“He is a special talent and I can’t say enough about our offensive line,” Kansas State coach Chris Kleiman said. “They opened up some holes and Deuce played really well.”
Henry Colombi threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, Xavier White added 113 yards rushing and a score on 12 carries for Texas Tech, which lost its ninth game in 10 tries against the Wildcats.
“I think early in the game was maybe a little rushed in terms of his timing, but I thought he really slowed down, the game slowed down for him,” Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said of Colombi. “I thought he came in and played well.”
He had one big mistake despite an efficient performance, throwing into double coverage on a drive deep in Wildcat territory which was intercepted by Jahron McPherson late in the fourth quarter.
In his previous 69 college pass attempts, he’d only thrown one interception after being a backup at Utah State for Jordan Love, now with the Green Bay Packers.
“I just think we need to keep trusting our coaching, keep trusting our ability,” Colombi said. “There’s tons of playmakers on this team and we all play as a team. Everyone had each other’s back so just continue to trust each other and continue to get better every day.”
Both starting quarterbacks spent more time in the locker room than the field after suffering injuries in the first half.
Red Raiders QB Alan Bowman left the game after he took a hit to his right leg midway through the first quarter and didn’t return.
Halfway through the second quarter, Kansas State’s Skylar Thompson was hit and injured his right arm. He watched the second half from the sideline in a sling after going 5 of 10 for 33 yards and a passing touchdown.
Highly-touted freshman Will Howard, who took over for Thompson, completed 7 of 12 passes and looked poised in his first game as a Wildcat.
“I prepare every week like I’m the starter,” Howard said. “Skylar has helped me watching film and has been a great mentor for me so I felt ready.”
Vaughn and Howard are just two of many freshman that stepped on the field, because of injuries and that Klieman believes they can make a difference for the team this season.
“I think this is a special class,” Howard said. “The more we come together, the more we gel, and the seniors are teaching us very well.”
Kansas State (2-1, 2-0 Big 12) blocked a punt for the third straight game and took advantage two plays later with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Briley Moore which opened up the scoring. The Wildcats are the first team to block a punt in the first three games since Memphis did it in 2008.
“I’ve never been a part of that,” Kleiman said. “The players lock into the coaches design and it shows.”
It was Moore again in the fourth quarter who eluded two defenders for a 66-yard catch and the Wildcats scored on the next play on a 4-yard TD run by Harry Trotter to regain the lead 24-21.