Chris Klieman gathered his players in the locker room after a heart-stopping win at Texas Tech and challenged not his seniors, who soon would be playing their final game for Kansas State, but the rest of the guys who would be around for years to come.
The first-year coach wanted his youngsters to lay it on the line for the veterans.
Jacardia Wright ran for a touchdown, fellow freshman Joshua Youngblood returned a kickoff 93 yards for another score, and the Wildcats’ aggressive defense shut down Brock Purdy and high-flying Iowa State to win a 27-17 defensive slugfest on a cold, windy Saturday night.
The Wildcats (8-4, 5-4 Big 12) only managed 57 yards passing and 288 yards of total offense, but they scored the final 13 points while holding the Cyclones in check.
There wasn’t a whole lot of life left in the Iowa State sideline by the final whistle.
Purdy was just 15 of 30 for 185 yards passing and a touchdown, and the Cyclones (7-5, 5-4) only had 236 yards in all. Their biggest problem came in converting third downs – they were 1 of 13 – and that in turn led to a massive advantage for Kansas State in time of possession.
The result: The Wildcats beat the Cyclones for the 11th time in 12 meetings in the game known as ”Farmageddon.” They also have won seven straight in Manhattan against their fellow land-grant college.
It was Senior Day in Manhattan, but it was a freshman that provided the early fireworks.
Youngblood fielded the opening kickoff on blustery night and angled toward the Iowa State sideline, then headed up field. There was nobody in a chrome red helmet between him and the end zone, and the fleet-footed receiver cruised to his nation-leading third kick return TD of the season.