Kansas State tops Louisiana Tech 39-33 in 3OT
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Joe Hubener spent the week focusing on consistently completing short passes, only to have two of his deep balls to make the difference against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Hubener threw three touchdown passes, including a 31-yard strike to Kody Cook on third and 16 in triple overtime, and Kansas State survived a scare against the Bulldogs, 39-33.
''It's ironic, but I have to be able to throw long and short,'' Hubener said. ''I put a lot of emphasis on short throws this week and I think for the most part they were better.''
Hubener completed 15 of 26 passes for 195 yards. Justin Silmon gained 114 yards on 24 carries, becoming the first Kansas State running back since 2013 to break the century mark.
Kansas State (3-0) and Louisiana Tech (1-2) traded scores in overtime, including a 44-yard field goal by Jack Cantele to force the third overtime. The Bulldogs forced overtime with a 45-yard field goal as time expired after driving the length of the field in 1:16.
''For them to drive,'' Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said, ''have that 90-yard drive at the end, just to get the game into overtime - you've got no timeouts, you're on your own 9-yard line, the clock's running - some of the plays those guys made to get it into overtime (were great).''
Jeff Driskel led Louisiana Tech, throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown, and rushing for two more scores. Trent Taylor had 12 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown in the near-upset.
''We're a talented group,'' Driskel said. ''We came in with a game plan, a solid game plan, where we were going to take some underneath routes and stuff like that. They changed up what they were doing defensively schematically, and we had to adjust on the fly, but thought we made some plays.''
Kansas State concludes nonconference play without a loss for the first time in three years. It wasn't easy, though, as the offense proved ineffective for much of the game.
However, Silmon provided a lift in the rushing attack, including 58 yards on a crucial scoring drive late in the third quarter. Catches by Cook capped two scoring drives, including a one-handed grab to tie the game late in the third quarter.
''I just try to be ready so when my name is called I can be prepared to help the offense,'' Silmon said. ''If that's the role I have, I'm fine with it. Any way I can help the offense.''
A long punt return and fumble in regulation gave Kansas State an opportunity to rally.
Louisiana Tech grabbed momentum late in the second quarter when Driskel walked into the end zone on a naked bootleg on fourth and goal from the half-yard line to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
It was the first touchdown allowed by Kansas State this season.
The Bulldogs led 20-13 midway through the fourth quarter when Kansas State returner Dominic Heath ran back a punt 58 yards to the 7-yard line. Charles Jones tied the game two plays later on a 2-yard run.
Consecutive field goals sent the game to overtime.
In overtime, Hubener squeezed a 22-yard pass through three defenders into the arms of Heath. Driskel responded with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Trent Taylor.
Two overtime periods later, Hubener sent the purple-clad crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium home happy with the game-winning heave to Cook, who came to Kansas State as a quarterback.
''I'm proud of them,'' Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said. ''This group of young guys has not been in that situation before. Through heck and high water, they managed to carve their way through it. I'm not sure exactly how, but they did.''