By Avery Osen, Associated Press
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State totaled more than 500 offensive yards in consecutive games for the first time in school history on Saturday after dismantling Bowling Green 52-0.
The Wildcats have dominated to start the season, outscoring Nicholls and Bowling Green 111-14 combined.
“I challenged the guys this week to improve upon week one and in particular this morning to get the fight started quickly and jump on them from the start,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “I was so pleased.”
The Wildcats did just that, holding their opponent scoreless in the first half for the second straight week.
It was an offensive mismatch as Malik Knowles had 99 receiving yards and two touchdown catches and Skylar Thompson threw for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Knowles missed a few catches last week, but made up for those against the Falcons
“It was relieving, that was my main focus throughout the week to make sure that didn’t happen again,” Knowles said.
James Gilbert led the Wildcats’ ground game for the second straight game with 103 rushing yards and found the end zone twice. Jordan Brown, Harry Trotter and Joe Ervin also provided rushing touchdowns. Kansas State has scored 10 rushing touchdowns in two games.
The Wildcats played many freshmen, including Ervin and Jacardia Wright, who combined for 22 carries, 87 yards and a touchdown.
“Our plan all along was to play a bunch of freshman no matter what the score was just to see how they would react under live fire,” Klieman said. “We’ll look at the film, but I was glad to see some guys playing and we’ll see how much they play moving forward.”
The Falcons never got their offense going, totaling 140 yards with just five first downs.
Darius Wade threw for 79 yards on eight completions for Bowling Green and Davon Jones had 47 rushing yards. The Kansas State defense stifled the Falcons, whose offense was on the field for just 44 plays and a little over 17 minutes.
“He (Darius) did not play as well as we hoped,” head coach Scot Loeffler said. “The way that he was at times his rhythm and tempo were there. We need other people around him to play better.”
The Wildcats marched down the field to start the game, but only got a field goal, then scored TDs on their next five possessions.
“They did not do anything we did not prepare for,” Loeffler said. “They just did it better and more efficient.”
Kansas State was able to rest its starters for most of the second half, which could give the Wildcats fresher legs for their first road game next week at Mississippi State.
The Wildcats will look to get revenge on the Bulldogs after a 31-10 loss last season.
“This is just the beginning, game two, playing good, but we’re not where we want to be,” KSU defensive end Reggie Walker said. “It just all makes us hungry.”
Bowling Green: The Falcons were overmatched and couldn’t stop the Kansas State offense in the first half.
Kansas State: For the second straight week, the Wildcats looked about as good as they could. Kleiman has found his quarterback in Thompson, but they’ll face their first true test against an SEC foe next week.
JUST KEEPS WINNING
Klieman has won 23 consecutive games, dating to when he was head coach at North Dakota State. His last loss came to South Dakota State in 2017.
Kansas State Athletics announced a $105 million renovation project, in which part will be for Bill Snyder Family Stadium’s south end zone. Construction will begin in May 2020 and be completed by the start of the 2021 football season.
Bowling Green hosts Louisiana Tech next Saturday.
Kansas State has its first road game of the season at Mississippi State on Saturday.