September 2, 2006

Season opening win a 'special' one for K-State

Illinois State gave Kansas State all it could handle, and often more, on both sides of the ball Saturday night, but the Division I-AA Redbirds could not match the Wildcats in what turned out to be the difference in the game, special teams. The Wildcats used an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown from Yamon Figurs and a fumble return for a score on a kickoff to knock off the Redbirds 24-23 Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The visiting Redbirds out-gained the Wildcats by a margin of 346 to 207 in total yardage, had a 100-yard rusher and 250-yard passer and completely frustrated the Wildcat offense all night long, but the big plays from Figurs and linebacker Marcus Perry, who forced the fumble that Byron Garvin returned for a touchdown, proved too much to overcome.

"We talk all the time about game changing plays, and a disproportionate amount of those plays happen in the kicking game," ISU coach Denver Johnson said. "That showed up tonight. When you play up a division like this, that's where a lot of the difference starts to show up. They made two tremendous plays there."

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