MANHATTAN — After a slow start, No. 20 K-State (1-0) blew out Central Arkansas (0-1) by a final score of 55-19 Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
K-State started the game off with a bang, as junior defensive back D.J. Reed returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to Central Arkansas' four-yard line. The opening kickoff was the beginning of a strong game from Reed. Near the end of the second quarter, Reed returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown. Reed also grabbed one interception. K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about Reed's game.
"I was pleased with D.J. I'd like his conditioning to be a little bit better, but that's my fault, not his. He played very well. I was pleased with what he did," Snyder said.
Two plays later, the Wildcats got the first lead of the game on a one-yard plunge by sophomore running back Alex Barnes for a touchdown.
The score was tied at 10-10 at the end of the first quarter. The close game didn't last long, as the Wildcats scored 28 points in the second quarter to essentially seal the game at halftime.
Senior quarterback Jesse Ertz threw three touchdowns in the second quarter. Ertz ended the game by completing 10-of-16 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Ertz threw touchdowns of 55, 70, and 69 yards Saturday night.
Ertz set a K-State single-game record with by earning a 319.8 quarterback rating. Ertz noted that owning that record doesn't mean a lot to him.
"It doesn't mean hardly anything. If it was a championship game, then it would mean a lot more to me. I had 10 completions. I don't feel like we played great. There's plenty of things we did wrong. I made some keep reads (on option plays) that I got a little greedy on. It was by no means a perfect game. It's cool. (Junior wide receiver Byron Pringle) has the record, it you ask me. (The record) is a cool thing for the team, but it doesn't mean much to me," Ertz said.
Pringle led the Wildcats with 121 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Harris finished second on the team with 118 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Sophomore wide receiver Dalton Schoen finished with 70 yards and a touchdown on one reception.
Ertz noted that having Pringle and Harris to throw to makes his job as a quarterback easier.
"I can throw a 15-yard pass, and (Pringle) takes it 40 more yards. That makes it as good as you can ask for for a quarterback. That's stuff that we talked about all offseason — converting five-yard passes into touchdowns. It was fun to have it all fall into place. I think it got the confidence going," Ertz said.
Snyder gave some of his thoughts on Ertz's performance.
"Jesse really played well. I think there were two visible throws that he had that were truly off the mark. I thought he threw it really well. He managed the game well. We didn't have any issues with the clock. There were no delay-of-games. He had time to make the decisions he needed to make before the snap of the football. He didn't get much in the way of the running game, but I think that was more (Central Arkansas) that it was (Ertz)," Snyder said.
Pringle, who caught a 55-yard touchdown from Ertz, talked about his perfomance.
"Jesse was great. Jesse was great all camp, all summer, all spring. I feel good for Jesse. I'm proud of him. He came in and took a leadership role. He works hard every day. He gets on guys. He even gets on me. I knew there was something special about Jesse," Pringle said.
Schoen caught Ertz's third touchdown pass of the game with 17 seconds left in the first half to give K-State a 38-17 lead. He talked about how Ertz played Saturday night.
"Jesse's developed a great feel for our offense in the quarterback run game and with the passing game. He's doing a good job of getting us in the right plays and just commanding the offense. He definitely did a good job (Saturday) of airing the ball out and putting the ball in spots to give us a chance to make plays," Schoen said.
K-State will be back in action on Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. (CT) as it faces Charlotte at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.