Murray benefited from his first game as the lone featured back, after splitting time the previous three years with Chris Brown, and also Wilson’s desire to re-establish the run game that disappeared last year after injuries to several offensive linemen and tight ends.
Murray carried 35 times for a career-best 218 yards and two touchdowns.
“I truly believe you snowball and you build toughness and physical-ness in a running game as you go through the season, so I did want to start early,” Wilson said. “Maybe I was trying to force it, but I wasn’t going to get away from it.”
It was business as usual for Thomas, the Big 12’s rushing leader last season, but with some bigger numbers as his entire family attended a K-State game together for the first time. He ran for a career-high 234 yards and two scores against UCLA.
“I would guess that the people that are running the ball well feel pretty good about their offensive line and feel pretty good about whoever it is to that’s carrying the football,” said coach Bill Snyder, whose Wildcats attempted three times as many runs as passes.
“I don’t think you get the opportunity to have that kind of yardage if they weren’t pretty capable people.”
AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Dallas and Doug Tucker in Manhattan, Kan., contributed to this report.
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