Kansas State shuts out South Dakota but suffers two key losses

Kansas State's defense pitched a shutout against South Dakota. Orlin Wagner/AP

Kansas State opened its season with a 34-0 shutout of South Dakota but suffered some tough losses along the way. What we learned from the Wildcats' opener:

What the win means for Kansas State: It's a good win and a nice opportunity to break in some new talent. But what this game means going forward will depend on the health of quarterback Jesse Ertz and two of Kansas State's top defenders. The Wildcats lost Ertz after the first play of his first career start. He was carted to the locker room with a leg injury, and there's no early word on the severity. The Wildcats also lost preseason All-Big 12 safety Dante Barnett to a shoulder injury late in the first half and corner Danzel McDaniel was held out of the game. Calling the status of Ertz, Barnett and McDaniel important would be an understatement.

What the loss means for South Dakota: It's another tough loss for the FCS Coyotes, who ended the 2014 season on an eight-game losing streak. And while this outcome was pretty much expected, South Dakota should still be concerned about its ineffective run game (61 rushing yards on 1.7 yards per carry) going into its meeting with UC-Davis next weekend.

Unsung hero: They say a backup should always prepare to be the starter, because you're always one snap away. Joe Hubener was literally one snap away from being Kansas State's first-string quarterback on Saturday night. When Ertz went down, he stepped in and did an admirable job of running the offense on short notice. The former walk-on threw for 148 yards, rushed for 38 yards and leaned on the run game en route to five scoring drives. If Hubener needs to make the start next Saturday at UTSA, K-State should be in fine shape.

Top play: There's no finer way to start your season than a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Morgan Burns began the night with a bang and a 100-yard kickoff return. By doing so, he extended the Wildcats' FBS-best streak of scoring at least one kick return touchdown in a season for 11 straight years.