Considering how last year’s season opener finished for Kansas State, the 20th-ranked Wildcats will gladly take Saturday night’s ho-hum 55-16 victory over Stephen F. Austin.
The Wildcats’ only warm-up before opening Big 12 play next week at Iowa State was essentially over by halftime, as K-State piled on early and then buried the Lumberjacks late.
Other than a quick three-and-out by his first team to open the second half, K-State head coach Bill Snyder was pleased with his team’s offensive showing.
“I don’t want to take away the positive things our guys did, and I probably dwell on the things that weren’t so good,” Snyder said. “Overall, I thought we played reasonably well offensively. We scored the first four or five possessions. The thing that probably put a damper on the offense was probably the three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half. We can’t afford to do that.”
Quarterback Jake Waters directed K-State with precision for much of the night, scoring four touchdowns in all — two passing and two rushing — before giving way in the fourth quarter to backups Joe Hubener and Jesse Ertz. Waters completed 19 of 28 passes for 223 yards, while rushing 17 times for 55 yards.
K-State — which outgained SFA 478 yards to 294 yards — scored the first three touchdowns of the game and led 28-10 at halftime. The Wildcats were equally as dominating in the second half, outscoring the Lumberjacks 27-6 to coast to the easy victory at a sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Waters got the Wildcats started with a 9-yard touchdown pass to the far left corner to senior Tyler Lockett — his only catch of the game — with 7:09 to play in the first quarter. Lockett didn’t play the rest of the game.
“Because I didn’t want him to,” Snyder said of Lockett’s lack of playing time Saturday. When asked if he would play this next week at Iowa State, Snyder remained curt, “If I want him to.”
K-State made it 14-0 just 9 seconds in to the second quarter when Waters punched the ball in from 5 yards out — a score that was set up by a 9-yard completion to Deante Burton for his first-career reception.
Burton, who saw plenty of action with Lockett sidelined, made the most of his opportunity and finished with three catches for 40 yards.
The former Manhattan High star also caught a 25-yard pass that set up Waters’ 1-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
Four different running backs saw the field Saturday, including DeMarcus Robinson, who made his first-career start, Charles Jones, Jarvis Leverett and Judah Jones.
Robinson finished with 49 yards on 11 carries and had a team-best four receptions for 47 yards. Charles Jones, who was next in for the Wildcats, scored a pair of touchdowns out of the Wildcat formation — a 15-yarder to put the Wildcats up 21-0 in the second quarter and a 4-yard burst to push the K-State lead to 42-10 in the third. He finished with 55 yards on eight carries. Leverett and Judah Jones combined for 49 yards in the second half.
“They didn’t get a multitude of big plays, but they got consistent yardage,” Snyder said of his running backs. “I don’t know what they averaged, but somewhere in the vicinity of probably 5 yards per carry, which isn’t tremendously bad, but probably should have been better this evening.”
Waters’ second passing touchdown came with 8:55 to play in the third when he found Kody Cook in the right corner of the end zone from 22 yards out to make it 35-10. Cook finished with three receptions for 44 yards and was one of nine different Wildcats to catch a pass Saturday night.