Kansas State blocked the Ian O'Connor punt attempt, however, when Antwon Moore came up the middle for the block and John McCardell made the recovery at the Marshall 28-yard line. KSU was in the end zone in two plays. Dylan Meier hit Jordy Nelson for 25 yards, then Thomas Clayton punched the ball in for the score with 9:42 to play in the first quarter. MU has trailed in every game this season and today was no exception as Kansas State took the early lead 7-0.
Bernard Morris moved the Herd into KSU territory on the next drive, combining scrambles and a 21-yard completion to Marcus Fitzgerald across the middle. However, defensive tackle Blake Seiler hit Morris on second and 16, and the pass intended for Ahmad Bradshaw went straight to Byron Garvin, who returned the ball to the MU 44-yard line. The Herd defense got a three-and-out, and punter Tim Reyer hit a 13 yard punt that gave the Herd the ball back at its own 25, best starting position of the game for the Herd.
The teams traded fumbles on the next two series. Bradshaw picked up a first down for MU at the 34, but his fumble was recovered by Kyle Williams at the MU 39-yard line. But KSU gave is right back after a first down, when backup running back John McCardell was hit, fumbled to J.J. Johnson, who returned the ball nearly 30 yards to the Marshall 46-yard line. The Herd drove all the way to the K-State 20-yard line, but a holding call on Hiram Moore back MU up to the 30. Chubb Small, who had just moved the ball to the 15 on the previous play, was stuffed on the option and Morris was sacked on the third down. O'Connor's punt went into the end zone, with the wind, and KSU had to finally start in its own end of the field.
MU stepped up deep in the purple end of the field. After a quick three-and-out, featuring two nice open field tackles by sophomore linebacker Josh Johnson, Phillip Gamble blocked the tim Reyer punt and J.J. Johnson picked the ball up at the 18-yard line and "scooped and scored," as taught every day by the Herd defensive coaches. The Anthony Binswanger extra-point tied the game at 7-7, with 9:16 to play in the second quarter. The play was very much like the 80-yard fumble recovery for touchdown, by former Herd All-American Johnathan Goddard (now of the Indianapolis Colts), that turned the game around for a struggling MU squad in the 2003 game in Manhattan, Kansas and led to a 27-20 win over the then No. 6-ranked Wildcats.
The Mu defense allowed one first down, but against stiffened and forced a punt. MU took over at its own 31-yard line with tackle Wesley Jones taken to the locker room and John Inman, who played the early series at right guard and moved to right tackle. Morris was intercepted under pressure at midfield by Marcus Watts and KSU took over. Meier hit passes to Yamon Figurs and tight end Rashaad Norwood that moved the ball to the MU 11-yard line. The Herd defense rose up again in the red zon4e and forced KSU to settle for a Jeff Snodgrass 23-yard field goal. At halftime, with three turnovers and a blocked punt, the Thundering Herd only trailed the Big XII's Kansas State by the score of 10-7.
At the half, both teams had six first downs. MU had controlled the time of possesion, holding onto the ball for 17:39 of the first half. K-State had 129 yards of total offense, with 60 of those rushing. Thomas Clayton 11/36 and the touchdown), while Dylan Meier had hit 6-of-12 for 69 yards. MU had only 87 yards of total offense, with Morris hitting 8-of-13 passes for 57 yards. Bradshaw rushed five times for 27 yards. Both teams were hit with four penalties, MU for minus 25 yards, while the Wildcats lost 41 yards. Marshall was 4-of-8 on third down, while K-State hit for 3-of-7 on third.
The Herd started the third quarter with a three-and-out, after getting the kickoff for the second straight time to start the half (KSU taking the wind). But a roughing the punter cost K-State the ball at the 48-yard line, O'Connor unleashed a 52-yard punt to pin KSU at its own 19-yard line. Kansas State's Meier was locked in on the drive, moving the Wildcats down to the one-yard line before a "pick" play by receiver Cerdric Wilson back the 'Cats out to the 22. Two plays moved the ball to the five, but pressure by C.J. Spillman made Meier throw high and KSU had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Snodgrass to go up 13-7 with 7:56 to go in the third quarter.
The Herd continued to struggle on offense. Morris, who at this point in the game was just 12-of-21 for 72 yards, and two interceptions, was sacked, hit a short pass to Fitzgerald and overthrew a covered-up Bradshaw to go three-and-out. O'Connor's punt was caught by the wind and only went to the Herd 44-yard line. Dennis Thornton snuffed out the 'Cats on second down, by making a diving interception at the Herd 25-yard line. MU had to punt, a 40-yard effort by O'Connor, but K-State hit Norwood and Moreira to move to the Herd 31-yard line. Again, the MU defense rose up to force another Snodgrass field goal but, with the wind, the K-State kicker easily hit a 48-yard effort and gave KSU a 16-7 lead. A Bradshaw 12-yard run on the Herd's next offensive series gave MU its only first down of the third quarter but, more importantly, the Herd gained that 25-30 mile an hour wind on a hot, humid day.
Bradshaw started the fourth quarter the way he ended the third, breaking a 20 yard run to put MU into K-State territory at the 43-yard line. Doug Legursky, the MU center, was hurt on the next play which moved Brian Leggett to center and Inman back to right guard. It appeared to be the ankle Legursky, a Rimington Award candidate as the nation's top center, hurt in August. He did leave the field under his own power. The Herd drive ended with an incompletion to Emanuel Spann, but O'Connor came up with his second punt of the day downed inside the 20-yard line and pinned KSU at its own 16-yard line on a perfect 21 yard punt.
K-State had to punt back to Marshall and, after some troubles spotting the ball and two called penalties, the Herd ended up getting the ball at the 35-yard line with 9:26 to play. The offense continued the struggles of the day, with Spann dropping a pass, Bradshaw being tackled in the backfield for a seven yard loss and Morris being sacked on third to back the ball up to the Herd 20-yard line. Even O'Connor's 78 yard punt didn't count when K-State took a timeout just before the snap to him. The re-kick travelled 55 yards, but Moriera returned the ball to the 34-yard line and then caught a seven yard pass on first down. Moriera went to to make what might have iced the game for KSU when he took a short pass from Meier and turned it into a 44-yard touchdown. Although K-State drew a celebration penalty, enforced on the kickoff, a illegal substitution and a holding on the extra-point, when all was said and done, the Wildcats had a 23-7 lead with just over four minutes to play.