MANHATTAN (AP) — Jesse Ertz threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns in only three quarters of work, sending No. 20 Kansas State to a 55-19 rout of overmatched Central Arkansas on Saturday night.
Byron Pringle had three catches for 121 yards and a score, and Isaiah Harris had three catches for 118 yards and a TD, as seven different Wildcats reached the end zone. That helped them overcome a shaky night by their rebuilt defense and give coach Bill Snyder another season-opening win.
Snyder, who underwent treatment for throat cancer in the offseason, looked as energetic as ever on the sideline in his familiar purple wind breaker, barking at players and officials alike all night.
The 77-year-old coach had plenty to bark about, too.
Hayden Hildebrand threw for 198 yards and a touchdown for Central Arkansas, one of the top teams in the Football Championship Subdivision. Carlos Blackman added 114 yards on the ground.
The Bears played the Wildcats to a 10-10 draw through the first quarter, but Isaiah Zuber’s TD reception and D.J. Reed’s 62-yard punt return score blew the game open. Dalton Schoen’s 70-yard TD made it 38-16 at halftime, and the high-flying Wildcats never looked back.
Snyder even emptied the benches in the fourth quarter, giving backup quarterback Skylar Thompson a chance to shine. He engineered a touchdown drive that Dalvin Warmack capped with a nifty run.
Central Arkansas: The Bears returned 18 starters from a 10-win team, so it wasn’t a surprise that they made things tough on Kansas State early. But they didn’t have enough speed, size or depth to hang with a team that many think could contend for a Big 12 championship.
Kansas State: There were plenty of teaching points after this one, regardless of the score. The defense blew too many coverages and gave up too many yards, and the defensive line was often manhandled by the Bears up front. The offense stunned Central Arkansas through the air, but touted running back Alex Barnes was held to 29 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Central Arkansas visits fellow FCS school Murray State next Saturday night.
Kansas State plays Charlotte next Saturday before hitting the road to Vanderbilt.
No. 20 Kansas St. 55,
Cent. Arkansas 19
Cent. Arkansas 10 6 3 0—19
Kansas St. 10 28 10 7—55
KST—Barnes 1 run (McCrane kick), 13:58
UCA—FG Cummins 47, 10:39
KST—FG McCrane 53, 4:41
UCA—Cox 37 run (Cummins kick), 1:27
KST—Zuber 8 pass from Ertz (McCrane kick), 13:34
UCA—Gordon 7 pass from Hildebrand (kick failed), 8:53
KST—Pringle 55 pass from Ertz (McCrane kick), 5:38
KST—Reed 62 punt return (McCrane kick), 3:39
KST—Schoen 70 pass from Ertz (McCrane kick), :17
KST—FG McCrane 28, 10:22
UCA—FG Cummins 39, 3:03
KST—I.Harris 69 pass from Ertz (McCrane kick), 2:45
KST—Warmack 18 run (McCrane kick), 12:35
First downs 28 16
Rushes-yards 55-227 31-186
Passing 198 333
Comp-Att-Int 27-35-1 10-16-0
Return Yards 35 218
Punts-Avg. 3-13.66 0-null
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-15 6-58
T.O.P. 37:13 22:47
RUSHING—Cent. Arkansas, Blackman 24-114, Cox 3-41, Crossley 12-31, Ledet 4-21, Wells 2-16, Hildebrand 9-3, Battle 1-1. Kansas St., Thompson 3-49, Ertz 7-35, Warmack 4-33, Barnes 9-29, Pringle 1-15, McCoy 4-14, Burns 3-11.
PASSING—Cent. Arkansas, Hildebrand 27-35-1-198. Kansas St., Ertz 10-16-0-333.
RECEIVING—Cent. Arkansas, Wells 6-41, Myers 4-12, Dillard 3-32, Gordon 3-21, Nix 3-19, J.Moore 2-34, Cox 2-18, Crossley 1-16, Dexter 1-8, Blackman 1-(minus 1), Dw.Smith 1-(minus 2). Kansas St., Pringle 3-121, I.Harris 3-118, Zuber 2-19, Schoen 1-70, Dimel 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Kansas St., McCrane 50.