61ST AutoZone Liberty Bowl | 121
WELCOME BOWL EVENTS NAVY K-STATE HONORS BOWL HISTORY SPECIAL THANKS
kansas state season in review
Game 1: Kansas State 49, Nicholls 14
CAugust 31 | Bill Snyder Family Stadium hris Klieman wasn’t the only one making his K-State debut on
Saturday night. Almost all of K-State’s running backs were as
All left positive first impressions.
K-State won, 49-14, against Nicholls in front of a sold-out crowd.
The Wildcats, who returned zero rushing yards from running backs
from last season, amassed 361 rushing yards to open the Klieman
era. It marked the most in a K-State season opener since at least
The Wildcats accomplished this behind, mostly, a trio of K-State
newcomers: James Gilbert, Jordon Brown and Harry Trotter. Those
three combined for 214 rushing yards, led by Gilbert’s 115 yards on
18 carries. Each of them had one touchdown, all coming in a first half
that K-State dominated by a 28-0 margin.
Gilbert, a graduate transfer from Ball State, became the first Wildcat
to eclipse 100 yards rushing in his first K-State game since Daniel
Thomas in 2009. Gilbert’s longest run, a 24-yard scamper in the second
quarter, finished one of K-State’s five scoring drives of at least
Trotter, a junior, collected 50 yards on 10 carries. The Atchison native
ran through multiple tackles on a 9-yard touchdown run that
capped a 12-play, 72-yard drive to open the game. K-State followed
with three straight scoring drives.
Brown, a graduate transfer from North Carolina, added in 49 yards
on 11 carries. He scored on a 14-yard run early in the second quarter,
but he also snagged a pair of passes for 28 yards from redshirt junior
quarterback Skylar Thompson, who finished 16-of-22 through the
air for 212 yards and a touchdown.
The run game set the tone, helping K-State eat up more than 41
minutes of clock. But the defense factored into that as well.
K-State allowed only 17 yards in the first quarter and 64 in the first
half. AJ Parker jumped a pass for an interception on Nicholls’ second
offensive play of the day, setting up K-State’s second touchdown.
Early in the fourth quarter, Jonathan Alexander forced a fumble and
scooped it for a 25-yard touchdown.
Game 2: Kansas State 52, Bowling Green 0
September 7 | Bill Snyder Family Stadium Different opponent, same dominance.
K-State totaled 521 yards of offense, allowed less than 150
yards on defense and rolled to a 52-0 win against Bowling
Like last week, the Wildcats’ extreme command of the game could
be seen early and all over the field, including the sideline. That’s
where K-State’s defense spent more than 22 minutes in the first half
and 42 minutes for the game.
K-State’s defense barely played half that on Saturday, with Bowling
Green only getting 44 plays of offense.
The Falcons also went 0-for-11 on third down conversions and
0-for-2 on fourth, but the tone was set early. In Bowling Green’s first
four drives, the Wildcats forced three three-and-outs. They finished
with eight such series en route to their first shutout since blanking
South Dakota in 2015.
K-State allowed only three first downs and 81 yards of offense in
the first half, which ended with the Wildcats up 38-0 — their largest
halftime lead since a 42-0 advantage over Florida Atlantic in 2016.
Bowling Green finished with a meager 140 yards of total offense
against K-State’s swarming defense — the first time the Wildcats
have limited an opponent to less than 150 since 2011 against Eastern
K-State’s 333 rushing yards helped push the team over 500 yards
of total offense. It marked the first time in program history that
K-State eclipsed 500 yards of total offense in its first two games of
the season and the first time since 2003 for any two-game stretch.
Jordon Brown broke off a 50-yard touchdown run in the first
quarter for K-State’s first touchdown. James Gilbert, who recorded
103 yards, picked up nearly half on a 51-yard scamper in the second
quarter. Gilbert scored on the next play, his second touchdown of
Quarterback Skylar Thompson finished 10-of-13 for 151 yards, targeted
Malik Knowles six times. They connected on five of them for
99 yards, including touchdown grabs of 34 and 20 yards.