Vaughn helps Kansas State run past South Dakota, 34-0

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Deuce Vaughn ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, three other Kansas State players reached the…

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Deuce Vaughn ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, three other Kansas State players reached the end zone on the ground, and the Wildcats ran their way to a 34-0 season-opening victory over South Dakota on Saturday night.

Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez, who was just 11 of 15 for 53 yards through the air, added 39 yards rushing and a touchdown for Kansas State. Malik Knowles took the opening handoff of the game 75 yards for another score, and backup running back DJ Giddens reached the end zone midway through the third quarter.

By that point, the Wildcats had built such a comfortable lead that they were probably thinking ahead to next Saturday, when former conference rival Missouri returns to Manhattan for the first time in more than a decade.

Carson Camp had 139 yards passing and an interception for the Coyotes, who couldn’t overcome an abundance of dropped passes, silly penalties and other miscues against a team that expects to contend for the Big 12 title.

The game certainly looked nothing like their 2018 meeting, when the Coyotes lost a 27-24 heartbreaker.

The Wildcats started with a bang Saturday night, but it wasn’t their high-profile transfer quarterback or star running back that stepped into the spotlight. It was Knowles, the somewhat mercurial wide receiver, who took a simple end-around and, picking up a nice block from Vaughn, raced 75 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play.

Things didn’t get any better for South Dakota.

After the Coyotes were held to a second straight three-and-out, Seth Porter got his hand on the ensuing punt and Desmond Purnell picked it up, then ran untouched 17 yards to the end zone to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

Vaughn shook free for the first time late in the first quarter, when he split the defense on a 39-yard touchdown run.

Just about the only thing that went wrong for the Wildcats, who also got a second-quarter TD from Martinez, came when Chris Tennant missed an extra point. Otherwise, their offense piled up 269 yards in the first half while their defense held the Coyotes to 99, and made a fourth-and-1 stop on South Dakota’s only promising drive.

Kansas State scored again on its first possession of the second half, when Gidden checked into the game and found a 12-yard lane to the end zone, giving the Wildcats a 34-0 lead and effectively putting the game away.

THE TAKEAWAY

South Dakota has five top-10 teams from the Football Championship Subdivision awaiting down the road. None of them will be as good as the Wildcats, so getting the experience the Coyotes did on Saturday night is bound to help.

Kansas State cruised without showing much offensively, and that bodes well for next week’s showdown against the Tigers. Martinez only took a couple shots downfield all game as the Wildcats pounded the ball and dominated the clock.

UP NEXT

South Dakota heads to Montana next Saturday.

Kansas State welcomes the Tigers back to town next Saturday.

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