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TODAY'S SPORTS EXTRA

Pringle, Thompson Spark K-State to Road Win Over No. 10 OSU, Bowl Eligibility

November 19, 2017
By Corbin McGuire


For K-State to secure bowl eligibility for the eighth-straight season, it took the type of performance last seen by a Wildcat in a bowl game. And then some.

A day after his 24th birthday, junior receiver Byron Pringle broke out for a career-high 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns in K-State's 45-40 win at No. 10 Oklahoma State on Saturday. He became the first Wildcat with three or more receiving touchdowns since Tyler Lockett did so in K-State's 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory over Michigan.

If that was not enough, Pringle added in an 89-yard kickoff return for a score to help secure the Wildcats' sixth win of the season and their first in Stillwater, Oklahoma, since 1999. Pringle also became the first player in Big 12 history to record three touchdown receptions and a kick return touchdown in the same game.

"We got some big plays, which we've had a drought of big plays, really, and we got some today that made a substantial difference," K-State head coach Bill Snyder said. "Obviously Byron had a role in that. Not only the kick return but the catches that he made and the routes that he ran in order to get himself open, I think that was significant."

In his best game in a Wildcat uniform, Pringle tied the school record for receiving touchdowns in a game, becoming the ninth player to do so. Pringle's yards-per-reception average (41.5) also ranks third on the school's all-time list for a single game, jumping his 40.5 average against Central Arkansas in K-State's season-opener.

"When you get all those deep ones down the field and you're running 100 miles per hour and that ball is floating around in the air, those aren't as easy to catch as it looks like," Snyder said of Pringle, who came into Saturday's game ranked fourth nationally in yards per reception for this season. "I was pleased with him in regards to that."

 

Making K-State's bowl-clinching win even more impressive was the performance of redshirt freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson.

In his second career start, Thompson completed 10-of-13 passes for a career-high 204 yards, three touchdowns and a 284.9 passer rating that ranks as the fourth best by a Wildcat quarterback in school history. He also made use of his legs, picking up a career-high 93 yards on the ground that included a 5-yard touchdown.

"Skylar did awfully well," Snyder said. "Skylar managed the game well, threw the ball extremely well and ran a little bit when he had to."

Throughout the game, Thompson displayed a poise rarely seen by quarterbacks as young as him. It's not the first time he's shown it, however. Two weeks earlier at Texas Tech, the Fort Osage High School (Missouri) product led K-State to its greatest fourth-quarter comeback win on the road in school history.

"You'd like to think all young guys at this level have some poise," Snyder said of Thompson. "It's not surprising, I would say that, but I'm awfully proud of him because of it. It is more unique than common. He just handles himself so very, very well."

Thompson's rushing touchdown capped a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive to start the game. He personally collected 65 rushing yards on the drive, which ate up 5:39 of clock and "set the tone" for the rest of the game, Thompson said.

"We needed to have a good start to the game, punch them in the mouth and let them know that we're here to win today," he said. "For us to go do that, it gave us a lot of confidence, gave the defense a lot of confidence and kind of set the tone for the rest of the day, and we just tried to build off that."

Thompson, the first freshman quarterback to start under Snyder since 2005, completed passes to four different Wildcats. His top target, especially down the field, was undoubtedly Pringle, however.

Pringle's first touchdown reception of 47 yards put K-State in the lead at 14-10 early in the second quarter. When Thompson saw him streaking down the middle of the middle of the field without a defender in sight, he said his first thought was, "I can't miss this."

"Therefore, I short-armed it and underthrew it a little bit," Thompson said. "When someone is that wide open you try to get them the ball no matter how it looks. I don't care if you're throwing it left-handed. As long it's getting there, we're good."

Two more times in the second half, Pringle found himself with nothing but open space in front of him. Thompson hit him in stride each time, as Pringle reeled in touchdown passes of 46 and 60 yards in back-to-back drives in the third quarter to give K-State enough cushion for the victory.

"I just had a lot of confidence. I was seeing things a lot better this week compared to last week. Things were slowing down. And I just had a lot of confidence. I knew if I put it up there, Byron was going to go get it," Thompson said, as K-State (6-5, 4-4) prepares for its Senior Day against Iowa State on Saturday. "To get a great 'W' on the road, this means a lot. This means a lot to me. We're bowl eligible now. I really can't put into words how I feel right now."

 

 

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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