his momentum was working out. Alex Barnes dove over the goal line for the two-point conversion to give the Wildcats a 27-24 lead.

After forcing a punt, Kansas State got the ball and marched it down the field again in an attempt to run out the clock. With 46 seconds left, the Wildcats committed their fourth turnover of the game on a fumble, as South Dakota recovered at their own 16 yard line. The Coyotes would move down the field, getting it to the Kansas State 29 yard line. They would be moved back to the 34 after a false start, and an incomplete pass. With four seconds left, South Dakota sent the field goal unit out in an effort to send the game to overtime. Mason Lorber, who had barely missed a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter, missed a 51-yard field goal that fell way short, and the Wildcats survived the upset scare.

As planned, Kansas State used two quarterbacks. Skylar Thompson went 8-14 for 61 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Alex Delton was 5-14 for 91 yards with a pick. Alex Barnes led the rushing attack with 103 yards on 21 carries, while Delton added 78 yards on 12 carries. Isaiah Zuber had five catches for 68 yards with a touchdown. K-State finished with 408 yards of offense.

Austin Simmons was 24-56 passing for 257 yards with a touchdown pass and a rushing score. Kai Henry had 58 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Levi Falck caught 11 passes for 140 yards. South Dakota finished with 334 yards of offense.

Penalties and turnover hurt the Wildcats. They had four turnovers, two of them fumbles, and committed 13 penalties for 129, while South Dakota had only five penalties for 35 yards.

Kansas State is 1-0 on the year, and will host No. 18 Mississippi State Saturday at 11 am. South Dakota is 0-1 and hosts Northern Colorado Saturday at 2 pm.

Head Coach Bill Snyder

Quarterback Alex Delton

Quarterback Skylar Thompson

Running Back Alex Barnes

Wide Receiver Dalton Schoen

Wide Receiver Isaiah Zuber

Tackle Dalton Risner

Defensive Tackle Trey Dishon

Defensive End Reggie Walker

Kicker Blake Lynch