Kansas State Football: Chris Klieman gets first big win with Wildcats

Kansas State Wildcats. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas State Wildcats. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Kansas State football went into Starkville, Mississippi and left with a 31-24 victory over the Bulldogs. What a tremendous accomplishment for Chris Klieman and the Wildcats!

This game wasn’t easy, but the Kansas State Wildcats reigned victorious, winning in Starkville against a feisty Mississippi State program. It was the first Power-5 victory for Chris Klieman in his first year at the helm for the Wildcats and it was a well-earned one for the first year head coach.

K-State wasn’t perfect in this one, but they didn’t have to be because Mississippi State made some costly errors too. Forget that pitiful final drive by the Bulldogs that allowed time to expire while they dinked and dunked (seriously what were they thinking), these two teams gave it everything they had.

The run game, which was dominant the first two weeks, did their part, rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns. James Gilbert once again led the way, carrying the ball 17 times for 59 yards while Jordon Brown had only five carries, but for 41 yards and a touchdown. Skylar Thompson also rushed for a touchdown.

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Speaking of Thompson, he wasn’t as electric as he was last week, but he did enough to get the team the win and limited his mistakes. He went 10 of 18 for 123 yards and a touchdown while also adding in that rushing touchdown that I alluded to not long ago.

The defense held the quarterbacks to 151 passing yards, but were gashed in the run game. The Bulldogs totaled over 200 yards on the ground with Kylin Hill going for 111 yards on 24 carries, proving to be Mississippi State’s workhorse throughout the game.

K-State’s defense also grabbed a pair of interceptions off quarterback Tommy Stevens (who wound up leaving the game due to a nagging shoulder injury) with one of those picks coming by Denzel Goolsby and the other by AJ Parker. They also forced a key fumble in the first half.

K-State’s special teams had themselves a complicated game, as they fumbled twice and lost both of those fumbles. They made up for it, however, as Malik Knowles returned a kick 100 yards the other way for a touchdown, which tied the game at 24.

Thompson was later able to connect with Dalton Schoen in the end zone to give the Wildcats a lead in the fourth quarter. That ended up being the game winning touchdown pass.

Even though Mississippi State made a ton of mistakes in this game, so did Kansas State and they still won the game against an incredibly scrappy MSU team. Klieman did a great job at keeping his guys motivated and helping them win this game.

Kansas State exits non-conference play with a perfect 3-0 record and will look to continue their winning streak in Stillwater against Oklahoma State in two weeks. It’s kind of unfortunate that K-State will have a bye week next weekend because this program has given its fans a lot to be excited about and maybe, just maybe, this season could be something special for the Wildcat faithful.