K-State Wins But....

K-State Wins But....

A win is a win is a win, but it sure wasn't pretty Saturday night when K-State opened the year with a 21-17 victory over UMass. A steady defense prevailed over an offense and special teams that played "sporadic" football.

Bill Snyder was almost apologetic in Kansas State's play Saturday night and frequently used the word "sporadic."

The only time he used the word "pride" was when talking about the defense that limited UMass to just 212 yards … only 3.0 yards per snap … in the season-opening 21-17 victory over UMass.

After opening a 21-3 first-half lead, K-State found itself clinging to a 21-17 margin in the fourth quarter after a pair of botched plays in the area of special teams. First, Brandon Banks dropped a punt that allowed the visitors to score on an 18-yard drive, and then a Ryan Doerr punt was blocked and returned 26 yards for a score in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

That's when the defense took over.

"Our defense will always be ready to play," said senior DE Eric Childs. "We want the game to come down to us. We want to be on the field to win the game."

On UMass' remaining two series, K-State allowed just 17 yards on four plays, and 19 yards on four plays.

Key defensive stops were turned in by John Houlik, Joshua Moore, Billy McClellan and Alex Hrebec.

"We played good football," said Moore. "It was time to step up and we met the challenge with some big stops. Our defense wants to win games."

No one played bigger than safety Tysyn Hartman, who scored his first two career interceptions, plus shared the lead in tackles with six.

"The defensive line was putting on a good pass rush and everyone did their job in the secondary," Hartman said in what led to his quality game. "There are obvious areas where we need to improve, but it was a pretty good game." But, like Hartman said, with areas for improvement.

"We are tackling better and we are running to the ball better, but we can always get better," said Childs, who had just one tackle.

"We are a family and we need to go out together every day to make each other better, and we will. We need to come into our meetings and focus on assignments and being in the right place at the right time."

GAME NOTES:

• On offense, K-State put up 21 points in the second quarter, but netted a measly 126 yards in a scoreless second half.

"In the second quarter we began to put things together and proved that we may have a capacity for movement with the football," Snyder said. "But then it all fell apart in the second half. We were a bad, bad offensive football team in second half. It's no more complex than that."

"We have a lot of work to do," said QB Carson Coffman, who was 14-of-27 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. "I was kind of embarrassed with our performance, especially in the second half. We were a little flat the second half). We have a lot of work to do."

Snyder called Coffman's play "sporadic … at times he played reasonably well, and other times he didn't. He didn't throw the ball as well as he has been throwing the ball, for whatever reason, but he showed he has some toughness and managed the team reasonably well."

• DE Kadero Terrell missed the game with a broken bone in his left leg suffered in Tuesday's practice. He's expected to be sidelined until mid-October.

• Nineteen different Wildcats played in their first ever games as K-Staters.

Jeron Mastrud caught three passes for 44 yards, pushing his career yardage total to 1.030. He's only the fourth KSU tight end in history to catch passes for 1,000 yards. The others were Henry Childs (1,365, 1971-73), Russ Campbell (1,150, 1988-91) and John Liebe (1,149, 1976-77, 79-80).

• * KSU rushed for 225 yards, highest for a single game since rushing for 262 against Missouri in 2006.

• * K-State has scored in 153 straight games. That streak is 10th longest in the nation.

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