MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Deuce Vaughn ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns, the Kansas State defense picked off Missouri on four straight possessions in the second half, and the Wildcats blew out the Tigers 40-12 on Saturday in the first meeting of old Big 12 rivals in more than a decade.
Adrian Martinez added 101 yards passing while running for a touchdown, and Phillip Brooks returned a punt 76 yards for another score, as the Wildcats (2-0) weathered a long lightning delay to finish off a dominant performance.
They picked off Brady Cook twice in the second half, then did the same to backup Jack Abraham, before Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz put his starter back in for the fourth quarter. But by that point, the Wildcats had extended their lead to 33-6 and the only drama left was whether they would keep the Tigers (1-1) out of the end zone.
The Tigers finally got in on the game’s final play, thanks to an untimed down because of a penalty.
Cook finished 15 of 27 for 128 yards while Abraham missed all three of his throws — unless you count the two caught by the Wildcats. Cook did have 56 yards rushing, but a good chunk of that came while running from pressure.
The game began under light rain that soon turned into a driving storm, making things seem even worse for the Tigers. They drove for a field goal to open the game, then punted four straight times; three of those were three-and-outs.
Meanwhile, the Kansas State offense plugged along with ruthless efficiency.
Martinez led a 75-yard march following Harrison Mevis’ field goal, and Vaughn barreled in from just outside the goal line to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead. Then it was Martinez who capped the next drive with a 16-yard run, though it took a big block by the pint-sized Vaughn on Missouri safety Jaylon Carlies to spring him to the end zone.
Nothing got better for the Tigers during the hour-long lightning delay.
They ran one offensive play before punting to Brooks, who fielded it cleanly and made the first defender miss. Then, the speedster raced to the Kansas State sideline, bent upfield and saw nobody standing between him and the endzone.
His fourth career punt return touchdown gave the Wildcats a 20-3 halftime lead.
They slowed down offensively in the second half, when penalties kept spoiling drives and Chris Tennant’s kicking woes continued with a short miss. But the Tigers were even more inept — interceptions ended four straight drives — and Tennant finally knocked through a field goal to extend the lead to 26-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Vaughn and D.J. Giddens tacked on touchdown runs to put away the Wildcats’ longtime rival.
Missouri couldn’t overcome the eight penalties, four turnovers and myriad mental lapses that kept sending their offense to the sideline. The Tigers eventually wore down on defense, allowing Kansas State to cruise to the finish.
Kansas State dominated the first meeting with Mizzou since 2011, but was far from perfect. It failed to fully capitalize on the turnovers thanks to plenty of penalties of its own. And with Oklahoma awaiting in two weeks, the Wildcats still have some issues to fix.
Missouri returns home to play Abilene Christian in its nonconference finale Saturday.
Kansas State wraps up its nonconference slate when Tulane visits Saturday.