It's All On The Line

MANHATTAN, Kan. - A set back, but Kansas State coach Bill Snyder wonders, "How far?" That was the thought after Saturday's 38-12 loss to Missouri Saturday in Manhattan. With a win over Nebraska, it's a Big 12 North title, a spot in the championship game, and a bowl game. With a loss to the Big Red, K-State ends up with none of the above.

After missing on a number of scoring opportunities, K-State now finds itself in a one-game season.

Bill Snyder was at a bit of a loss. Perhaps, he wondered, his team had become "a little fat and sassy."

Perhaps, he wondered, "We've been some place where we hadn't been projected to be. Did we feel too good about ourselves? That's my insinuation, but I'm not sure if that is 100 percent accurate."

And now he wonders, "How far did this set us back? That's what my concern is."

Those were all questions going through Snyder's mind after losing to Missouri on Saturday, 38-12. Saturday, K-State's failure wasn't in moving the ball, but in scoring touchdowns instead of field goals.

K-State was just 3-of-5 in Red Zone scoring, but had a multitude of seven-point opportunities.

• 1st quarter -- KSU drove to the MU-29 (out of the Red Zone), but settled for a 47-yard field goal by Josh Cherry

• 2nd quarter – KSU drove to the MU-8, but fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback

• 2nd quarter – KSU drove to the MU-16, but settled for a 34-yard field goal by Cherry

• 3rd quarter – KSU drove to the MU-17, but settled for a 35-yard field goal by Cherry • 3rd quarter – KSU drove to the MU-14, but settled for a 33-yard field goal by Cherry

• 4th quarter – KSU drove to the MU-3, but failed to score.

"It's downstairs in the locker room some place, but it didn't get to the field, for sure," said Snyder on K-State's Red Zone offense. "The last one … what an embarrassment that is."

That's when Brandon Banks caught a 53-yard pass from Grant Gregory to the MU 2. The next four plays netted one yard, zero yards, a loss of two and an incomplete pass.

And how frustrating the others were.

In a 3-3 game, Kansas State drove to the MU-8, but on a pass completion to Banks, he fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback.

"I was just trying to make a play trying to reach the ball over the goal line and the defender just made a good hit on me," Banks said. "It's my fault."

No K-State points were scored and MU had the ball back and moved 80 yards in six plays for the go-ahead points.

"You never take one play and segregate it from everything else and say this is why you win or lose, but it did have a major impact on the game and on the momentum," Snyder said.

MU coach Gary Pinkel would add, "That was a huge play. It was a turnover. It was huge. That was like a gift. That was probably a 14- to 10-point swing."

Of the collective missed opportunities, quarterback Grant Gregory offered, "We didn't execute and they made good stops. We just didn't get the job done."

The third quarter was especially unusual as K-State ran 25 plays for 129 yards, but ended up with just two Josh Cherry field goal to complete drives of 12 plays for 42 yards, and 12 plays for 64 yards. Missouri snapped it just four times, but gained 85 yards, with 80 of those coming on a TD reception by Danario Alexander to win the quarter 7-6.

Saturday's game for the Big 12 title in Lincoln will be televised by ESPN starting at 6:45. To the winner goes the Big 12 North championship. Should K-State lose, they would not win the title and not be bowl-eligible.

As junior receiver Lamark Brown said of the importance of the game, "If we don't win, we don't win anything."

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