Sep 4, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Skylar Thompson (7) rolls out in the third quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State, Southern Illinois look to build on strong debuts

Kansas State will kick off the home portion of its schedule Saturday night against FCS opponent Southern Illinois in Manhattan, Kan.

Both teams are coming off impressive victories. Kansas State (1-0) shut down Stanford’s offense in a 24-7 win last Saturday in Arlington, Texas. While the Cardinal were breaking in two new quarterbacks after Davis Webb was drafted by the Houston Texans, the Wildcats left both Stanford QBs wondering what hit them.

Southern Illinois (1-0), ranked No. 8 in this week’s FCS Top 25, is coming off a 47-21 victory at Southeast Missouri State last Thursday night. The Salukis had 553 yards of total offense, including a school-record 460 passing yards from Nic Baker. Baker earned Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Baker hit wide receiver Avante Cox with a 99-yard touchdown pass for the first TD of the season.

“I think (Baker) proved to everybody why he can be an elite player in this league, this country,” SIU head coach Nick Hill said. “Each week will create different challenges and obviously the next game is a huge challenge for us going to a Power Five opponent (Kansas State), so we just have to keep growing as a team.”

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman has plenty of experience in beating FCS opponents. He was the head coach at North Dakota State, where he went 69-6 and won four national championships in his five years at the helm. He will have his team prepared.

Kansas State’s defense was spectacular against Stanford, holding the Cardinal to 233 yards of total offense (39 rushing). A late drive gave the Cardinal their only points. Linebackers Daniel Green and Cody Fletcher combined for 17 tackles and a sack, while defensive backs Russ Yeast and TJ Smith each recorded an interception.

The Wildcats’ offense was solid on the ground, though quarterback Skylar Thompson was not as crisp as he had hoped he’d be in his first game since October 2020 when he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

“I thought it was a good win,” Thompson said after the game. “I feel like there’s more in the tank, though. I feel like I did some good things, but I felt like as an offense as a whole, we left a lot out there today, and that’s very encouraging moving forward.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison head coach Matt Entz reacts to a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Illinois halts North Dakota State’s 39-game winning streak

Small-college powerhouse North Dakota State saw its FCS-record 39-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday when it was routed 38-14 by Southern Illinois in Missouri Valley play at Carbondale, Ill.

It was the first setback for the top-ranked Bison since a 33-21 road loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 4, 2017. North Dakota State (2-1, 1-1 MVC) has won the past three FCS titles and eight of the last nine.

“We didn’t show up and play very well,” Bison coach Matt Entz said after the loss. “There was not any position group that played well.”

Nic Baker passed for 254 yards and one touchdown in his first career start for the Salukis (2-1, 1-1).

“The talk before the game was that, in life, you just don’t get many opportunities like this,” Salukis coach Nick Hill said. “You get an opportunity to knock off the No. 1 team in the country and do something that leaves a legacy. This game will be recognized for a long time.”

It marks the second time the Salukis have defeated a No. 1-ranked team. They beat host Western Kentucky 31-20 on Oct. 27, 2005.

–Field Level Media