The Kansas State Wildcats welcomed the South Dakota Coyotes to Manhattan on Saturday to start off their 2022 football season. After an offseason full of questions and a new quarterback at the helm, fans have been eagerly waiting for the debut of this new-look Wildcat team. The Coyotes, after hosting an FCS Playoff game last season, returned a large number of starters and are led by an efficient quarterback in Carson Camp.
There was a familiarity between the two programs, as this game marked the third time in eight seasons that these two teams have opened the season against one another. With over 50,000 fans in attendance, the Cats routed the Coyotes 34-0 in the Little Apple. With all that being said, here three thoughts following Saturday’s game.
1. The Bill Was Filled
If there was any doubt in your mind that tonight’s game wouldn’t be a typical K-State fan environment, you’d be mistaken. 50,469 was the total number of fans in attendance and you could feel it in the air. This was the first sellout at Bill Snyder Family Stadium since before the coronavirus pandemic. With all of the anticipation of the offseason surrounding senior transfer Adrian Martinez, Deuce Vaughn’s junior campaign (and likely last season in Manhattan), and the future with Chris Klieman, fans arrived early and amped up.
With 50,000 in attendance for KSU vs SD, next week against Mizzou in an old Big 12 showdown should be an incredible atmosphere in Manhattan.
2. Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
It took one play for the Cats to take a 7-0 lead on the first play of the first quarter. Malik Knowles came in motion on an end around and took the handoff 75 yards to score the first touchdown of the season for K-State. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, it didn’t get much better after that. The Wildcats showed a major emphasis on the increased use of the no-huddle offense against South Dakota and it paved the way for some big plays. Statistically speaking, running back Deuce Vaughn led the cats with 18 carriers for 126 yards and a score. Beyond Vaughn, the Cats got production from just about anyone who touched the football.
As it’s only the first week of football for both schools it’s tough to analyze K-State’s performance relative to the rest of the Big-12. K-State hosts Missouri next week at home after their 52-24 win over Louisiana Tech. If nothing else, looking at the box score of tonight’s game should provide optimism for K-State fans going into their matchup with Mizzou Sept. 10th.
3. Savage, Martinez and More
The moment fans had been eagerly waiting for came and went. With standout transfers Adrian Martinez and Kobe Savage taking the field for the first time wearing purple and white, I couldn’t help but notice how large their impact will be this year. While it was a smaller sample size for both because the game was out of reach by the third quarter, we did get to see some productive minutes and big plays from both.
With an overwhelming victory for the K-State, Wildcats fans were given some extra motivation for the foreseeable future with Adrian Martinez at the helm as he had a quiet but efficient night going 11-15 for a mere 53 yards. As next week should be a closer contest we should see more passing attempts from K-State, but as it sits right now, they are off to a solid start.