Daniel Thomas - Human Highlight Reel

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Daniel Thomas demonstrated why he's on all of the preseason "Watch Lists" as he rushed for 234 yards in carrying K-State to a 31-22 victory over UCLA on Saturday. But the problem is, Thomas was the only highlight on offense, which is reason for concern.

William Powell says, "Daniel, he's like Superman. He's so durable that nothing can stop him."

Saturday in a 31-22 opening win for the Wildcats, UCLA certainly couldn't stop Daniel Thomas, who had career numbers of 28 carries for 234 yards, which included six-point runs of one and 35 yards.

"That's good. I didn't even know that I had it (200 yards)," said Thomas. "The offensive line did a great job opening holes so all I had to do was run through them."

Thomas, who called the day against the Bruins "a statement win," rushed for 54 first-half yards on 14 carries before turning it on in the second half with another 14 totes, but for 180 yards.

Among those carries were TD runs of 1-yard to the left to open the game, and a 35-yard rumble to close out the scoring with 58 seconds to go after UCLA had closed the gap to two, 24-22, with 1:19 left in the game.

Among Thomas' runs was a career-best of 44 yards. The 6-2, 232-pound running back called it his "best game" as a Wildcat, but in true Thomas fashion added, "There's always room for improvement."

Yes, room for improvement because he did fumble the ball once, but as coach Bill Snyder said afterward, "He plays so hard … second, third fourth effort, that's just his way."

"Oh man, Daniel was outstanding," said Powell, who had 72 yards himself, with a touchdown. "Words can't explain it. He's a great back, that's all I can say."

Perhaps Thomas' most gifted play came in the final minutes of the game when out of the Wildcat Formation, he left his feet for a jump-pass, but came down, and scrambled for five yards.

"It was a pass, but he had to be wide open to throw it. I didn't want to turn it over," said Thomas, who has a 38-inch vertical jump. "I wanted to throw it, but I had to pull it down and travel with it."

It was only the 12th 200-yard game in KSU history and the fifth highest total in school history. It was the highest rushing total since Darren Sproles ripped off a school-record of 292 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette. It was Thomas' sixth 100-yard game of his career.

Thomas now ranks 13th on the all-time Wildcat rushing charts with 1,499 yards. Saturday, Thomas passed Mack Green, Don Calhoun, Michael Bishop, Bill Butler and Roosevelt Duncan for career yardage. Next in line is James Johnson with 1,509 yards.

GOOD RUSHING, BAD PASSING:

While Daniel Thomas was averaging better than nine yards per rush, Carson Coffman's 11-of-16 passing accounted for just 66 yards and just over four yards per passing attempt.

After the game, Snyder was handling his quarterback with kid gloves: "We need to have more than 60 yards of passing, but the things that he did, with a couple exceptions, he managed the ballgame and did some good things with the option. He had some throws that he just missed on."

Asked later about Coffman's play, Snyder encouraged questions to other areas of the team. As for Coffman, he was only talking about the team-win: "There was a point after we scored that first touchdown where we kind of went dead. I was feeling pretty bad about that. It shot back some memories from last year when we would do good at times, but then go on a big drought.

"I'm excited about how we finished the game," Coffman added. "In past years I'm not sure if we would have done that. I'm not sure that last year we had that finishing attitude."

BY THE NUMBERS:

4.1 – That's the number of yards K-State generated per passing attempt – 66 yards on 16 attempts.

9.0 – That's the number of yards per carry that Thomas and William Powell combined for – 34 carries for 306 yards.

11 – K-State had 11 snaps of at least 10 yards with eight of those in the second half. Of those 11, seven were touches by Thomas – six runs and one reception.

18 – The win marked the 18th straight to open a year by a Bill Snyder-coached team.

50 – The Wildcats converted 50 percent of their third-down conversations – 8 of 16 – plus made good on their lone fourth-down snap.

INJURY REPORT:
Offensive tackle Ethan Douglas suffered a left knee injury on the second snap of the game and was taken to the dressing room on a cart. Snyder said the injury has been ruled as a sprain, but an MRI would take place on Sunday.

UP NEXT:
It's a 6:10 kickoff Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium when the Wildcats entertain 1-0 Missouri State.


Purple Pride Top Stories