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Cats Have No Answer for Martinez

By Mark Janssen
 
Kansas State did exactly what it couldn't do in nearly every aspect of the game. The final score of Nebraska 48, Kansas State 13 would indicate that. It left Bill Snyder to say on his 71st birthday, "Happy birthday. I hope yours is better than mine."
 
Nothing about Snyder's day went as planned as these numbers would indicate:
 
• The 35-point loss in a home game was the largest since losing to Nebraska by 36, 39-3, in 1996.
 
• The 451 rushing yards by NU were the most against the Wildcats since Colorado rumbled for 518 in 1989.
 
• Nebraska scored six touchdowns - runs of 14, 35, 80, 68 yards and 41 yards, plus a pass of 79 yards.
 
• The 241 rushing yards by NU quarterback Taylor Martinez were the most since Jon Cornish of Kansas rushed for 201 in 2006.
 

"I knew we would have trouble with them, but how much I didn't really know," said Snyder. "What, Martinez had 250 or 260 yards? He made it look awfully easy, I know that. He's a tremendous athlete. He has excellent speed. He's faster than we are, but we made a lot of mistakes to allow him the opportunity to get a lot of the yards that he did get. Some of those long runs were a little out of character for us. It's something we need to get fixed pretty quick."
 
Part of the problems, Snyder said, "was being in the wrong set and sometimes we were not where we're supposed to be. We have a lot of things to correct."
 
Martinez rushed for four TDs on gallops of 14, 35, 80 and 41 yards, plus he threw a 79-yard pass to Kyler Reed. Martinez's day included 241 rushing yards (16.1 yards per carry), plus 128 passing (5-of-7).
 
Nebraska touched the ball only four times in the first half, but rolled up 237 yards of offense on 17 first downs for a 17-3 intermission lead.
 
Then, if the first few minutes of the second half were to be pivotal, the Big Red stormed the Purples for 148 yards of offense on just four plays, which included two touchdowns to up the count to 31-3 by the 11:22 mark of the third quarter.
 
K-State's lone scores came on field goals by Josh Cherry of 46 and 48 yards, plus a 2-yard TD pass from Carson Coffman to Chris Harper.
 
Snyder summarized, "I told them before the game it could very well come down to the kicking game. Well, the kicking game was OK, but the rest of it fell on its face. I'm not concerned about any one aspect, but everything collectively."
 
Snyder went on to say that he hopes this game is not immediately forgotten.
 
"If this game doesn't pain us ... if it doesn't pain me, if it doesn't pain our other coaches, if it doesn't pain our players, then that sends a bad message that maybe we don't care enough. I believe our team really cares, but to let go of this a little too quick then that probably sends a bad message in my eyes."
 
K-STATE SPORTS EXTRA KEYS: Thursday in "K-State Sports Extra," we listed five keys for a Wildcat victory, but NU won each area.
 
1) Game plan: K-State had no answer for NU's run game.
 
2) Shutting down the stars: Nebraska made life difficult on Daniel Thomas as the Wildcat dasher was held to 63 yards on 22 carries. That's 94 yards under his season average. On the flip side, Taylor Martinez rushed for 241 yards and four TDs, plus passed for 128 yards and a six-pointer.
 
3) Fumbles: Nebraska had fumbled 16 times entering the game, but dropped the ball only twice against K-State and recovered both. Overall, K-State turned the ball over once and Nebraska zero.
 
4) Penalties: NU had been flagged for 73 yards in penalties per game going in to rank 11th in the league, but was guilty of just six yellow flags for 48 yards. K-State, the league leader in fewest penalties, had four for 30 yards.
 
5) Red Zone Scoring: Last in the Big 12, Nebraska was a perfect 1-of-1, and that was a touchdown. K-State was able to get inside the 20 just once and scored on a fourth-down pass from Carson Coffman to Chris Harper.
 
QB SITUATION: K-State used three quarterbacks: Carson Coffman was 14-of-22 for 91 yards, plus he rushed for 45 yards; Collin Klein was 2-of-2 for 16 yards, plus rushed for 33 yards; and, Sammuel Lamur was 3-of-3 for 28 yards, plus rushed for 20 yards.
 
Of the position, Snyder said, "It probably opened itself up a little bit."
 
Asked if the depth chart would remain the same, Snyder said he didn't know. "I need to sit down and reflect on it. We have a lot of things to reassess, not just that position. We may have changes at a lot of positions ... may, or may not ... I don't know."
 
