Skylar Thompson injured but Kansas State escapes Southern Illinois, 31-23

Wildcats survive first-half injury to Thompson

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (7) is helped off the field early in the game Saturday against Southern Illinois at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

MANHATTAN — The big question remains, how is Skylar Thompson?

Thompson, Kansas State's hard-luck super-senior quarterback, went down with a leg injury midway through the first quarter of the Wildcats' 31-23 victory Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Leading 21-3 in the second quarter, the Wildcats melted down before halftime to trail 23-21 at intermission as SIU scored three times in the span of two minutes. Two of the touchdowns came off turnovers, including PJ Jules 41-yard interception return for the lead.

Will Howard struggled at quarterback in relief of Skylar Thompson, but he had a big 21-yard third-down completion to Phillip Brooks on a final scoring drive that gave the Wildcats an eight-point lead with 1:57 left. Deuce Vaughn got the touchdown, his third of the game, on a 4-yard run.

SIU (1-1) had one final drive, marching to the K-State 21, but Felix Anudike came up with a strip sack of Salukis quarterback Nic Baker and Timmy Horne recovered to end the game.

K-State's defense held SIU to 111 yards total offense in pitching a second-half shutout and limited the Salukis to 276 yards for the game. They forced three turnovers, including fumbles in the last nine minutes with the game on the line.

Vaughn was the workhorse on offense with a career-high 26 carries and finished with 120 yards rushing. Malik Knowles had four catches for 112 yards, including two for 92 yards on the Wildcats' first two scoring drives.

There was no update on Thompson's status after the game. He pulled up after handing the ball to Vaughn at the SIU 4-yard line with 7:21 left in the first quarter and K-State up 7-0.

Howard came in to finish the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and led the Wildcats to a score with 9:16 left in the half before the bottom fell out. K-State took a 24-23 lead on Taiten Winkel's 34-yard field to open the second half.