Barnes runs for 4 touch­downs as K-State routs Ok­la­homa State, 31-12

Texarkana Gazette - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Dave Skretta

The As­so­ci­ated Press MAN­HAT­TAN, Kan.— Kan­sas State broke hud­dle against Ok­la­homa State at one point Sat­ur­day with three run­ning backs join­ing quar­ter­back Skyler Thomp­son in the back­field, the quar­tet mak­ing a unique di­a­mond-like for­ma­tion that coach Bill Sny­der said has been part of the play­book for 30 years.

True or not, the claim was fit­ting given the Wild­cats’ en­tire game plan looked about that old.

Al­most en­tirely aban­don­ing the pass­ing game, Kan­sas State blud­geoned the Cow­boys with an old­school, ground-based at­tack. Alex Barnes rum­bled for 181 yards and four touch­downs, the Wild­cats piled up 291 yards rush­ing and they dom­i­nated the time of pos­ses­sion in a 31-12 rout.

“Our run­ning game, we’ve ad­dressed this week-in and week-out, it’s got­ten bet­ter, got­ten bet­ter, got­ten bet­ter,” Sny­der said. “Alex got a lot of yards but you get a lot of yards be­cause some­one up front is knock­ing some­one else back. It’s a team-ori­ented deal.”

Thomp­son only had 130 yards pass­ing, enough to keep the Cow­boys hon­est, but added 80 yards to the rush­ing to­tal in help­ing the Wild­cats (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) end a three-game skid.

They’ve now beaten the Cow­boys (4-3, 1-3) in backto-back sea­sons for the first time since 2002.

“We have to look and see what we’re do­ing, where we are at and what we can do to cor­rect it,” Cow­boys coach Mike Gundy said. “We are try­ing to do what we can as soon as pos­si­ble to fix the prob­lems.”

Ok­la­homa State led 6-3 at half­time be­fore the Wild­cats got their ground game go­ing. They leaned heav­ily on Barnes, who ran for a ca­reer-best 250 yards last week against Bay­lor, and that al­lowed them to chew up the clock while keep­ing the Cow­boys’ of­fense off the field.

Kan­sas State took the lead when Barnes capped a nine­play drive with a touch­down mid­way through the third quar­ter. He added his sec­ond scor­ing run a few min­utes later, then an­swered a TD run by the Cow­boys’ Tay­lor Cor­nelius with his third touch­down dart with 9:41 re­main­ing in the game.

Cor­nelius fin­ished 17 of 35 for 184 yards and two in­ter­cep­tions, while Cow­boys run­ning back Jus­tice Hill spent most of af­ter­noon bot­tled up. He car­ried 11 times for just 41 yards.

“We were tired of los­ing,” Kan­sas State line­backer Justin Hughes said, “so we came out with the men­tal­ity that we weren’t go­ing to lose. Once we stopped Hill and made them throw we had them.”

The first half re­sem­bled an old-school, Big Ten­style slugfest — hardly the pass-happy Big 12.

The Wild­cats dared the Cow­boys to beat them through the air, and Cor­nelius had 45 of his 97 yards pass­ing in the first half on the only com­ple­tion that made them pay. But de­spite that long play get­ting the Cow­boys in scor­ing po­si­tion, Kan­sas State’s de­fense man­aged to hold for a field goal.

The Wild­cats squan­dered a chance to score just be­fore half­time, when Thomp­son was sacked on third down in the clos­ing sec­onds. With­out a time out, the clock ex­pired with­out a field-goal at­tempt, and Sny­der stalked his team all the way into the locker room.

Kan­sas State’s of­fen­sive line atoned for that mis­take in the sec­ond half.

As­sert­ing its will at the line of scrim­mage, the group pried open holes for Barnes and backup Dalvin War­mack, who pa­tiently danced into the Cow­boys’ se­condary. They kept rid­ing that suc­cess late into the fourth quar­ter, when Barnes scored his fi­nal touch­down with a cou­ple min­utes to go.

“That’s what we’ve been ex­pect­ing all sea­son,” Wild­cats of­fen­sive line­man Dal­ton Ris­ner said. “I feel like we’ve been bring­ing it all sea­son but we’ve turned it up the last few weeks.”

THE TAKE­AWAY

Ok­la­homa State: An of­fense that av­er­aged 523.3 yards per game com­ing into the day was ren­dered in­ef­fec­tive in the sec­ond half. Hill’s streak of 12 con­sec­u­tive games with a touch­down rush­ing came to an end, as did the Cow­boys’ im­pres­sive streak of 19 straight wins when lead­ing at half­time.

Kan­sas State: The sea­son-long search for an iden­tity may have un­cov­ered a smash-mouth ap­proach that can pro­duce re­sults. The Wild­cats were held to six points a few weeks ago at West Vir­ginia, and two TDs in a loss to Texas. But their run-based at­tack has been on-point against Bay­lor and Ok­la­homa State.

STATS AND STREAKS

Ok­la­homa States’ streak of forc­ing a turnover in 33 straight games was snapped. … Barnes moved into the top 10 in Kan­sas State his­tory with 2,049 yards rush­ing. He’s the first player with back-to­back games of at least 175 yards rush­ing since Dar­ren Spro­les in 2003. … Wild­cats cor­ner­back Duke Shel­ley had both of the in­ter­cep­tions. He has at least one in all three games he’s played against Ok­la­homa State.

UP NEXT

Ok­la­homa State is off be­fore host­ing ninth-ranked Texas.

Kan­sas State is off be­fore vis­it­ing No. 11 Ok­la­homa.

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