MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Jake Waters threw for 223 yards and accounted for four touchdowns and Charles Jones ran for a pair of scores as No. 20 Kansas State pounded Stephen F. Austin 55-16 on Saturday night.
Waters threw touchdown passes to Tyler Lockett and Kody Cook while also running for two TDs as the Wildcats improved to 21-2 in season openers under longtime coach Bill Snyder.
The road is about to get tougher. Kansas State travels to Iowa State to open Big 12 play next weekend. Then comes a statement game against sixth-ranked Auburn at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Stephen F. Austin's Joe Minden threw for 107 yards in relief of ineffective quarterback Zach Conque, and Gus Johnson had a 30-yard touchdown run after sitting out the entire first half.
The Lumberjacks, routed by Texas Tech a year ago, still have never beaten a team from the Big 12 in eight tries. They're just 3-11 against the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Despite much higher-profile matchups coming up, the Wildcats were still weary of playing a team from the Football Championship Subdivision. They were stunned by eventual national champion North Dakota State last season when they were dedicating a renovation to their stadium.
The Wildcats rallied to win eight times and beat Michigan in their bowl game, though, and they seemed to carry that late-season momentum into Saturday night.
After forcing an opening punt, Kansas State grinded the ball away on a march that ended with a 9-yard TD pass to Lockett. It was the 19th career touchdown catch for the latest Lockett to play at Kansas State, moving him within seven of his father Kevin Lockett's career school record.
Lockett barely played the rest of the way -- he has a history of hamstring injuries -- but it hardly mattered. After the Wildcats got the ball back, Waters capped another long drive by keeping the ball on a read-option for a 5-yard score. Moments later, it was Jones carrying out of the Wildcat formation on a 15-yard touchdown run that made it 21-0.
Clint Conque, who took over Stephen F. Austin after 14 years at Central Arkansas, benched his son after three poor drives. Minden entered the game and led the Lumberjacks to a touchdown, but was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct -- he "shushed the crowd," referee Reggie Smith said -- and resumed sitting on the bench until late in the third quarter.
By that point, Waters had scored on a quarterback sneak and thrown a soft fade pass to Cook in the corner of the end zone, and Jones had scored on a 4-yard run to make it 42-10.
The game getting out of hand, Minden went back in for Stephen F. Austin. He completed a pair of passes before Johnson broke loose down the sideline for his crowd-quieting touchdown run.
As the fourth quarter ticked away, Snyder decided to rest his starters, and one of the worst defenses in the FCS still couldn't stop the Wildcats. Backup quarterback Joe Hubener threw a 15-yard TD pass to Steven West as fans began to empty the stadium.