Missouri St hangs tough in loss to No. 22 K-State
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Through three quarters, it looked as if Missouri State's game against No. 22 Kansas State would end differently than all those previous meetings.
It did not.
Hubert finished with 152 yards rushing, Braden Wilson and Daniel Sams added touchdown runs, and Tramaine Thompson returned a punt 89 yards for another score as the Bears (0-1) took a beating in their first of two games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents this season.
The game was tied at 9 early in the third quarter, and it looked as if the Bears would fare better than their two recent losses by a combined 109-34 to Kansas State.
But the Wildcats (1-0) piled up 42 straight points against the team picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Conference, making the outcome more lopsided than the game.
"I thought our guys played their tail ends off for three quarters," Missouri State coach Terry Allen said. "I was really proud of them, and disappointed by the final score and how it all unraveled there at the end. I told them that we could be a good football team. I believe that, and we just can't let the fourth quarter snowball have a reaction on us for the rest of the year."
The Wildcats and Bears traded field goals throughout the first 30 minutes, and nationally ranked Kansas State had just a 9-6 advantage going into halftime.
It was not until 7:06 remained in the third quarter that the Wildcats got the ball into the end zone, and the 18-yard strike from Klein to Chris Harper proved to be the turning point - Missouri State simply couldn't keep up with the Wildcats' sudden scoring.
The late surge that followed let a sellout crowd of 50,007 to relax, assured Kansas State wouldn't need more late-game antics in an opener against a middling opponent. It took a late TD pass from Klein to beat Eastern Kentucky last season.
Missouri transfer Ashton Glaser was 22 of 44 for 257 yards for the Bears, who won just two games last year and had been going through some turmoil - special teams coach Bob Montgomery resigned just 10 days ago to pursue a business opportunity.
Starting Glaser was a game-time decision for Missouri State, which had determined it would play both him and Kierra Harris no matter what happened. As it turned out, Allen made the choice to pull Glaser after the first quarter, when the Bears and Wildcats were tied at 3.
"I wasn't really shocked by it," Glaser said. "We kind of knew going in that I was going to play the first few series and Kierra was going to get a chance. He deserved it. He came out there and did everything I did all summer. We were neck and neck."
Harris didn't stay in the game long, throwing just seven passes.
The Bears had a healthy advantage in total offense by the end of the third quarter, but were done in by a couple mistakes that kept points off the board: Wide receiver Julian Burton fumbled just short of the goal line to waste a touchdown chance in the first quarter, and a dropped pass midway through the fourth wiped out another likely score.
The Wildcats started to roll with 7:06 left in the third quarter, when Klein hit Thompson in the corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass. Klein's running ability then set up Wilson's four-yard touchdown run a few minutes later to make it 23-9.
The Wildcats quickly got the ball back and Hubert scooted free for a 95-yard touchdown, the second-longest in school history. Gerald Hackney went 96 yards against Kansas on Nov. 2, 1948.
Klein added a short touchdown pass to Chris Harper before giving way to Sams, the freshman backup, and he scooted 46 yards for another touchdown. Thompson capped the scoring with his dynamic punt return in the closing minutes to make the score appear much more lopsided.
"We were able to get things corrected," Klein said. "We were better at the end of the game than we were at the start, and that's what matters."
Updated September 2, 2012