MANHATTAN, Kan. — In front of a national broadcast audience, Arkansas State delivered a statement win Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, defeating Kansas State 35-31 behind a career-high three touchdown grabs by Jonathan Adams, Jr.
A-State (1-1) held the Wildcats (0-1) to just 91 yards on the ground and committed just four penalties in the contest. The Red Wolves also overcame a pair of turnovers and held K-State to 1 of 11 on third down in the victory, which was the program's first over a Power 5 conference foe since defeating Texas A&M 18-14 in College Station in 2008 – the second for A-State since moving to FBS status in 1992.
"It was fun, but not surprising," head coach Blake Anderson said. "We believed all week we could win this game. We didn't play great and still won it, they just kept believing and kept playing. I thought we were competitive in every phase – not perfect, but competitive. Guys stepped up all over our defense and made plays today."
Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher split quarterbacking duties again for the Scarlet and Black, with both tossing a pair of scores. Bonner completed 17 of 28 passes for 204 yards, while Hatcher was 6-of-8 for 61 yards, but came through in the clutch by tossing the game-winner to Adams with 38 seconds to go. Adams caught eight passes for 98 yards, while Rashauud Paul racked up 77 yards on four catches.
Jamal Jones led all rushers with a career-high 95 yards on just 16 carries for a 5.9-yard average. Lincoln Pare was right behind him with 65 yards on four carries with a long of 58.
Defensively, Elery Alexander and Jaden Harris tallied nine tackles apiece, while Fred Hervey and TW Ayers each notched a sack.
For Kansas State, Skylar Thompson completed 17 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two scores. Chabastin Taylor led the Wildcats with 98 yards on four grabs.
The Wildcats struck first on their opening drive after an A-State three-and-out, with Thompson finding Phillip Brooks for a 17-yard strike. A-State responded with a scoring drive on the next possession when Bonner connected with Adams from two yards out to even it up at 7-all with under 10 minutes left in the first.
Kansas State then scored 14 unanswered on a pair of seven-play drives. After an interception by Will Jones II on the A-State 45 and a strong goal-line defense by the Red Wolves, Deuce Vaughn plunged the ball over the goal line for a three-yard score with 13:29 to go in the half. Thompson then tossed his second touchdown pass of the day, connecting with Briley Moore for a seven-yard score to cap off a 92-yard drive.
A-State cut the deficit with the final score of the first half at the 6:50 mark when Jeff Foreman fired a strike on a double-pass play to Paul, who waltzed into the endzone untouched for a 48-yard score. K-State held a 21-14 lead at the break.
After a 54-yard Kansas State punt placed the Red Wolves on their own 23 with under five minutes left in the third, Hatcher piloted the A-State offense on a 77-yard drive that was highlighted by a tremendous 58-yard dash by Pare that put the Scarlet and Black inside the red zone at the K-State 14. A one-yard rush and then five-yard offside penalty moved the Red Wolves to the Kansas State 8-yard mark, where Hatcher then found Giles Amos on a short pass up the middle to tie up the contest at 21.
A Kansas State drive ended on a missed 47-yard field goal, handing possession over to the Red Wolves on their own 29 with 14:49 to go. With a surgeon's precision, Bonner led the A-State offense on a remarkable drive. Facing a 4th-and-5 on the Kansas State 34, Ryan Hanson fired a deep pass to Adams that fell incomplete, but a pass interference call gave the Red Wolves a fresh set of downs on the 22. On the next play, A-State dug into its back of tricks for a double-reverse pass from Paul to Bonner, who skied for the catch at the 5. Two plays later, Bonner found Adams for a one-handed grab to put A-State ahead 28-21 with 11:49 left.
The Wildcats evened things up at 28-all on the next drive, capping off a 10-play, 55-yard drive that ate up over five minutes of game time with a 5-yard rush by Harry Trotter with 6:35 remaining. Kansas State then moved ahead by three when Blake Lynch drilled a 35-yard field goal with 2:31 to go after a three-and-out by the Red Wolves.
Hatcher then trotted onto the field with A-State needing three to tie and a touchdown for the lead. The Little Rock native led the offense on a well-executed two-minute drill that started off with three rushes by Jones for 32 yards, followed by a 21-yard pass to Brandon Bowling that put the Red Wolves at the 12 with a fresh set of downs.
Two plays later, after Hatcher fell on a loose ball for a five-yard loss, it was Adams who found pay dirt for the third time in the ballgame, giving the Red Wolves a 35-31 lead with 38 seconds left.
The Wildcats took over on their own 37, looking to escape with the win, but that effort would be stopped short by the Red Wolves defense just past the 50, handing A-State its first victory over a Power 5 opponent since 2008.
A-State returns to action Sept. 19, opening up its home slate against in-state foe Central Arkansas. Kickoff from Centennial Bank Stadium is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN+. Every Red Wolves football game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Northeast Arkansas area. The live radio broadcast can also be accessed on the official A-State Athletics web site (AStateRedWolves.com).