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Hubert, Kansas State run over UMass for 37-7 win

9/15/2013

MANHATTAN (AP) —

Plugged up through its first two games and stripped of its offensive

identity, Kansas State finally found some room to run against

Massachusetts on Saturday night.

John Hubert scampered for 118

yards, Kip Daily returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown

and the Wildcats rolled to a 37-7 victory in their final tuneup before

Big 12 play.

"We made it our business to be effective in the

ground game," said Robert Rose, who added a 26-yard touchdown run during

a big second quarter. "This is K-State. We run the ball."

That

hadn't been the case in a loss to North Dakota State and a lackluster

win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Wildcats (2-1) struggled to find room

against what should have been a pair of over-matched foes, and were

instead forced to throw the ball all over the yard.

On Saturday night, they were finally able to use the passing game to offset the run.

Jake

Waters threw for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and backup Daniel Sams

completed the only two passes he threw. That opened things up for the

ground game, which piled up 329 yards.

"You go into the game with

the idea that you want some balance with what you do, and defenses

dictate which direction you go, and that was true tonight," Kansas State

coach Bill Snyder said.

"After the first drive, we had some opportunities to have some success running the ball."

A.J.

Doyle threw for 186 yards for the Minutemen (0-3), getting the start at

quarterback in place of fellow sophomore Mike Wegzyn. Tajae Sharpe

caught nine passes for 98 yards, and Stacey Bedell ran for 81 yards and

their only touchdown.

"That was definitely a very, very good football team that we played," UMass

coach Charley Molnar said. "It's not a juggernaut, but it's really

good. We knew we needed to play a perfect game in order to hang with

these guys."

In reality, things went askew right from the start.

Daily

stepped in front of Doyle's second pass of the game, picked it off and

returned it 38 yards for a score. It was the second straight week Kansas

State returned an interception for a TD.

UMass

settled down and answered with a 16-play, 77-yard drive that chewed up

most of the first quarter, but it ended with a blocked field goal —

another strike against perfection. Eventually, the Minutemen got the

ball back again and Bedell's touchdown run gave them a 7-6 lead,

silencing a festive crowd of 52,958 — the sixth biggest in school

history.

The Wildcats managed just 33 yards of offense in the first quarter.

They

finally got cranking in the 15 minutes before halftime. Sams took over

at quarterback for Waters and led them on a bruising 75-yard drive that

he capped with his TD run. Waters tagged back into the game and led an

81-yard drive that Rose finished off with his touchdown run.

Both of those drives were spent entirely on the ground.

"We

were just doing what we do," Sams said. "We didn't really go into the

game thinking we were going to run it more or pass it more. We were just

going with what was working."

Kansas State forced UMass

to punt with less than 2 minutes left in the half and took advantage of

kick catch interference for some good field position. Five plays later,

Waters found Hubert all alone in broken coverage for a 43-yard scoring

strike and a 27-7 lead at the break.

The Wildcats pushed the game out of reach on their first possession of the second half.

Hubert

ran on six of their first seven plays, the 5-foot-7 bowling ball

trucking his way forward for first downs. That softened up the Minutemen

defense, and fullback Glenn Gronkowski — the brother of Patriots tight

end Rob Gronkowski — got loose over the middle of the field. Waters hit

him with a little jump pass that he took 50 yards for his first career

score.

The Minutemen never finished off another drive after the

first quarter, even though they moved the ball well at times against a

porous Kansas State defensive front.

A false start penalty

scuttled one drive near midfield, and Daily's second interception of the

game ended another in the third quarter. Lorenzo Woodley was stuffed on

fourth down deep in Kansas State territory on UMass's final possession

of the game.

"We've just got to keep pounding away at the rock,"

Doyle said. "One of these days the rock is going to explode and we're

going to put up 35, 40 or 45 points a game. It's going to be a scary

thing to see. We've just got to keep pounding away and pounding away."