Purple Passes Past White for 31-28 Victory in Kansas State Spring Game

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – (Courtesy: Kansas State Athletics) On Tuesday, K-State senior Dalton Schoen fielded questions about the depth of the Wildcats’ receiving corps, hinting at a balanced effort rather than relying on a go-to guy for production. In Saturday’s Purple/White Spring Game, K-State showed a little of both. Fifteen different receivers caught a combined 44 passes – including six for touchdowns – as the Purple outlasted the White, 31-28, under rainy conditions and temperatures in the low 40s at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

In quantity, K-State racked up a combined 515 yards – 293 from the Purple and 222 from the White – and saw four different players catch five or more passes for either side, including a game-high nine catches from Landry Weber, who split duties between the two squads. Chabastin Taylornearly led the White team to a win, hauling in five catches for 118 yards, including two impressive touchdown grabs in the first half to give the White team a 21-14 halftime edge. On the Purple side, Adam Harter nabbed seven passes for 60 yards and a score and Zach Reuter caught five balls for 75 yards and a game-best two scores.

The guys getting them the ball weren’t bad either as Alex Delton – 21-of-28 for 201 yards – and Skylar Thompson – 15-of-22 for 204 yards – threw TD strikes for both sides and accounted for five of the six total TD passes thrown in the contest.

On defense, White team defensive back Brock Monty tallied 14 stops, including 11 solo tackles, to lead all players and was one of four players from the defensive secondary among the top four leading tacklers on either side as the offenses aired it out. Purple defensive back Wayne Jones logged the only interception of the afternoon, ending the White team’s opening drive of the second half prior to the game-tying scoring drive.  

For a second-straight year, the White team opened the scoring in the game with an 11-play, 78-yard drive that was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Delton to Taylor with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Delton found Taylor open at the 12 -yard line and the redshirt freshman spun off a quartet of defenders at the eight before scooting in for an impressive score.

The quarterbacks traded teams the next possession and, after a Purple drive ended on a missed field goal, Thompson drove the White team 69 yards in four plays that ended when he hit Weber on a 14-yard pass in the front left corner on the end zone to extend the score to 14-0, 44 seconds into the second quarter.

Alex Barnes zig-zagged through the line and second level for a 13-yard scamper near the midpoint of the second quarter to put the Purple side on the board. It was part of a 94-yard day, the highest tally of any back in the contest, for K-State’s returning leading rusher.

Taylor pushed the White lead back to two scores with another stunning grab, this time over the top of a defender at the five to complete a 45-yard pitch-and-catch from Hunter Hall with a little more than six minutes left in the first half.

The Purple team wouldn’t be denied before half as Delton connected with a streaking Zach Reuter over the middle with less than 20 seconds before the break to pull Purple within seven at 21-14 at half.

In the second half, Purple continued their surge when Jones intercepted Hall to end the White’s opening drive, then Thompson unleashed a 50-yard strike to Schoen to move deep into White territory. It would take eight more plays to move into the end zone, but the quick-strike-turned-methodical-drive found paydirt when Thompson hit Harter for an 11-yard strike in the flat, a ball the big man caught with one hand off his back shoulder before diving across the goalline to even the tally at 21-21.

On the ensuing drive, White was looking for a fresh set of downs, and handed off to Luke Sowa facing fourth and two, but the community-college transfer fullback hit the hole and scooted up the middle for a 39-yard score, the second of just two rushing scores in the game. That score pushed the White ahead again, 28-21, with 5:33 left in the quarter.

Purple pulled even at the close of the third quarter when Delton again found Reuter, this time from 18 yards out to cap a 12-play, 75-yard drive.

In the fourth quarter, the Purple defense forced the first three-and-out and the game’s first punt, then Blake Lynch connected on 44-yard try – the first successful try by three different kickers – to push Purple ahead, 31-28, with 10 minutes to play.

Purple’s defense toughened up again near midfield on the next drive. It took the White three tries from the 50 to get the yard needed for a first down, then a sack on the next play and a short pass gave White a third-and-long. A screen pass following a timeout went incomplete and White had to punt again.

Delton and Harter ran out the remaining 4:21 with the help of the Purple side to walk off with a 31-28 victory.

K-State, which returns 36 letterwinners and 14 starters from last year’s 8-5 squad, opens the 2018 campaign with the 10th-annual K-State Family Reunion against South Dakota on Saturday, September 1, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Single-game tickets for the 2018 season go on sale online only for Ahearn Fund Members at www.k-statesports.com/tickets on July 9, and for the general public on July 12.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Head Coach Bill Snyder

On redshirt freshman wide receiver Chabastin Taylor…

“He has been up and down. It is kind of a roller coaster with him. He is a young guy. It is a new process for him, a new system. You can see he has got some skill. Physically he can play the game. He has just got to learn to get into the system and the process. He has to learn how much of an investment it takes in order to prepare you for those things. He has made some headway and he played well today. His practices in the past week improved over previous practices. Hopefully that is a sign for the future. It is just going to depend about his investment during the course of the summer.”

