Ell of a performance
LINCOLN, Neb. — To truly be a stud quarterback, there has to be a defining moment.
"The play"; "The game."
Now, Ell Roberson has his.
Roberson — just a speck of purple and white wearing his No. 3 Kansas State jersey in a stadium crammed with 78,014 Big Red fans — had his statement-game Saturday here at Memorial Stadium.
Kansas State 38, No. 18 Nebraska 9.
It was Kansas State's first win on Nebraska turf since Nov. 9, 1968. That's eight United States Presidents ago; that's five Wildcat head coaches ago; that's 15 starting K-State quarterbacks ago.
The win assured K-State of at least a share of the 2003 Big 12 North championship.
It was the worst home loss suffered by the Big Red since a 31-0 embarrassment on Nov. 1, 1958, by Missouri.
"I can only smile and laugh about that," said Roberson. "All week people I'd never seen before came up to me and asked to bring a victory back home. I took this game real personal. I wanted to prove today that you can do it (win) here."
Oh, Roberson wasn't perfect ... three interceptions announces that. But on this afternoon/evening, nobody was griping.
Instead, it was a 403-yard total-offense day — 313 passing, 90 rushing, sixth best in KSU history — that should define his day. His two touchdown passes to James Terry, and one rush for a TD should define his day.
Most importantly, how he delivered his team to victory ... willing them to victory in the second half is how his day should be defined.
"Ell did some things from a leadership standpoint during the past two or three days that I haven't seen before,' said KSU coach Bill Snyder. "He really stepped up in that respect."
Snyder then listed how his QB got up and visited with our football team, spent more time watching tape, and "... just his demeanor on the practice field was at a heightened level on how he took control of things," Snyder said.
And then he took those things to the Memorial Stadium Field Turf dismantling the famed Blackshirt defense of the Cornhuskers for 561 yards.
"His leadership was just great ... such command on the field," said Wildcat receiver Antoine Polite. "Being a senior in his final game here, I was really proud of him."
In true Roberson fashion, he said, "The guys just made plays for me. I take my hat off to them. My line protected me all day. I was never hurried."
Roberson said that all the Wildcats hear is how Nebraska is in another class. On this day, they were ... second class.
Roberson was totally first class, and admitted, "I really wanted to get this one to be remembered in history."
Oh, Roberson has had a number of great games, which included defeating Nebraska last year, 49-13, when he rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns, and passed for 92. But that was against a mediocre 7-7 Nebraska team; that game was at KSU Stadium.
This game was different.
Oh, Roberson had scored 19 victories in his 28 previous starts as the Wildcat quarterback; he had wins over No. 11 USC and No. 21 Iowa State to his credit; and, he had a win in the Holiday Bowl, as well.
But nowhere was that ... as they say ... one shining moment. That defining game to a record-breaking career.
Now, he's like the Wildcat greats that preceded him:
•Lynn Dickey: K-State 59, No. 11 Oklahoma 21, in 1969.
Clad in white shoes, Dickey completed 28 passes to eight receivers for 380 yards. The 59 points were the most ever given up by a Sooner football team; it was K-State's first win over OU since 1934.
"Lynn was so cocky and confident, he thought he could beat anyone," reflected coach Vince Gibson. "That day he would have defeated anyone."
•Michael Bishop: K-Sate 40, No. 11 Nebraska 30 in 1998.
It ended a 29-game losing streak to the Cornhuskers and earned K-State its first Big 12 North Division title. Bishop passed for 306 yards, rushed for 140 and accounted for four touchdowns.
Afterward, offensive coordinator Ron Hudson said, "I've never coached a guy like that and I don't think many people in the stands have ever seen a guy like that."
•Jonathan Beasley: K-State 29, No. 4 Nebraska 28 in 2000.
Not in the history of Wildcat football had the Purples won against a team ranked that high. Beasley hit on just a dozen passes, but for 234 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Coming from behind, Beasley rifled a snowball pass for a 12-yard score to Quincy Morgan in the game's final three minutes.
For Beasley, a part of 22 Wildcat wins in just two years and the only two-game winning Wildcat quarterback in bowl games ... it was his defining game.
Now, Roberson, deservingly so, has his one shining moment.
Purple Pride Top Stories
Big 12 Football Roundup: Week 3 Top StoriesAll you need to know about Big 12 teams leading into Week Three of the college football season.
Big 12 Recruiting Notebook (9/15/16)News, notes and recruiting scoop out of the Big 12...
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2A look at the Big 12 Power Rankings after two weeks of play
Big 12 bowl predictions after Week 2TCU goes down and loses its spot in the College Football Playoff, but another team from the conference steps in.