No bye week or final tune-up was needed this time to defeat Miami.
Kansas State avoided the same slow start it had a week ago and turned the Hurricanes into nothing more than a slight breeze on Saturday, cruising to a decisive 52-13 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats scored early and often, allowed only one touchdown on defense and played near-error free special teams for their second straight win over Miami.
“We needed to make a statement,” K-State receiver Chris Harper said. “Some probably thought that we aren’t for real, but we play football here. In Kansas, we play football. I don’t care who we’re playing against, we can play with anybody from any other state.
“That’s what was big about this game — that Miami was seen as a team with superior athletically-gifted guys. People boost them up, but we showed today we can play anybody.”
K-State, which only mustered a trio of fields in the first half of the season opener against Missouri State, scored three touchdowns in its first four possessions Saturday.
In fact, the Wildcats punted only once and that was only a mercy punt with 11 seconds remaining.
Collin Klein led K-State’s efficient offense by competing 9-of-11 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. His only miscue was an interception in the third quarter. The senior quarterback also rushed 22 times for 71 yards and another three scores.
“He improves at everything because he works diligently to get better,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “He has improved in the passing game and he is making an improvement in leadership. He’s also making improvements in the management and running game. He is just a guy who works diligently to get better and he just keeps getting better across the board.”
Klein got the Wildcats (2-0) started in the first quarter with touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
After both teams traded field goals, Klein went back to work - this time hooking up with sophomore Curry Sexton from 27 yards out for his first-career touchdown to make it 24-3 with 6:10 remaining in the first half.
“They played the perfect coverage for that call,” Sexton said of his TD catch. “Collin saw that it was going to work because he saw the corner drop… I don’t think I could have been more open and Collin could not have thrown a better ball. It was a good situation and we executed it well.”
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes, who defeated Boston College last week, could get nothing going offensively. Miami had to rely on just a pair of field goals until finally scoring its only touchdown of the game with 3:51 to play — a 2-yard pass from Stephen Morris to tight end Clive Walford.
Outside of the two field goals, the Hurricanes’ first half was a near total disaster, as it turned the ball over twice on fumbles, once at their own 20.
But as bad as the first half was for Miami, it actually got worse in the second half when the Canes gained only 103 yards of total offense.
The Hurricanes (1-1) punted three times, turned the ball over on downs and fumbled the ball away again on their first five possessions in the second half before finally get the ball into the end zone when the game was already out of reach.
“We had a bunch of opportunities to score, there were a lot of plays,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “There were just a bunch of turning points… One play was not the difference in the game. They outcoached us and they outplayed us.”
The K-State defense held the Canes to just 262 yards of total offense, including only 40 yards on the ground. Duke Johnson, who made a splash in Week 1 with 135 yards in his debut, finished with just 21 yards on six carries.
“I just wasn’t making the best of my opportunities, that is all,” he said. “I gave up opportunities time after time and just didn’t do my best.”
The Wildcats were also especially tough on Morris, who finished with 215 yards passing. The Wildcats hit Morris numerous times and came away with five sacks, a week after getting none against Missouri State. K-State also had 10 tackles for loss against the Canes.
“I think we could have played better,” Golden said. “We just didn’t convert on our third-down conversions. The bottom line is that we just weren’t as crisp as we needed to be. Give (K-State) credit — they had a very good pass rush.”
The Wildcats, however, started their second half much like they did in the first when Klein scored his third rushing touchdown of the game from 1 yard out to make it 31-6.
Junior running back John Hubert then made it 38-6 with 11:12 to remaining in the fourth quarter when he punched the ball in from 4 yards out — finishing with 106 yards on 19 carries. Hubert’s score was set up by a 58-yard pass to backup tight end Zach Trujillo for the first reception of his career.
Backup QB Daniel Sams finished off the Hurricanes when he entered for Klein in the fourth quarter and needed just one play to find the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Sams, who scored on a 46-yard scamper in Week 1, then got into the end zone again from 11 yards out with 5:30 to play.
Klein said K-State was better Saturday at doing the little things right and that finding perfect execution in those areas can be the difference between winning and losing.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Klein saidof his offense that racked up 498 yards. “I know seeing things last week when we talked about execution and it really is the little things. We were staying ahead of the chase. Those little execution things are the difference of 1 or 2 yards or 5 or 6. It’s a big difference when you are talking third-and-2 instead of third-and-6 or -7.”
“I credit the coaches with a great gameplan going in and putting us in some really good opportunities.”