MANHATTAN — In its first game of the season, a 55-19 victory over Central Arkansas, No. 18 K-State passed for 333 yards and rushed for 186 yards. In Saturday's game, a 55-7 victory over Charlotte at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, those statistics were almost completely reversed.
In Saturday's win, K-State rushed for 304 yards and passed for 189 yards. The Wildcats rushed the ball 51 times while only throwing it 23 times. Following the victory, K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about the seemingly heavy focus on the run game.
"It's not a matter of wanting to establish the run as much as it is trying to find out what (Charlotte) is doing. I thought we had a pretty good picture of what to expect. We anticipated that they were a heavy blitz team. They got into that pretty heavily. They played heavy fronts against us to defend the run," Snyder said. "I was pleased with our ability to run the ball against schemes that are stacked against the run. I thought we were reasonably productive with that."
In its first drive of the game, K-State gave the ball to sophomore running back Alex Barnes five times in its first six plays. Barnes finished the game rushing 16 times for 99 yards and a touchdown. All 16 of those carries came in the first half of the game. Barnes talked about getting a heavy workload early.
"It was a statement thing for us. We wanted to get back to pounding the rock. I think we did that today. It was good to get that first half under my belt," Barnes said.
Barnes had one of the game's most notable plays. In the first half, Barnes hurdled a defender as he broke off a long run. Barnes talked about the play.
"I broke into the open field, and (the Charlotte defender) was waiting there about 20 yards downfield. I was like, 'he's hit me low a couple times in a row. He doesn't have any momentum at all. If I'm a betting man, I'd say that he's going to go low again'. I just took my chance," Barnes said.
One of the top contributors on the ground for the Wildcats Saturday, besides Barnes, was junior running back Dalvin Warmack. Warmack rushed seven times for 43 yards and a touchdown. Warmack talked about his team's rushing performance Saturday.
"I think we did great. I think we showcased what we knew we could do all along. It was good for us to get momentum. It's a statement to any team you play if you come out running the ball. That was great. It got everyone fired up and just led the surge the rest of the way," Warmack said.
Senior quarterback Jesse Ertz was the K-State's second-leading rusher Saturday, as he ran 13 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Ertz talked about the performance of K-State's running backs and offensive line Saturday.
"The offensive line played great. We had some different guys in there on the offensive line, and they just stepped up. It was good to spread that ball and it was good to get (Barnes) going. We have the ability (to run the ball). That was just how the game went (Saturday)," Ertz said.
The Wildcats will be back in action Sept. 16, as it faces its first road test at Vanderbilt. That game will start at 6:30 p.m. (CT).