MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Collin Klein connected with Chris Harper on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 1:39 left, and Kansas State escaped with a sloppy 10-7 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night to give longtime coach Bill Snyder his 150th win.
Kansas State fumbled five times -- losing four of them -- and struggled to get anything going against its opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision.
The plucky Colonels, picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference, took a 7-0 lead with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter when freshman quarterback Jared McClain plunged in from a yard out. The TD was set up when Kansas State running back Bryce Brown fumbled the ball away.
Anthony Cantele, who earlier missed a 37-yard field goal try, drew Kansas State within 7-3 when he hit from 36 yards out with 11:36 left in the game.
The Kansas State defense managed to stop Eastern Kentucky on its ensuing possession, giving Klein and the offense the ball at its 14. The junior quarterback hit Harper for 10 yards, mixed in a couple of runs, connected with Harper again on an 8-yard completion, and converted a third-and-3 situation when he scrambled for four yards in front of the Wildcats' bench.
Two plays later, Klein saw Harper coming open on a skinny post route and hit him in stride as the crowd of 50,292 erupted for the first time all night. The touchdown gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game, and allowed them to win their 22nd consecutive home opener.
Things started out poorly for Kansas State and didn't get a whole lot better.
Klein was forced to call timeout on third-and-9 on the Wildcats' opening possession, and then proceeded to fumble the snap and give the Colonels the ball. The defense stiffened, though, and Eastern Kentucky's Luke Pray eventually missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
The Wildcats went three-and-out on their next possession, a promising seven-play drive stalled at the Colonels 22, Ty Zimmerman fumbled a punt a few moments later, and the defense allowed Eastern Kentucky to march inside the Kansas State 10 before Nigel Malone intercepted McClain's pass late in the first quarter to preserve the scoreless game.
The comedy of errors continued once the teams switched directions.
Klein was picked off by Brooklyn Fox on a jump ball to end one drive, and another drive halted after Klein failed to notice the blitz and was sacked for a 13-yard loss.
The two teams went into the locker room with zeros on the scoreboard.
It remained that way most of the second half and at one point the Wildcats appeared like they might not score in a game for the first time since 1996. But the Wildcats managed to find just enough offense to hand Eastern Kentucky its 19th consecutive non-conference road loss.
The Colonels haven't beaten an FBS school since knocking off Louisville in 1985.
Nike Men's Kansas State Wildcats Purple/Silver Team Issue Performance PoloShop
Sources told ESPN that Baylor agreed to release Patrick Hudson, J.P. Urquidez, Parrish Cobb, Kameron Martin and Donovan Duvernay.
ESPN's Jared Shanker and Matt Fortuna join The Paul Finebaum Show to break down the Week One showdown between Ole Miss and Florida State.
Gary Shelton of the Saint Peters Blog joins The Paul Finebaum Show to discuss the renewed energy of Florida football programs.
ESPN's Chris Fallica joins The Paul Finebaum Show to preview the opening weekend of the college football season.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says young players at his camps this summer have him convinced that football has a bright future.
GameDay 100: During the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2013, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel manages to stay on his feet, scrambling to buy time to complete the touchdown against Duke.
|Southeast Missouri State||3-4||4-7|