Sunflower Letdown

LAWRENCE, Kan. – With 11 seconds left in the first half Saturday, things looked manageable for the Kansas Jayhawks, down just two scores and with momentum beginning to creep back their way. But it took less than five minutes of game clock for the Kansas State Wildcats to extinguish even those slim hopes, as the Jayhawks fell 59-21.

Sometimes, an entire game can be defined by one or two plays.

Down 28-7 Saturday to in-state rival Kansas State with just 2:10 left in the first half, it would have been easy for the Kansas Jayhawks to close up shop mentally. Pack it in. Call it a day.

Instead, they engineered an 11 play, 73-yard drive in 1:53, capped when quarterback Jordan Webb hit wideout D.J. Beshears for a 13-yard touchdown strike.

Suddenly, things didn't look so bleak. A little of the momentum began to mosey its way over to the Kansas sideline. Down two scores and striking the last blow before half - there were just 14 seconds left on the clock - the game wasn't completely out of reach.

After returning the ensuing kickoff to their own 43-yard-line, the Wildcats took the field with just 11 seconds remaining.

And that's when the game changed completely.

Quarterback Collin Klein hit an inexplicably wide-open Tyler Lockett downfield for a 48-yard gain to the Kansas nine-yard line, setting up a field goal with just a single second left before intermission.

"We had a guy who didn't do what he's supposed to do," said Kansas head coach Turner Gill. "He went onto another receiver instead of staying back in his quarter of the field. They threw the ball right where he left, and he made a mistake there. That was a huge play in the game."

It was just three more points, but one could feel the shock and disbelief of the Kansas partisans as the teams trotted to the locker rooms. At that moment, for all intents and purposes, the game was over.

It didn't help that Lockett would return the opening kickoff of the third quarter 97 yards for a touchdown, or that Kansas running back Tony Pierson would fumble two plays later, giving the Wildcats the ball back deep in Jayhawks territory.

By then, the snowball that began rolling downhill in the first half had become an avalanche. Klein punched it in on 2nd-and-Goal from the one with 13:53 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Webb - flushed from the pocket - tried to scramble and was decked by KSU defensive tackle Ray Kibble, putting the ball on the carpet once again. The Wildcats recovered, and wasted no time marching down the field in six plays, driving 48 yards for another touchdown.

In 4:38 of game time, stretching back to the 11 seconds at the end of the first half, Kansas State had turned a 28-14 ball game into a 52-14 blowout.

"We let the game get away from us at the beginning of the second half," said junior defensive end Toben Opurum. "When a team scores two touchdowns in less than two minutes coming out of half, it's going to shoot anybody's momentum down. We kind of let that bring us down as an offense and a defense."

The final 25:33 of the game proceeded on autopilot for the Wildcats. They tacked on another score in the fourth quarter, when backup quarterback Sammuel Lamur ran in from 11-yards out.

The Jayhawks added a late touchdown of their own when backup quarterback Quinn Mecham hit tight end Jimmay Mundine on a fade route from the two-yard-line with one second left in the game, making the final score 59-21 Kansas State.

Darrian Miller led the Jayhawks on the ground with 51 yards on 13 carries. Webb completed 21-of-28 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, while Kale Pick was the team's leading receiver, with six catches for 51 yards.

Next up, Kansas travels to Austin, Texas on Oct. 29 to take on the Texas Longhorns.

"I think we just tell them to keep on working," Gill said, of his team. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to keep on working, continuing to improve as a football team, continue to improve as a coach." Top Stories