Kansas State football instant analysis: Skylar Thompson dazzles in return vs. Stanford

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas State football team didn't waste any time putting last year's season-ending five-game losing streak in the rearview mirror Saturday, opening the season with a dominating 24-7 victory over Stanford in the Allstate Kickoff Classic at AT&T Stadium.

Here are a few observed-from-the broadcast observations from the game.

Skylar Thompson is back

Thompson, who missed the last seven games last year with a shoulder injury, was on point from the start, completing 9 of 14 passes for 144 yards and running for two touchdowns. The only negative, an end zone interception on the first possession.

He also led a Wildcat offense that amassed 344 yards total offense.

Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (7) scrambles out of the pocket against Stanford on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Deuce Vaughn shows game-breaking ability 

Vaughn, the Wildcats' sophomore running back, was held in check by Stanford for much of the game. But all he needed was one touch to remind fans why he was a breakout star last year as a true freshman. His 59-yard touchdown run on a third-and-long in the second quarter put K-State up 14-0.

He had another long run late in the game called back on a holding penalty.

Vaughn finished with 13 carries for 124 yards.

Wildcat defense came to play

K-State's defense, featuring seven new starters, clearly has upgraded from a year ago. The Wildcats shut down one Stanford drive inside the 25-yard line in the second half with sacks from Eli Huggins and Khalid Duke, and got interceptions from Louisville transfer Russ Yeast and redshirt freshman TJ Smith, who missed much of last year with a knee injury.

Linebacker Cody Fletcher and end Spencer Trussell also recorded sacks.

New kicker Taiten Winkel solid

Taiten Winkel, who won the place-kicking job in preseason, was perfect in his debut, kicking a 40-yard field goal that made it a three-possession game in the fourth quarter and made all three extra points.

Nothing spectacular, but solid.