Kansas State Football: What we learned in loss to Arkansas State

Missed opportunities proved costly, as Kansas State football was unable to get their offense going and as a result, fell to Arkansas State over the weekend.

During a day bookended by ugly conference losses of Iowa State to Louisiana and Kansas to Coastal Carolina, Kansas State football came out misfiring and flat, and saw themselves on the short end of a 35-31 score. Coming off a strong first season as head coach in 2019, Chris Klieman’s crew uncharacteristically was unprepared for Blake Anderson‘s Red Wolves offensive attack.

Two areas that stood out, at least on offense was the offensive line’s inability to function along the interior and the misses on open targets by senior quarterback Skylar Thompson.

Despite their relative inexperience as a group starting, all have been in the program for multiple years, headlined by redshirt junior Josh Rivas’s fourth year in the program. Despite their size, the Wildcats were unable to get anything going consistently on the ground, especially between the tackles, where the offense wants their running game to live.

Missing from the lineup were freshman back Joe Ervin (COVID opt out) and Jacardia Wright (unknown), so the carries were left to senior Harry Trotter and true freshman Deuce Vaughn. The offense will look and function much better if Wright can get back for the second game at Oklahoma on the 26th.

Perhaps the game turns out differently, but it’s fairly simple to say, Skylar Thompson was not on target, especially deep targets. Multiple opportunities for large gains or even more were missed on errant throws (and was not helped when receiver Malik Knowles had a drop). Thompson had to come off for a few plays after getting banged up, but when the Wildcat offense needed a big play, for the duration of the game, the ball was not on target. It certainly was disappointing to see.

Kicker Blake Lynch missed 2 field goals, and even having made 1 field goal allowed the Wildcats an opportunity to get into field goal range as opposed to the need get the ball to the endzone with only seconds on the clock.

The star of the game was Arkansas State receiver Jonathan Adams Jr, who hauled in 8 catches for 98 yards with 3 touchdowns, including the game winner at the :38 second mark in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats had no answers for the senior receiver, and it showed.

One also has to wonder how big an impact the missing players caused to the issues, especially on offense. Joshua Youngblood and Wright missed the game completely, and their absence was certainly felt as they are 2 of the top 3 playmakers on offense. On defense, Khalid Duke was not available, Jahron McPherson was injured early and Wayne Jones had to be stretchered off the field after a scary injury late.

After falling to Arkansas State, the Wildcats plays next on September 26th against the Oklahoma Sooners. Win or lose, hopefully Kansas State football have a better showing (and more playmakers) on offense.

Next: Ranking Every K-State Opponent in 2020

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