(Courtesy: K-State Athletics)
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State football fans got their first taste of what their 2013 Wildcats will look like on Saturday at the annual Purple-White Spring Game. The game ended with a 41-38 victory for White after the score was reversed at halftime, with the first string offense and defense playing for the Purple and second stringers on White.
Quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams shined as the duo combined for 699 yards of total offense and eight combined touchdowns, while splitting time between the two squads in the first half and then trading possessions for the Purple in the second half.
Purple was in control of the game on offense with 855 yards of total offense against the White defense. Sams completed 18-of-28 passes for 391 yards with four touchdowns and one interception for Purple, and Waters also was efficient on a 14-of-18 performance throwing for 249 yards and three TDs. Sams also ran for 28 yards with Purple including one touchdown and one 2-point conversion.
Robert Rose was the star running the ball with 141 yards to average 8.3 yards per carry for Purple. He also had one touchdown run, and his longest carry of the day was 33 yards.
Three different receivers surpassed 100 yards for Purple with Tyler Lockett leading the way. The speedster had nine catches for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns. His longest reception came on the first play of a drive to reach the endzone on a 76-yard play. Tramaine Thompson had 161 yards receiving on six catches and two scores, while Torell Miller was an early target often before finishing the day with five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
After forcing the White squad to punt after six plays, Waters led Purple down the field, capping a seven-play, 80-yard drive as he scampered in from seven yards out for the first score of the game. The opening drive was highlighted by a 33-yard run from the senior Rose.
Purple’s defense again turned up the pressure, this time forcing White into a three-and-out. Waters again took control of the offense, leading his team on a nine-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Waters connected with Thompson for a 35-yard touchdown pass with just over nine minutes left in the opening period. After one quarter, Purple led White, 14-0.
To start the second quarter, Sams switched from White to Purple at quarterback, and immediately made an impact on his new squad, finding fellow Louisiana native Miller for a 55-yard touchdown score. Purple’s drive was a quick one, spanning five plays and 93 yards.
Sams kept Purple’s offensive momentum going as he added back-to-back scores, including a 21-yard touchdown strike to Thompson and a 10-yard touchdown keeper to open the Purple lead to 35-0. Following another White three-and-out, Sams led the Purple team into the White red zone, this time capped off by a 24-yard field goal from Jack Cantele just before the half.
As with the three previous Purple-White spring games, the score was reversed at halftime to reflect White in front, 38-0. Waters started the Purple comeback effort as he found Lockett open down the left sideline for a 76-yard touchdown. Three and a half minutes later, Waters found Glenn Gronkowski with a shovel pass from seven yards out for his third touchdown pass of the game.
With one quarter left to play, White led Purple, 38-14.
The start of the fourth quarter was more of the same as the Purple offense moved the ball down the field with little resistance, as Sams guided Purple down the field on a six-play 65-yard drive, with Rose punching it in from four yards out.
Once again, Purple forced White into a short possession as Purple’s defense limited the White squad to only 183 yards of total offense with only 62 passing yards.
Sams took immediate advantage of the quick turnaround as he found Lockett in the back corner of the end zone from 38 yards out. Lockett made a highlight-reel grab to pull the Purple within 10 points. Sams would then carry the ball in on a 2-point conversion to make it 38-30 in favor of White with just under 12 minutes to play.
The White team earned its first points of the game midway through the fourth quarter when Cantele kicked a 51-yard field goal to pull ahead 41-30. The field goal could have been a much shorter attempt but quarter back Kody Cook was called for intentional grounding on third down losing 14 yards on the play.
Sams would lead Purple down the field on another scoring drive, this time with assistance from Rose as he had multiple slashing runs to keep the defense at bay. Miller would get his second touchdown reception of the day on a fade route to the corner. He was just able to keep his feet inbounds on the three-yard touchdown catch from Sams. Purple would then use a 2-point conversion to pull within three points trailing 41-38 after a catch by McDonald on a quick slant.
With 3:44 to play White would attempt to run out the clock holding its three-point lead. On third and one, Adam Weber ran for four yards to move the chains. After three more plays, White punted with 28 seconds left on the clock to give Purple one last chance.
Purple made a valiant effort with a 29-yard pass from Sams to Kyle Klein on the first play of the drive, and a last Hail Mary attempt was intercepted at the 5-yard line to end the game, 41-38 White.
With a 2012 Big 12 Championship trophy now on display in the Vanier Football Complex, fans and Head Coach Bill Snyder all have high expectations for the fall, and fans can purchase season tickets now for 2013 with ticket options starting at $200.
Payment plans are available to divide the cost into affordable monthly payments. Single-game tickets are also available for purchase as well as combo packages. Two different combo packages can be purchased for $90 with one offering tickets to the Iowa State and Oklahoma games and another package with tickets to the Baylor, Louisiana or UMass games and West Virginia or TCU games.
For more information on purchasing season tickets or single-game tickets please contact the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-221-CATS (2287) or go online to kstatesports.com/tickets. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Ticket Office located in Bramlage Coliseum.