Wildcats claw Kansas 42-6

For the 11th straight time, the Kansas State Wildcats showed the Kansas Jayhawks that the best college football team in the state is from Manhattan. The two teams came into the game hunting for a Big 12 North title, and while the 42-6 Wildcat victory left K-State in control of their own Big 12 destiny, Kansas left the game with ruffled feathers.

The Wildcat offense moved the ball efficiently gaining almost 400 total yards and, for the second straight year, the Wildcat defense kept Kansas out of the endzone. The offense was lead by senior quarterback Ell Roberson who threw for 138 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns. The Kansas State defense gave up only two field goals to a Kansas team that came into the game averaging over 37 points per game.

Running back Daren Sproles had a special day as he passed Eric Hickson to become the Wildcat's all-time rushing leader. The junior from Olathe, Kan. broke the record with a 12-yard option run in the second quarter. On the day Sproles had 19 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown to go along with a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Both teams struggled on offense to start the game. The Wildcats went 3-and-out on their first possession and the Jayhawks fumbled on their first play from scrimmage. Two plays later the Wildcats fumbled the ball back to Kansas, who then proceeded to punt the ball back to K-State four plays later.

Neither team gained momentum until Wildcat senior Randy Jordan intercepted a pass from Kansas' quarterback Bill Whittemore. A 15-yard facemask penalty against the Hawks on the return gave K-State excellent field possession then 7 plays and 32 yards later, Roberson would waltz into the endzone from 3 yards out. Roberson's score came on a fourth-and-one play where he faked a handoff to fullback Ayo Saba then rolled to his right to reach the endzone untouched.

On the ensuing drive Kansas would march 61 yards down to the K-State one-yard line but fail to cross the goal line. The Hawks would have three chances to score from inside the five-yard line but would have to settle for an 18-yard field goal. This drive would be the last time the starting Kansas quarterback would see the field. Whittemore left the game with an apparent injury to his throwing arm and did not return.

The Cats couldn't score on their next drive, but after punting to the Hawks, Whittemore's replacement Brian Luke mishandled a handoff exchange on his first play and gave the ball back to the Cats at the KU 20-yard line. On the next play, Roberson connected with sophomore wide receiver Davin Denis nine yards deep in the endzone for the Cat's second touchdown of the game.

The Wildcats would score on their next drive as well thanks to an extra Jayhawk. With the Cats punting on fourth down, the Hawks got flagged for illegal participation. The 15-yard penalty was enough for a Wildcat first down and eight plays later, Sproles scampered to the endzone from seven yards out. The PAT made the score 21-3 with 2:48 remaining in the half but the Cats would score again before intermission.

Kansas used only three plays before it was time for them to punt again. On the return, Sproles took the ball at the 37-yard line, waited for his blockers, squeezed between two Jayhawk tacklers, cut to his left and raced into the endzone. It was the first Wildcat kick return for a touchdown this season and the Cats had a 28-3 lead at the half.

Kansas got the ball to start the second half and scored their last points of the game thanks to a 51-yard field goal with 11:42 remaining in the third quarter. From then on, it was all Wildcats.

K-State's opening drive of the second half went 80 yards in nine plays and ended with a one-yard touchdown plunge by sophomore fullback Victor Mann. The drive featured two runs by Sproles for 13 yards each, an option keeper by Roberson for 12 yards, a 28-yard catch by senior tightend Thomas Hill and a 16-yard run by Roberson down to the KU one-yard line.

Kansas again took only three plays before punting and K-State made them pay again. Roberson would sneak in the endzone from one yard away after an eight-play, 56-yard drive. The Cats never faced third down on the drive the score was now 42-6 with 2:09 left in the third quarter.

The game's final quarter had no points by either team but many second and third team players got a chance to play including both Wildcat backup quarterbacks senior Jeff Schwinn and redshirt freshman Dylan Meier.

The win improves the Wildcat's record to 6-3 on the year and 2-2 in conference play while the Hawks fall to 5-3 and 2-2 in the Big 12.

Next week is Homecoming and Kansas State will face the Baylor Bears in Manhattan. Kickoff is set for 1:10.

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