MANHATTAN, KS- It was a long day that ended a long season. With that, Kansas 2014 football season, one with adversity and plenty of emotion, came to an end with a resounding 51-13 loss at Kansas State, Saturday. It marked the sixth straight season that the Wildcats have won the Sunflower Showdown
The Jayhawks (3-9, 1-7) will now look to the future as athletics director Sheahon Zenger really kicks the coaching search into high gear with the season now concluded. Kansas State (9-2, 7-1) meanwhile will play for another conference championship next Saturday night at Baylor.
"We came out and they jumped all over us,” interim coach Clint Bowen said. “It was 14-0 before anything even happened and we did not need that. We are coming into a road game and everyone knows the story about our road woes. We were looking for something good to happen early, but it did not. I believe our kids continued to fight throughout the game, but the bottom line was that Kansas State was better than us today."
Indeed, the Wildcats blitzed Kansas figuratively and literally, amassing a 17-0 lead through one quarter. Kansas would get on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when quarterback Michael Cummings found receiver Nick Harwell for a 27-yard scoring strike, but in a microcosym of the season, the extra point was blocked.
K-State would seal the Jayhawks fate with a couple of touchdowns. The first coming on a 11-yard run by running back Charles Jones and the second coming on a six yard reception by receiver Tyler Lockett, who broke his father’s record for most receptions in school history. The Wildcats led 31-6 at halftime and competitive phase of the game was pretty much over from there.
Kansas State was led by quarterback Jake Waters, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 294 yards while throwing four touchdowns. The Wildcats tallied 505 yards of total offense and had two receivers surpass 100 yards receiving, led by Curry Sexton’s 141 yards on nine receptions and a touchdown. Lockett finished with 119 yards also on nine receptions with two scores.0
While the game was a celebration for Kansas State, on the other sideline, 21 Kansas seniors bided farewell to the program. All of them endured a rough tenure, some playing for three coaches and in the case of this year’s team, enduring a mid-season coaching change. Many questions will surround the future of Kansas football as the search for it’s next head coach. Zenger and his search committee hope to have their man within the next few weeks.
Interviews should begin within the next week or two and there are a number of good name that will make up the list. However, if you ask linebacker Ben Heeney, the heartbeat of this particular team, he’ll tell you there not really need be much of a search. One could consider it his final message as he departs as to what his beloved program needs.
"It starts with getting a permanent leader, and I think it is that guy (Clint Bowen) we just played for,” Heeney said. “It is up to the coach then to create the program. It just sucks that my legacy here is over."