100-yard kickoff return sparks K-State past Texas Tech 30-27
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Joshua Youngblood’s longest run on Saturday night was the longest possible, 100 yards. Skylar Thompson’s was 17. Both runs played huge roles in Kansas State’s win over Texas Tech.
Youngblood raced from end zone to end zone for a kickoff-return touchdown and Thompson ran for a key first down in the closing minutes as the Wildcats held off the Red Raiders 30-27.
Thompson passed for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Blake Lynch kicked two 32-yard field goals and a 43-yarder for Kansas State (7-4, 4-4 Big 12), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Youngblood fielded the kickoff one yard deep in the end zone midway through the third quarter, ran up the right side and covered the final 40 yards running just inches inside the right sideline, eluding multiple defenders.
“I really didn’t have to do too much,” Youngblood said. “It was there; all the blocks were there.”
“The kickoff return, the touch, may have been the difference in the ballgame,” first-year Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said.
Kansas State was protecting a 3-point lead with three minutes to play when Thompson dropped back on third-and-11 at K-State’s 24-yard line, and took a quarterback draw for 17 yards toward midfield with Tech double teaming the Wildcats’ top receiver, Dalton Schoen. Kansas State converted one more first down to clinch the win.
“Skylar did a great job of letting it clear and then making a guy miss,” first-year Wildcats coach Chris Klieman said.
“I was like, this is going to be either really good or really bad because they’re blitzing everybody,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s touchdown passes were 14 yards to Phillip Brooks in the third quarter and 48 yards to Chabastin Taylor midway in the fourth quarter.
SaRodorick Thompson had a 5-yard touchdown run and Jett Duffey passed for 334 yards and two touchdowns for Texas Tech (4-7, 2-6) which fell short of bowl eligibility.
“This loss solidifying the fact that we can’t make a bowl game is really heart breaking, really devastating,” Texas Tech’s Adrian Frye said.
Duffey’s touchdown passes were 21 yards to Erik Ezukanma and 58 yards to R.J. Turner. Trey Wolff kicked field goals of 44 and 27 yards for the Red Raiders.
Youngblood, a freshman who went into play leading the conference averaging 29.5 yards per kickoff return, had a 98-yarder for a touchdown against Texas on Nov. 9. Kansas State has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season.
Kansas State went into play with a perfectly balanced offense (192.5 yards passing, 191.1 yards rushing) and won with passing yardage that nearly doubled its running (246-126).
FAKE PUNTS BY LAND AND AIR
Texas Tech faked two punts, converting one for a first down, with neither resulting in points.
Trailing by three late in the first half, the Red Raiders had fourth- and-4 at their 46. The ball was snapped to redshirt freshman lineman Jaylon Hutchings, who was tackled a yard short. Kansas State turned that into a 45-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the half, but Lynch’s kick went right.
With Kansas State leading 30-20 midway through the fourth quarter, Tech faced fourth-and-6 at its 42. Punter Austin McNamara passed to a wide-open Ezukanma for 34 yards to Kansas State’s 10. But on the next play, Duffey was intercepted in the end zone by Denzel Goolsby.
Klieman tied the school record for wins by a first-year coach. ... Lynch’s miss was his first since the season opener against Nicholls and snapped a streak of 15. ... The paid attendance of 50,117 in the home finale was Tech’s lowest this season. ... The final attendance average of 53,418 is the Red Raiders’ lowest since 2009. .... The Red Raiders lost four games by three points or fewer for the first time since 1985, when they lost four by two points or fewer.
Kansas State: The Wildcats rebounded nicely following last week’s home loss against West Virginia after which some players said they took the Mountaineers lightly. After finishing tied for eighth place in the Big 12 in Bill Snyder’s final season, they can finish tied for third.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders aren’t going to a bowl for the second straight season. That hasn’t happened since the 1990-92 seasons in the Southwest Conference under Spike Dykes.
Kansas State: Will host Iowa State next Saturday.
Texas Tech: Will finish its season Friday at Texas, where it has won on its last two trips.
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