When Frank Murphy and David Allen come off Kansas State's injured list, they'll find 300 pounds of Joe Hall standing between them and the starting running back's job.
The hulking junior college transfer, a frustrated backup during Kansas State's first five games, came off the bench Saturday and rumbled for 195 yards and two touchdowns, sparking the ninth-ranked Wildcats to a 40-0 victory over Utah State.
"Hall is a big boy and a very hard runner," said Utah State linebacker Josh Manning.
Hall, who says he weighs 285, is listed at 300 on Kansas State's official lineup card. But at any weight, he's not planning on anybody else starting for the Wildcats (6-0) this season.
"I'm not going to just give it up 'cause I like them. It's my job now to give away. The shoe's on the other foot. I'm not happy about David and Frank getting hurt. But I just wanted my turn, and now it's here."
With surprising quickness for his size, Hall ran for 143 yards in the second half, including a 47-yard gallop after the Wildcats had taken a 26-0 lead.
His 6-yard run with 4:08 left in the third period put Kansas State on top 19-0 and he capped his big day with a 10-yard scoring burst with 4:08 to go.
"He's a good, tough runner," said Utah State coach Dave Arslanian. "But I'm glad to see they had some backup players. Those poor kids, they never get to play."
In recording its second shutout of the year, Kansas State's defense held Demario Brown, who had been averaging 135 yards rushing, to 9 net yards on 14 carries. The Aggies (2-4) had minus-7 yards on the ground and just 155 total net yards.
"There were very few mistakes that I am aware of," Snyder said of his defense. "I thought our defense played very well."
"There i a reason they are the best defense in the nation," said Arslanian. "Plays that we have been running in the past few weeks and getting 10-12 yards, today we only got three to four yards."
Allen, Kansas State's sensational punt return star who shares the NCAA record with seven career touchdown returns, was starting for Murphy, who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Allen was injured late in the first quarter during a short run and helped from the field favoring his right leg. Snyder said he would be out 2-3 weeks.
"I am not going to just give my playing time up to them," said Hall.
Jamie Rheem kicked four field goals, including a wind-aided 57-yarder as the Wildcats beat an unranked opponent at home for the 48th straight time.
Quincy Morgan made it 26-0 midway through the fourth period with a beautiful piece of open-field running. He took Jonathan Beasley's pass on third-and-13 in the right flat, ran back toward the middle of the field and then threaded his way 32 yards into the end zone.
A moment after Hall's second touchdown, Milton Proctor intercepted Jose Fuentes' pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, putting the Wildcats ahead 40-0 late in the fourth.
Rheem, with a powerful, gusty wind at his back, was 4-for-4, including three field goals in the first quarter. His 57-yarder, 7 yards short of Martin Gramatica's school record, came with 2:09 left in the quarter and followed Lamar Chapman's interception of Jeff Crosbie's pass.
He also connected from 24, 43 and 25 yards.
The Aggies wasted Emmett White's 69-yard punt return and Brown's 65-yard pass reception in the third.
White gave Utah State a first-and-goal from the 9, but Brad Bohn wound up missing a 24-yard field goal attempt. After Brown took Jeff Crosbie's pass and went all the way to the 3 before Dyshod Cooper caught him from behind, the Aggies failed on fourth-and-goal from the 3.
Bohn also missed a 41-yard attempt in the fourth period after Utah State recovered Beasley's fumble on their own 43.
"K-State's linebackers filled holes faster than I have ever seen," said Utah State offensive tackle Ben Holbrook.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed