MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State won the dang day. First-year Head Coach Chris Klieman and his Wildcats didn’t have to sweat much on opening night in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Taking on a top-15 FCS opponent in Nicholls, and a team that defeated conference rival Kansas last season, K-State made sure not to take their first opponent lightly and it showed.
The Wildcats received the opening kickoff and promptly drove 72 yards on 12 plays for the year’s first score, and never looked back.
K-State scored four times in the opening half, all on rushing touchdowns from different players. With three of the four coming from instant-impact transfers. Running back Harry Trotter, a transfer from Louisville, found pay dirt on the opening drive. Quarterback Skylar Thompson followed suit on the next drive. Jordan Brown, a North Carolina transfer, scored on the third drive. And James Gilbert, a Ball State transfer, scored on K-State’s fourth possession.
Up 28-0 at the break, K-State came out a little flat in the second half defensively and Nicholls took full advantage, scoring on a five play, 75 yard drive.
The Colonels won the third quarter, but that was all they would win, as K-State finished the game with a 21-7 fourth quarter to put a game that was never in doubt on ice.
Post game, Coach Klieman said he was relieved to have this first game behind him.
“This first week was kind of a circus and I’m glad it’s over,” he said.
Coach went on to say that his reasoning fell mostly on all the jitters and nerves that come with week one. Overall, Klieman was thrilled with the execution from his team and credited much of the effort to the team’s fast start.
“I’m really proud of our guys. I thought we played well,” said Klieman. “It was really important that we had a fast start and I challenged the guys this afternoon to have a fast start and to be on point.”
Klieman was excited about the win, noting that he’s a competitor by nature, but his biggest joy of the night was seeing his players enjoy themselves on the field.
His quarterback on the other hand, commended him and his staff for their management of the game. Skylar Thompson noted how much his teammates enjoy playing for them and credited the win to the coaches.
“We were just confident. We were confident and we trusted our coaches,” said K-State quarterback Skylar Thompson. “(Our) Coaches did a great job with positions. We were ahead of the sticks tonight and that makes life pretty easy. Whatever they ask you to do, I’m gonna try to do my best at it, and that’s what everybody did.”
The 49-14 victory had many bright spots for Coach Klieman to talk about in his presser, but he noted that there will be a lot more to evaluate once he has a chance to take a look at film.
“A lot of good things we saw, but I challenged our guys in there,” said Klieman. “Let’s not be complacent. Let’s not get too excited about just one. We’ve got to continue to stack great days over great days this next week and get ready for our next opportunity.”
The Wildcats (1-0) will now turn their attention to Bowling Green (1-0) for an 11 a.m. kickoff next Saturday, September 7th inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Stay tuned for more coverage from your Rocking M Media team all season long.
POST GAME AUDIO
Chris Klieman (FULL POST)
Kansas State’s 35-point win was it’s largest in a coach’s debut in program history. The previous record of 31 was set by Ward Haylett in 1942 with a 37-6 victory over Kansas Wesleyan.
Kansas State’s win over Nicholls was the 200th victory inside KSU/Bill Snyder Family Stadium since its inception in 1968. The Wildcats are now 200-116-3 (.629) in the venue.
Kansas State has now won six consecutive home openers, with its last home-opening loss coming to North Dakota State, with Chris Klieman as defensive coordinator.
POST GAME STATS