By KELLIS ROBINETT
The Kansas City Star
Key play: North Dakota State QB Brock Jensen connected with Ryan Smith for the game’s first touchdown, giving the Bison a 7-0 lead it would maintain throughout the first quarter.
Key stat: K-State gained five rushing yards in five attempts.
Key play: North Dakota State dropped what would have been a sure touchdown pass and missed a short field goal on the same drive, ensuring the half would end in a tie.
Key stat: K-State gained 14 yards in seven rushing attempts.
Key play: Jake Waters hit Tyler Lockett deep for a 56-yard touchdown pass that gave K-State a 14-7 lead soon after halftime.
Key stat: After three quarters, K-State out-gained North Dakota State by one yard, 303 to 302.
Key play: Jensen scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final moments, giving North Dakota State the win.
Key stat: North Dakota State converted four third downs on its final drive.
Player of the game: North Dakota State running back Sam Ojuri, who rushed for 128 yards, giving the Bison key first downs and allowing them to control the clock.
Reason to hope: North Dakota State might be the strongest opponent on K-State’s nonconference schedule. The next two should be easier.
Reason to mope: Losing to a team from a lower division, regardless of skill or multiple national championships, is never good.
Looking ahead: K-State will try to bounce back against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that returns many starters and will try to duplicate what North Dakota State accomplished.
| Kellis Robinett, firstname.lastname@example.org
|B||Offense||The passing game was strong. Other than an ill-advised interception by Jake Waters in the second quarter, he had a good debut. Waters’ long touchdown passes to Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett will be shown on highlight reels all season. But John Hubert, and K-State’s rushing attack as a whole, was sub-par. The offensive line struggled all night.|
|C+||Defense||K-State didn’t surrender many big plays, but it also failed to mount a consistent pass rush. Dante Barnett had a nice game, which featured an interception. Overall, K-State allowed too much yardage over the middle.|
|B||Special teams||The Wildcats pinned North Dakota State deep with some good punts, but also allowed yardage on returns.|
|C-||Coaching||The offense started slow and the defense couldn’t stop North Dakota State on third downs in the fourth quarter. North Dakota State had a better gameplan.|