Manhattan, KS – The 21st-ranked Kansas State Wildcats will attempt to defend their home field against the Miami-Florida Hurricanes, as each team tries to move to 2-0 on the young season.
Miami opened their season on the road last week against fellow ACC member Boston College, and came away victorious, 41-32. It marked the first time the Hurricanes started a season with an away win since beating Florida State, 38-34, in 2009, and they haven't begun a year with back-to-back road wins since 2005.
Kansas State had an unexpected scare last Saturday when it took on FCS foe Missouri State. The offense sputtered in the early going, and well into the third quarter the score was tied up at 9-9. From there, however, the Wildcats caught fire, scoring six touchdowns in the final quarter and a half to win by a score of 51-9.
These two teams met last season for the first time ever, with K-State coming out on top, 28-24. This game marks Miami's first-ever trip to Manhattan.
The Miami offense was able to move the ball up and down the field with ease against the Boston College defense last week, compiling a nearly-even split between rushing offense (208) and passing yards (207).
Making his sixth career start, quarterback Stephen Morris recorded career highs in both completions (28) and attempts (45). He finished with 207 passing yards, which included an 18-yard touchdown strike to freshman receiver Malcolm Lewis.
Another freshman had a huge day for the 'Canes, as Duke Johnson rushed for 135 yards on just seven carries -- the most by a Miami true freshman since Javarris James tallied 148 yards on Sept. 30, 2006. Johnson also scored his first two career touchdowns on a pair of 50-plus yard runs. Head coach Al Golden could not be more thrilled with the young back's performance.
"His play was a huge momentum boost," Golden said. "Without those two big runs who knows what would have happened to the outcome of the game. He has shown flashes like that out in practice every day so we knew he was going to have a great game."
Allen Hurns also had a career day, setting new highs in both receptions (eight) and receiving yards (81).
For the most part, the Hurricanes defense did not hold up its end of the bargain in the opener, allowing BC to accrue a whopping 542 yards. The unit did however come up with some big plays when it needed to most.
Denzel Perryman's interception return for a touchdown late in the first quarter was one of the turning points of the game as it tied the score at 14-14. The defense also recovered two Eagles' fumbles. Kacy Rodgers II led the team with eight tackles.
Although it took the Kansas State offense a little time to get rolling, it ended up performing very well by game's end. The unit racked up 493 yards and scored on all six of its red-zone possessions.
After accounting for 40 touchdowns a season ago, quarterback Collin Klein had very high expectations coming into this season, which got off to a modest start. He threw for 169 yards on 19-of-28 passing with two touchdowns and added another 54 yards rushing. Head coach Bill Snyder knows that it's important not to restrict his quarterback too much, knowing he isn't the typical playmaker at the position.
"Collin is Collin, and he needs to play the way he is supposed to," Snyder said. "He made some good decisions and we let him have the offense for a while during the game. We were not as good at playing to our strengths in the first half, but we did a better job of that in the second half."
Klein was just a small part of the huge rushing day for the Wildcats. John Hubert gained 152 yards on the afternoon, which included a 95-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Daniel Sams also contributed a long touchdown run (46 yards) late in the game.
The K-State defense knows it will need to get better in coming weeks. Allowing 418 yards to any offense will not be acceptable, especially not to an FCS program. The performance was salvaged thanks to the unit's bend-but-don't- break mentality as they kept MSU out of the end zone.
Jarard Milo led the way with 10 tackles, and Nigel Malone added four tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.