K-State holds off KU upset bid

October 28, 20170 Comments

LAWRENCE — Kansas State’s ninth-straight win over rival Kansas won’t do much to restore confidence in the Wildcats’ sputtering season. But it wasn’t a loss, and that will have to do, for now.

K-State used three Matt McCrane field goals and a D.J. Reed kickoff return for a touchdown to overcome KU, 30-20, at Memorial Stadium.

The Jayhawks entered the game coming off the worst offensive performance in Big 12 Conference history, but KU looked reenergized under new quarterback Carter Stanley.

Stanley and his receivers, primarily Steven Sims, Jr., caused problems all afternoon for a K-State secondary that gave up 400 passing yards to No. 9 Oklahoma last week.

Stanley finished the afternoon with 418 passing yards and a touchdown.

It was critical for the Wildcats (4-4, 2-3 Big 12) to get stops in the red zone, and they did hold KU to a pair of short field goals in the first half, which made a big difference late in the game.

They were also aided by Reed’s 99-yard return, which gave K-State a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

K-State never led by more than 14 points. The offense, quarterbacked by Alex Delton in the first half and Skylar Thompson in the second, were able to sustain drives for much of the day. But KU’s defense made big stops, too, giving the Jayhawks a chance late.

Delton was hobbled after a hit late in the first half. He and Thompson combined to complete 8 of 13 passes for 138 yards.

The big story, however, was the resurgence of Alex Barnes in K-State’s game plan. A week after getting just six carries and voicing his frustration with reporters after the game, Barnes rushed 23 times for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

His Wildcat-formation keeper with 7:36 to play restored a 14-point lead, 27-13.

KU (1-7, 0-5) would not go away, answering right back on a 60-yard connection from Stanley to Sims.

It wasn’t until McCrane’s third field goal of the day, a 41-yard boot with 1:41 to go, that K-State finally put the game on ice.

The Wildcats will face Texas Tech next week in Lubbock.

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