September 16, 2006

Defense leads K-State past Marshall

For the second week in a row Kansas State's defense pitched a shutout, as the only points Marshall could muster at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday came in the form of a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. K-State (3-0) rode that strong defensive performance to a 23-7 win over the Thundering Herd (1-2) to remain undefeated heading into a showdown with Louisville next week.

The Wildcats' special teams were again the story early on. Reserve linebacker Antwon Moore blocked a Marshall punt after the Thundering Herd's opening drive stalled, setting K-State up at the Marshall 28-yard line. It took just two plays, a 25-yard completion from Dylan Meier to Jordy Nelson and a 3-yard scoring run by Thomas Clayton, for K-State to score the game's first touchdown and take a 7-0 lead.

K-State couldn't take advantage of two more first-quarter drives that started in Marshall territory thanks to an interception and fumble recovery, and the Herd eventually drew even with the Wildcats with just more than nine minutes left in the first half. Phillip Gamble blocked a Tim Reyer punt that was recovered and returned for a touchdown by James Johnson to tie the score at 7-7.

The Wildcats were able to regain the lead just before halftime after a 11-play, 44-yard drive that was capped off by a 24-yard field goal from Jeff Snodgrass to make it 10-7. The key play of the possession was a 15-yard completion from Meier to Yamon Figurs on a 3rd and 7 play from the 37-yard line to keep the drive alive, which was followed up by a 14-yard run by Petrie to help set up Snodgrass' successful try.

Meier found a rhythm on K-State's first drive of the second half, completing a 3rd-and-14 throw to Nelson for 17 yards and a 3rd-and-7 toss to Jermaine Moreira for 16 yards to move K-State's offense down the field, but an offensive pass interference call on Cedric Wilson hurt the Wildcats' chances of getting in the end zone on a drive that ended in a 22-yard Snodgrass field goal. The kick made it 13-7 with just less than eight minutes left in the third quarter.

Snodgrass hit another key field goal late in the third quarter, a 48-yarder that put K-State up by more than one score at 16-7 with 1:03 left in the third quarter. The field goal was set up by a 28-yard completion from Meier to Moreira. K-State had a golden opportunity to reach the end zone but missed a wide-open Nelson, forcing the Wildcats to settle for the field goal.

The Wildcats put an end to any slim hopes Marshall had of a late comeback with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Meier to Moreira to provide the final points in K-State's 23-7 victory.

K-State's defense held Marshall to just 142 yards of total offense, while the Wildcat offense did enough to win behind the play of Meier, who completed 19-of-35 throws for 256 yards, one score and one interception.

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