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November 9, 2013

Cats sprint to convincing win at Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Kansas State came into Saturday's game with Texas Tech knowing it wanted to run the ball. Tech knew what was coming, but the Red Raiders couldn't do a thing to stop the Wildcats' ground-based assault, particularly in a dominating first half that set a tone for K-State's 49-26 victory in a Big 12 Conference game at Jones AT&T Stadium.

"We knew what they were going to do, and they came right at us and we couldn't stop them and we didn't have answers," first-year Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

K-State racked up 218 rushing yards in the first half alone as the Wildcats scored touchdowns on all five of their possessions of an opening half as they raced to a 35-10 halftime lead. K-State ended the game with 291 rushing yards.

"The offensive line did a nice job of staying on blocks, finishing blocks and our quarterbacks did a good job of running the ball and John had 100-plus at halftime. They all did a fine job," K-State coach Bill Snyder said.

The win moves the Wildcats to 5-4 on the season and to 3-3 in Big 12 play as they extended their winning streak to three games and moved them just one victory away from becoming bowl eligible. K-State returns home next Saturday to play a 2:30 p.m. game against TCU at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

K-State running back John Hubert ran the ball 23 times for 157 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown dash on the Wildcats' second offensive play of the game to give the Cats a 7-3 lead with 10:55 on the first quarter clock.

"That was a great play by Hubert. He read the blocks well and John hit that hole and took it to the house," K-State sophomore guard Cody Whitehair said.

"We blocked it well and there wasn't anyone there to tackle him," Snyder said of Hubert's quick touchdown. "... You stress to start, finish and play well in-between."

Tech answered with its own touchdown drive to take a 10-7 lead with 6:49 to go in the opening quarter, but then K-State's defense stiffened against the Red Raiders' passing attack and the offense rattled off four straight touchdown drives before half.

Three rushing touchdowns by K-State's quarterbacks (two from Jake Waters sandwiched around one from Daniel Sams) and then a 20-yard pass from Waters to Tramaine Thompson put the Wildcats in control of the game going into halftime at 35-10.

"It was a check that Jake made to change of plays," Thompson said of the TD throw to his back shoulder. "The guy just made a nice little throw to me. It was a good play for us. It got us into the end zone."

Not only that, as Snyder said, it further asserted the Wildcats' control of the game.

"He scrambled nicely and put the ball in the spot that Tramaine didn't have to go up for it and Tramaine made a nice catch," Snyder said. "But the real essence of the play, was I thought it was real major in the course of the game. You're talking about a team in Texas Tech that has proven that they can come back any time. They can go up and down the field."

K-State went to halftime with 279 total yards and 15 first downs. Then in the second half Tech scored nine quick points as Snyder pulled back on his offense's reins. The Wildcats responded with a seven-play, 46-yard drive that started late in the third quarter following an ill-advised onside kickoff from Tech.

"Coach made the call, and I roll with him anytime he wants to make a call like that," Tech defensive end Kerry Hyder said. "He thought the defense was playing well if we didn't get it, so I felt like we should have made a stop no matter where the ball is."

Tech didn't, though. K-State capped its drive with a 1-yard plunge by Sams, who finished with 81 yards on 11 carries, which was followed less than a minute later by a Ty Zimmerman interception a Baker Mayfield pass. Zimmerman took it 43 yards for a touchdown that put the Wildcats up 49-19 with 14:07 remaining.

Tech added a late touchdown and appeared to dominate the statistics, outgaining K-State 459-367 and winning the first down battled 30-19, but this game was pure domination from the Wildcats.

Tech, losers of three straight, are now 7-3 and 4-3 in the Big 12, as K-State is surging toward season's end.

"We out outcoached. We got outplayed," Kingsbury said. "It's up to us what we're going to do for the last two weeks."

"It's a big win for us," Whitehair said. "We're still fighting for a bowl game and we're just trying to go 1-0 each week."





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