Arkansas State used a 15 yard touchdown pass with :38 seconds remaining to defeat Kansas State 35-31 at Bill Snyder Stadium on Saturday.
Coach Chris Klieman noted afterwards it wasn't the outcome the Wildcats wanted. "We didn't play particularly well. I know what the guys have gone through the last month to five weeks trying to prepare to play. And we can't make excuses, the guys that played we're counting on to play and have success."
K-Stated jumped out to a 21-7 first half lead but using a halfback pass and pass off of a fake punt the Red Wolves came back to take a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter. Kansas State drove the field to tie the game 28-28 and jumped ahead on a 35-yard field goal by Blake Lynch to make it 31-28.
Arkansas State then drove downfield for the winning score. In the closing seconds K-State had one last possession but could not score.
Klieman said he told the players in the locker room after the game that this is the type of adversity the Wildcats will face all year. "Not knowing who's going to be in, who's going to be out, but that's reality, that's the hand we're dealt and you have to be prepared to tee it up and play." The coach added he appreciated the resolve of the players, however. "I appreciate a number of guys that probably didn't anticipate playing. Even though we knew the guys that were out we had a lot of guys get banged up in the game that had to step up." For example the Wildcats got down to their third team center and third team safety but Klieman observed that they did a great job.
COVID-19 precautions were in place at the stadium with temperature checks in place and attendance limited. Total attendance was calculated at 11,041 fans. Klieman said he was nervous up until late Friday afternoon that K-State would even play the game.
K-State travels to Oklahoma Sept. 26 and hosts Texas Tech Oct. 3.