Kansas State bumbled its way through Snyder’s first game in three years, turning it over three times and allowing a blocked punt return for a touchdown to fritter away most of an 18-point halftime lead.
UMass also struggled for most of Kevin Morris’ debut as head coach, allowing Kansas State to score three touchdowns in the second quarter, managing 212 total yards on offense. The Minutemen pulled within four points thanks to two special teams turnovers.
Kyle Havens turned the first turnover—a muffed punt by Brandon Banks— into on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Krevis late in the third quarter. On Kansas State’s next drive, D.J. Adeoba scooped up Jeremy Horne’s blocked punt and rumbled 26 yards for a touchdown to get the Minutemen within four.
Kansas State’s defense held and its offense controlled the ball just long enough to win its 21st straight home opener—its 18th under Snyder.
Kansas State’s 69-year-old coach returned from a three-year retirement, hoping to pull off another reclamation project after the program he built unraveled under Ron Prince.
More than 300 former players returned for what was dubbed a family reunion, wearing their jerseys as they lined the Kansas State sideline before the game. In all, 50,750 fans—a home-opener record—showed up for the first act of the Bill Snyder Era II, making Bill Snyder Family Stadium look like a giant bowl of purple jelly beans.
The coach seemed right at home pacing the sideline again, though he wasn’t alone. A student spent the entire game tethered to Snyder, holding a headset transmitter that wouldn’t fit on the coach’s beltless gray slacks.
Snyder conveyed the same calming presence as before, even when his team struggled.
Coffman, after two seasons as Josh Freeman’s understudy, was sometimes shaky. The junior missed badly on several passes, fumbled on Kansas State’s first drive and threw an interception on the second after getting hit on the arm.
Coffman settled down for a bit, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run to cap a 76-yard drive early in the second quarter. Then he hit Snipes on a 40-yard touchdown pass on a short crossing route.
Coffman got one more chance in the half after Chris Carney blocked a punt at the UMass 40. He hit Banks on a 28-yard pass, then hit Snipes on a 12-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left that made it 21-3. He failed after that to build on the lead and finished 14 for 27 with 182 yards.
Havens also had an uneven debut after winning a close preseason battle with Scott Woodward, throwing for 102 yards on 10-of-34 passing.