4th DOWN CALL: On its first possession, K-State faced a 4th and 2 at the NU 25-yard line and elected to go for the first down. Carson Coffman rolled to the right, but gained just one yard.
 
Snyder didn't question the play call, but he did say, "In hindsight, I wish we would have reconsidered kicking the field goal."
 
On being a momentum changer, Snyder said, "It would be easy to say it hurt, but I don't know if it's why we sputtered the way we did."
 
STRANGE NUMBERS: Here are some strange numbers in a 35-point loss.
 
• K-State won the time of possession, 34:31 to 25:29.
 
• NU had 21 first downs, KSU had 20.
 
• NU had only nine third-down snaps in the game; K-State had 18.
 
OUTLOOK ON SMITH NOT GOOD: Kansas State wide receiver Brodrick Smith was injured in the fourth quarter and taken from the field in a cart.
 
While saying he didn't know the extent of the leg injury, Snyder said, "It didn't look good at all. My guess is that he will be out for a while."
 
THOMAS UPDATE: Nebraska took aim on Daniel Thomas, and for the most part, scored a whole host of bullseyes. Thomas, who averages 6.0 yards per game, was held to a season-low 63 yards on 22 rushes, or an average of just 2.9 yards per carry. In addition, his eight catches netted just 36 yards, or 4.5 yards per catch.
 
"I thought we did some good things," said NU coach Bo Pelini. "We kind of got ahead, which takes them out of the game a little bit."
 
Thomas ran the ball 16 times in the first half with eight of those being for no more than two yards. He added only 18 more yards in the second half on six carries.
 
Taking nothing away from Thomas, Snyder said, "Daniel is a fine player, but like any other player it takes a whole bunch of other guys to make something happened. Martinez is an extremely fine player, but he had some help. It takes more than just one individual."
 
K-STATE'S TOP NINE ALL-TIME RUSHERS: 1. Darren Sproles, 4,979; 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; 4. Mike Lawrence, 2,265; 5. J.J. Smith, 2,210; 6. Isaac Jackson, 2,182; 7. Josh Scobey, 1,981; 8. Eric Gallon, 1,960; 9. Daniel Thomas, 1,956.
 
QUOTE OF THE GAME: Former Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop was in attendance for the game. Asked about his level of nerves prior to kickoff, Bishop said, "I can't say I have butterflies, but I'd sure like to sneak in there and play a couple snaps. I would love to do that."
 
Bishop, and his daughter Nia, helped with the pregame coin flip.
 
K-STATE SPORTS EXTRA GAME BALLS
 
Defense - DAVID GARRETT AND ALEX HREBEC each had 10 tackles.
 
Special Teams - WILLIAM POWELL had kickoff returns of 51, 36, 36 and 30 yards ... Powell had 186 yards on six returns; JOSH CHERRY was true on a 46- and career-long 48-yard field goal. Cherry is a native of McCook, Neb.
 
TUBE HISTORY: Thursday's game was the 125th television appearance in K-State history. The first came on Oct. 28, 1939, when the Wildcats played Nebraska in the second college game ever televised. The first was Fordham vs. Waynesburg earlier in the fall. Oh, NU won the game over K-State 25-9 before a limited ETV audience in the area.
 
K-State is 64-61 in televised games.
 
GAME NOTES
 
• K-State is now 2-1 in all-time games played on Thursday. The wins came in 1994 over Kansas, 21-13, and in 1992 over Iowa State, 22-13.
 
• Kansas State SID Kenny Lannou reported issuing 560 press passes for Thursday's game when the norm is 350 to 375.
 
• On hand for the game were representatives from 14 different NFL teams, plus the Texas, Fiesta and Alamo Bowls.
 
• Attendance: 51,015
 
OOPS: In a note in Thursday's "K-State Sports Extra," we said that K-State had won just two times out of 61 games against teams ranked in the Top 6 in the nation.
 
We missed one ... the 45-42 win over No. 4 Texas in 2006. The other two were against No. 1 Oklahoma in the 2003 Big 12 title game, and, the 29-28 win over No. 4 Nebraska in 2000.
 
With Thursday's loss to Nebraska, K-State is now 3-59 in games against teams ranked No. 6 or higher.
 
NEXT WEEK: Kansas State returns to Thursday-night play next week at Kansas. The game will have a 6:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
 
K-State's next home game will be on Oct. 30 against Oklahoma State.
 
 
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com.