On the number one defense…

“It was porous at times. It was good and bad. It is not about the offense and it is not about the defense as much as it is about the individuals. The offense and defense is watered down considerably. There are a lot of restrictions places on what they do and what they do not do. Again, it is about individuals more than anything. I thought some of them stepped up and played well. I hoped that they would.”

On junior running back Alex Barnes…

“He is a good young guy that has played well for us. I thought he played well today. He made some individual plays but it is not anything that I have not seen before. It is not anything that we do not expect from him.”

On junior quarterback Alex Delton…

“I think he has gotten better. Most of our guys have in the course of the spring. You allude to how he acts and reacts in the pocket and I do not have any major concerns about that. He brought the ball out in what most people would call scrambles or flushes. What I have said numerous times, yards-per-carry, that has been over a large number of years the best football play we have played. When the guys are scrambling back there that does not mean I am disappointed in them. If you take a loss which I think Skylar (Thompson) did on one snap and (Nick) Ast did on another, that gets me more concerned. That is the time to get rid of the ball and make sure you do not take those major loss yardage plays.”

On how the team played…

“I cannot assess our ones or our twos collectively as a whole because we have a lot of people watching that would not normally be there and they would normally be on the field. That has some impact on how they do collectively as a unit. Things are watered down so much that it is not about the one and two offense and defense. It is about individuals and how they perform in the course of the ball game. That is the way I assess it.”

Junior Quarterback Alex Delton

On the game…

“I felt good. As an offense we showed great signs of improvement today. It was a good way to end spring ball.”

On his performance individually…

“I felt like I did some good things and some very positive things. I managed the game well and didn’t take loss of yardage plays. I also had some guys around me who made some big plays. Chabastian (Taylor) made a short route into a touchdown. Zach Reuter helped me out quite a bit today. So individually I felt like I played pretty well today but you have to give a lot of credit to the receivers and my offensive line.”

On having a competitive game…

“It was a lot of fun. The whole spring you want to compete. It was kind of different for me because I switched between White and Purple as quarterback. Anytime out there though you want to compete and put points on the board. Today we threw for a bunch of yards and were showing what we could do as an offense. The receivers stepped up and played well. We completed a lot of our passes and we are definitely taking the right steps forward.”

Sophomore Quarterback Skylar Thompson

On the game…

“We had a good time out there. We definitely did a good job on offense today. Like I stated earlier in the week our offense was really basic today and basically vanilla. Coaches wanted to focus on executing and just doing the little things.”

On his performance individually…

“I thought I played solid today. Which is exactly how I wanted to play. I wanted to come out today, execute, manage the game well, score touchdowns and have fun doing it, I did all those things.”

On improvement from last year…

“It is really a night and day difference. They put the play calling in our hands. Last year if that was the case I would have been out there and my mind would have went blank at times and not known what to do. It was kind of mind boggling a little bit. This year there were a lot of times where I did not need to look at my wristband. I just kind of knew what I needed to do.”

Junior Defensive Tackle Trey Dishon

On the spring…

“I was pretty excited to get going in the spring. I think I have had a pretty good spring. Just improving on my pass rush and consistency. I would say that my work ethic has been pretty solid and consistent throughout the offseason. I am pretty excited to step up into that role and attempt to fill the shoes of Will Geary.”

On the defensive line…

“We have some guys that are working with the ones and twos. We have a long rotation right now, as you saw today. We had a couple guys stepping in with the ones and playing. We do have some more guys coming in the summer to compete for these d-tackle positions. I am excited to compete with these new guys transferring in and see the competition. It is going to be fun.”

Senior Defensive Back Duke Shelley

On the defense this spring…

“I think the defense as a whole played pretty solid today. We had a few blips here and there but for the most part we played pretty solid. We will be more aggressive and you will see the cornerbacks go up and press a little bit more.”

On redshirt freshman wide receiver Chabastin Taylor…

“He is a great guy. I have known he could do this and he showed us flashes of that in practice throughout the week. I am really happy for him and I am glad to see him come out there today and show you guys what he can do. Look forward for him in the fall. He definitely has a big play capacity.”

Junior Linebacker Elijah Sullivan

On changes due to new coaching staff…

“I don’t think anything is too much different, it’s always the same standard. Come in do your job, no nonsense type deal. Keeping business casual.”

On playing with fellow linebacker Da’Quan Patton…

“He’s a great young player out there. He flies around, and he can hit somebody, too. It’s great having him next to me.”

Redshirt Freshman Wide Receiver Landry Weber

On his personal performance in the spring game…

“I feel like I had a good day and showed them my capabilities. It was a great opportunity to show them what I’ve been working on this off-season and this spring.”

On his first catch in the spring game…

“It always is a good feeling to get the first one out of the way. It gets you rolling a little bit to get comfortable playing in a game situation instead of practice.”

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