"Back to normal! Back to normal!"

The chant resonated from the student section as the waning seconds of the 2005 Sunflower Showdown ticked down. K-State had regained the Governor's Cup, but not in a fashion many expected, or wished to see. K-State's 12-3 victory was marred by a number of penalties and mistakes that reminded many fans of the previous week's loss to Oklahoma.

K-State was penalized 12 times for 94 yards - a staggering amount, but even more astounding when one considers that this total almost tripled the Wildcats' 35 total rushing yards. The flags began flying early, with Marcus Watts being flagged for a personal foul on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Derek Marso would be hit with a personal foul penalty later in the drive, meaning the Wildcats accounted for 30 of the Jayhawks 56 total yards on the opening drive. Luckily for K-State, the defense seems to have reacquired a big-play mentality. The Jayhawks found themselves in Wildcat territory eight times in the ballgame, but walked away with just three points.

Time after time to force turnovers on down, fumbles, punts, and even a blocked field goal. Defensive players said defensive coordinator Bob Elliott deemed the team fit for the "Lynch Mob" nickname once again, after the game.

"You've seen it before," Maurice Mack said. "We're all about making big plays on defense and playing smash-mouth football. On the other side, the Wildcats offense struggled the entire day, gaining just 182 total yards.

Coach Bill Snyder was succinct in describing the problem areas, saying you can't point at just one. Along with runningback and offensive line, Snyder said, "We made mistakes at the quarterback position. We made mistakes at the wide receiver position. We made mistakes at the tight end position. Is there anything I haven't covered?"

Allan Evridge saw the first extensive playing time of his career, and had both highs and lows. Evridge's brightest moment came in a 10-play, 75 yard scoring drive, ending with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson on the first play of the fourth quarter. Evridge was perfect on all five of his passes in the drive, advancing the Wildcats 50 yards; he also gained 13 yards off two carries.

Evridge's passing looked crisp and accurate, when he had adequate time to throw the ball. The Kansas defensive line greeted Evridge in the backfield on numerous occasions, forcing the Wildcats to line up in shotgun formations more often, and also leading to a more run-oriented offense.

"You would like to open up the passing game," Evridge said. "But Kansas has a great defensive line, so it's hard to step back and wait for the patterns to develop against their front four." That defensive line knocked Evridge around through out the game, and led to a couple rookie mistakes by the inexperienced quarterback.

On separate occasions, Evridge attempted to evade opposing defenders in the backfield by retreating farther back. Situations that could have been resolved by throwing the ball away instead resulted in significant yardage losses. "I haven't been hit that hard and that much in a game since I was in high school, so it's something that I'll have to get more used to if I want to survive in this conference," Evridge said. "I can tell you that I'll be very sore tomorrow, but it's worth it as afar as I'm concerned because we came away with the 'W.'"

The two-headed monster at the running back position that was supposed to cause nightmares for opposing defenses ended up with rushing totals that could make K-State fans wake up in a cold sweat. Thomas Clayton and Parrish Fisher combined for 19 rushing yards, as neither was able to establish any sort of rhythm on the day.

"Much credit to the KU defense," Thomas Clayton said. "They played and awesome game. We came out victorious and I'm really excited about that, but they did a good job defensively." Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Lubbock, Texas, to face the high-powered offense of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Even with the defense regaining a big play mentality, the chances of holding the Red Raiders to 12 points or less are slim.

The Cats will need a solid offensive day by all phases to leave Lubbock with a victory. There are definite improvements to be made, and it remains to be seen whether they will be corrected. One thing is for sure, K-State will not be able to afford shooting itself in the foot next Saturday.

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