MANHATTAN, Kan. — It only took Kansas State a half to dismantle Missouri State on Saturday night.
Good thing, too.
They didn’t get a second half.
Jesse Ertz threw two touchdown passes, Winston Dimel added two touchdown runs and the Wildcats beat Missouri State 35-0 in a game called at halftime as lightning lit up the skies around Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
With rain having already lashed the area and more lightning on the way, Kansas State (2-1) made quick work of the overmatched Bears (2-1). The Wildcats jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and added three more touchdowns by halftime to make it an easy choice to call the game complete.
“Well, yes, I do (want to finish),” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, “and coach (Dave) Steckel also wanted to do so. Probably the hard part for them is they wanted to stay in there and compete … but I guess there is more weather coming.”
Ertz was 7 of 8 for 94 yards with TD passes to Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath, and the junior quarterback also ran for 85 yards on just three carries in a Collin Klein-esque performance.
Ertz gave way to backup Alex Delton late in the first half with the game well in hand, and Snyder was encouraged by his starting quarterback’s third game of the season.
“I think he’s making progress. I think last week was far better than the first one,” Snyder said. “He stayed in the pocket when he needed to. He brought it down and flushed when he needed to.”
Kansas State tight end Dayton Valentine deserved at least an assist on the TD pass to Pringle, what was most certainly the play of the game. The big tight end tipped the pass from Ertz as he fell backward into the end zone, and Pringle darted past him to pluck it out of the air.
Charles Jones also had a TD run for Kansas State, which has outscored its last two opponents 98-7 after a season-opening loss to Stanford. But Jones hardly saw the field after his touchdown, which was upheld when he appeared to drop the ball to celebrate just as he crossed the goal line.
Missouri State played without starting quarterback Breck Ruddick, who was suspended late Friday night for what Steckel would only call “conduct detrimental to the team.”
It was unclear whether the suspension is related to a Facebook posting from an unidentified woman who alleges Ruddick beat her friend’s dog this week. The school did not discuss the suspension, though athletic director Kyle Moats said in a statement that he supported the decision.
“I’m not going to comment on the situation,” Steckel said, “but thank you for asking the question.”
Kansas State made life miserable for Ruddick’s replacements.
Brodie Lambert and Michael Briggs were a combined 3 for 12 for 24 yards with an interception, and Missouri State only managed four first downs and 54 yards of offense in the first half.
“As a backup quarterback you always have to be prepared,” Lambert said. “You’re always one snap away from being in there, so it wasn’t a shock that I had to go in. Being a senior I had to be prepared to go out and execute.”
Dimel also had four touchdowns on the ground in last week’s romp over Florida Atlantic, giving the Kansas State fullback 12 for his career. He finished Saturday night with seven carries for 19 yards and had two receptions for 19 more yards.
Missouri State: The Bears don’t have to play anymore Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. And they got a nice paycheck for their trip to Manhattan.
Kansas State: The Wildcats once again dominated on defense. They have not allowed an opponent to gain more than 300 yards in their first three games.
Missouri State: The Bears begin Missouri Valley Conference play at Indiana State.
Kansas State: The Wildcats open their Big 12 schedule next Saturday at West Virginia. The Mountaineers have yet to defeat coach Bill Snyder’s team since joining the league in 2012.