With the clock winding down in the first half and Kansas State looking to add one more score before halftime, Daniel Sams tossed up a pass hoping somebody would make a play.
Sams was flushed from the pocket, ran to his right and then he chucked the ball down the field. The sailed over Tyler Lockett and an Iowa State defender, bouncing off another defender before Tramaine Thompson stole it away for a 16-yard gain.
The Wildcats went on to score, taking a 17-0 lead into halftime on the way to a 41-7 win over the Cyclones.
Thompson finished with three catches for 71 yards, all of the circus variety, but that’s just the type of day Lockett said it was for the K-State offense.
“It just seemed like everything worked out,” he said.
Nobody can really describe what happened on the play, not the player who threw it or caught it, or the other K-State players who witnessed it from only a few feet away.
Lockett, who caught five passes for 72 yards and a few tough ones himself, said he tried to stretch his defender up the field so Sams could scramble for a first down. Curry Sexton said he saw Sams throw it up, and thought Thompson was going in to knock it away. Next thing he knew, Thompson had the ball.
K-State coach Bill Snyder said the receivers and quarterbacks have been hooking up for some big plays over the last two games.
“You go back and look at the catch that Tramaine made,” he said. “I think all of our receivers did a nice job and have done in the last two weeks of making some very, very special catches.”
In the fourth quarter, with the Wildcats leading 20-0, quarterback Jake Waters threw a quick pass in Thompson’s direction, but the senior seemed to turn just in time to see the ball come down and fall in his hands for a 27-yard gain.
On K-State’s next drive, Thompson was run into by an Iowa State defender while a ball thrown by Sams was lofted in his direction. Thompson hit the ground as the ball landed against his chest and he caught it with one arm.
The senior admitted he didn’t know how he made either play.
“The (passes) were a little short,” Thompson said. “The one I caught but didn’t score on, I didn’t expect it to be there that early. I turned my head around pretty late and caught it on the way down — it was just reaction honestly. The touchdown, he just like smacked me in the face as the ball was coming in. I think I caught it with one hand. I don’t know how I caught it.”
Sexton said Thompson always seemed to make a play when they needed him to.
“Tramaine made a lot of big plays for us,” he said, “attacking the ball and making tough catches, which is huge for us.”
Thompson’s performance followed up a big game from he and Lockett last week against West Virgnia, when Lockett caught three touchdown passes and Thompson added another.
It’s been a welcome change for the Wildcats after losing Thompson and Lockett for the Oklahoma State and Baylor games. Thompson missed both with mononucleosis, while Lockett was injured against the Cowboys and didn’t play vs. Baylor.
Thompson said the offense seems to be running more smoothly now that the Wildcats have all their usual weapons in their offensive arsenal.
“They’ve been running a lot different defenses than they did those two weeks we were out,” he said. “It’s good to see normal things going on that we’re used to.”