Kansas State struggled in its season opener last week, but the Wildcats had little trouble moving to 2-0 on the season, as they cruised to a 45-0 victory over Florida Atlantic Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Senior quarterback Dylan Meier tossed two touchdowns without any interceptions in what was an improved offensive effort for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats' special teams wasted little time in making its mark again, as junior cornerback Justin McKinney returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to give K-State a quick 7-0 lead less than 20 seconds into the contest. It was the first time the Wildcats had returned the opening kickoff of a game for a touchdown since 1936.
After allowing just one first down on FAU's initial drive, the Wildcat offense scored its first touchdown of the 2006 season on a 38-yard touchdown run on a reverse by wide receiver Yamon Figurs. Figurs helped to set up his own scoring run by making a 15-yard reception on the previous play, a third down, to keep the drive alive. The score gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead with more than eight minutes left in the opening quarter.
A weather delay kept the Wildcats and Owls off the field from 6:46 p.m. to 7:25 p.m., but not long after returning to action it took K-State's offense little time to dent the end zone once again, as Meier hooked up with Jermaine Moreira for a 21-yard scoring toss to make it 21-0 in favor of the Wildcats. Meier's touchdown pass was set up by a Bryan Baldwin interception of FAU quarterback Rusty Smith, which set K-State up at the Owls' 25-yard line.
Kicker Jeff Snodgrass missed on his first two field goal tries Saturday night, but the senior kicker was able to knock in his third attempt, a 37-yarder that gave K-State a 24-0 lead late in the second quarter.
K-State's ground game led the way to another touchdown midway through the third quarter, as running back Thomas Clayton scored his first rushing touchdown of the season for the Wildcats on 3-yard dash to make it 31-0 with just more than five minutes left in the third quarter. Clayton ripped off a 29-yard touchdown to put K-State inside the 10-yard line, helping to set up his own score.
Junior wide receiver Daniel Gonzalez made his first career reception on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 19-yard touchdown grab from Meier that made it 38-0. The drive's key play came on a 4th-and-1 run by true freshman Leon Patton, who broke free for a 27 yard run to move the Wildcats deep into FAU territory.
The game's final points came in the form of a 32-yard touchdown run by reserve running back Terry Petrie with 5:36 left to play, a run that put K-State well over the 200-yard rushing mark as a team. The Wildcats ran for just 44 yards in last week's season opener.
K-State will look to improve to 3-0 next week when Marshall visits Manhattan for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff in a game that will be televised by FSN.