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Thompson Leads Wildcats to Another Comeback Victory

November 26, 2017
By Corbin McGuire

Before the snap, Skylar Thompson determined Isaiah Zuber would be his best option. K-State's redshirt freshman quarterback was right, just not in the way he thought prior to the Wildcats' game-winning play against Iowa State on Saturday.

Down 19-14 with eight seconds on the game clock and zero timeouts left, K-State faced a second-and-goal from Iowa State's 1-yard line. Two Wildcat receivers were split out to the left, while Zuber was alone on the right side, which is where Thompson thought he would go with the ball.

"They jammed him up," Thompson said, "so I came off of it."

Thompson then looked left, saw nothing he liked but continued working to that side of the field until a charging Iowa State defender forced him to change directions. As he scrambled back to the right, Thompson thought to tuck the ball and try to run into the end zone.

"As soon as I did, I look up and I see No. 7 wide open," said Thompson, who then rifled a pass to Zuber in the back of the end zone as time expired.

"As soon as we locked eyes, we knew in that moment that was the ballgame," added Zuber, who reeled in the game-winning pass to give K-State a 20-19 win in its home finale.

What followed was a swarm of Wildcats celebrating on the field, where they secured a winning record at home for the 13th-straight season. Thompson was tackled and hugged — sometimes both — by his teammates, many of whom were seniors, thankful to win their last game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

"It was really special to share this moment with this football team and the seniors. Trent Tanking came up and gave me a huge hug and so did Brogan Barry. You could tell how much it meant to them that we got a win in their last home game," Thompson said. "I'm just so glad we could get a win today. Our fans, they stuck with us. I know it was a little frustrating. It would have been easy for them to get up and leave after the way we were playing in the first three quarters, but they stuck with us and we got them a win."


Through three quarters, K-State had 99 yards of total offense. The Wildcats had moved the first down chains three times. Four plays into the fourth quarter, Iowa State scored a touchdown to hold a 19-7 advantage.

Still, Thompson's confidence was unfazed.

"I never doubted it once," Thompson said. "I never doubt us until the clock hits zero. I always believed."

K-State collected 165 yards of offense in the fourth quarter, including 68 yards on its first of two scoring drives in the final period. The last-second score was K-State's first game-winning drive with less than a minute on the clock since the Wildcats' 2010 win over UCF.

"I don't think giving up is in their vocabulary," head coach Bill Snyder said of his team, which finished the regular season 7-5 and 5-4 in the Big 12. "I think they always fight."

When the Wildcats forced Iowa State to punt on its next drive, Thompson had the ball and 1:55 to lead K-State 87 yards down the field. It was exactly what he wanted.

"I just knew I needed the ball one time," Thompson said, "just give me a chance."

In his third career start, Thompson seemingly increased the Wildcats' chances of winning with each play on the final drive.

He started it by completing four passes in a row for 52 yards to put K-State into Iowa State territory. Next, he found Zuber for a 17-yard strike to move inside the red zone.

"As I've said so many times, I think he's a poised young man. He does things the right way," Snyder said of Thompson, who finished the game 15-of-21 for 152 yards. "He's very tedious about his preparation, pays awfully close attention to the coaches, works diligently on things that he does or is responsible for. And he has the confidence level that is appropriate for the position he plays and, consequently, he expects it to happen. You like to have guys like that."

Two plays and two K-State timeouts later, Thompson hit Dominique Heath in the flat. Heath made a move and nearly scored but came up a yard shy of the end zone, setting up the heart-racing final play.

Thompson, who led K-State to its largest fourth-quarter comeback on the road in program history at Texas Tech a few weeks ago, showed off his abilities to improvise and make crucial plays with the game on the line once more.

"I wasn't afraid of the moment," he said. "I was ready to attack it and our guys were, too. Our o-line gave me plenty of time. Our receivers made plays. That's what it all about. I'm so proud of our team."



We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.


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