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Clutch plays lift Kansas State to 39-33 win over Louisiana Tech in overtime

The Kansas City Star

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State was far from perfect during a 39-33 triple overtime victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium, but the Wildcats certainly proved one thing: They can perform under pressure.

Every time it looked like they were in serious trouble, they came through.

The biggest play occurred in triple overtime when Joe Hubener found Kody Cook for a 31-yard touchdown on third-and-16. Hubener also found Dominique Heath for an unlikely touchdown pass in the first overtime.

Those clutch plays came after K-State scored two touchdowns and a field goal in the final 15 minutes, 17 seconds to rally from a 13-6 deficit and then escaped defeat with a against a nonconference opponent it was expected to beat comfortably.

The comeback started with a series of bruising runs from redshirt freshman Justin Silmon. K-State needed a touchdown drive late in the third quarter to apply pressure on Louisiana Tech, and he delivered with 58 yards on five carries, which put the Wildcats in the red zone. Then Hubener found Cook for an athletic touchdown catch to tie the game at 13-13 with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Silmon went on to rush for 114 yards on 24 carries, the most for a K-State running back since John Hubert two years ago.

The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown drive of their own on the ensuing drive on an eight-yard run from quarterback Jeff Driskel, but the Wildcats were ready to respond.

K-State forced Louisiana Tech into punting after three plays on its next series and Heath returned the punt 58. Then running back Charles Jones powered his way into the end zone for a touchdown that tied the game at 20-20.

Elijah Lee forced a fumble on Louisiana Tech's following possession and Jordan Willis jumped on it, setting up K-State with a field goal that gave it a 23-20 lead with 2:44 to go.

The Bulldogs had two opportunities to force overtime in the final minutes, and converted on a 45-yard field goal as time expired.

It was back and forth the whole way, but K-State persevered.

Jeff Driskel led the Bulldogs with 314 passing yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

Hubener led K-State with 195 passing yards and three touchdowns. Cook had four catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

The victory gave K-State its first perfect nonconference record in three years.

It next plays at Oklahoma State on Oct. 3 after an off week.

(c)2015 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

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