By Mark Janssen
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Eight ... that's 8 ... was Kansas State's magic number Thursday night in the thrashing of the University of Kansas, 59-7, by scoring eight touchdowns.
Oh, the No. 8 one would think about had a decent enough game as Daniel Thomas rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries, but it was the No. 8 on the other side of the field that shined brightest on this evening at Memorial Stadium. K-State defensive back Stephen Harrison returned a fumble 85 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and on KU's next series, intercepted a pass in the end zone keeping the Jayhawks off the board.
On the 52-point win following a 35-point loss to Nebraska last week, coach Bill Snyder said, "I think it says we're capable, but it would also say that consistency is an issue."
The number 5 was another magical number on the night for Carson Coffman as the Wildcat QB accounted for a handful of touchdowns - two passing and three rushing. Coffman was 15-of-16 passing for 184 yards plus rushed for 42 yards.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to run and pass the ball," said Coffman. "The coaches prepared us all week, and I think the offensive line did well, too."
On the play of Coffman, Snyder said, "I thought he played well. I thought he continued to improve his play."
When pressed further to assess Coffman's play, Snyder did add, "He probably played better tonight than at any other time during the season. You just continue to coach him the best you can, and try to encourage him to get better. But there was no magic pregame conversation."
It was a night where K-State stepped on KU's throat early, and continued to twist, opening a 31-zip first-half lead.
The Wildcats had the ball six times in the first half, scoring on one Josh Cherry field goal, and then four straight touchdowns on mid-range drives of 72, 25, 58 and 51 yards. Twice Coffman scored on runs of 8 and 1 yards, Daniel Thomas scored on a 9-yarder, and Coffman hit tight end Travis Tannahill for a 13-yard score.
"We found a rhythm on offense. The defense had some big three-and-outs that got us back on the field quickly," said Coffman. "We were on the field quite a bit and just found that rhythm."
By the half the Wildcats had totaled 247 yards on 37 snaps, and held the Jayhawks to just five first downs and 124 yards of offense with 33 of those coming on a meaningless last play of the half.
The 'Cats continued to be machine-like in the second half scoring three more TDs - a 29-yard pass to Andre McDonald, an 85-yard fumble return by Stephen Harrison, and a 2-yard run by Coffman that completed an 80-yard drive set up by Harrison's interception in the end zone that ran the score to 52-0 at the end of three quarters.
Of the end zone pick, Snyder said of Harrison's effort, "That was a tremendous play."
With backups playing the fourth quarter, KU got on the board, but K-State's Collin Klein answered with a 51-yard run with 1:13 remaining.
WINNING ON THE ROAD: The victory over Kansas ended an eight-game KSU losing streak in true road games dating back to a 44-30 win at Texas A&M in 2008. Prior to that game, K-State had also lost six of its previous seven road games dating back to the 2006 season.
Wins over Iowa State in 2010 and 2009 were played in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium, or a neutral site.
The 'Cats will travel again in 2010 to Baylor next week, followed by trips to Missouri, Colorado and North Texas to conclude the season.
COFFMAN ON TARGET: Carson Coffman completed 15-of-16 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the first three quarters, and did not play in the fourth quarter. In addition, Coffman rushed for three scores gaining 42 yards on 10 carries.
"I felt like I had a good game today, but the rest of the team did too," said Coffman. "I looked up at the scoreboard one time and we didn't have a whole lot of yards, but we did have a lot of points. That's the defense setting us up in good field position, and then we (offense) did the rest."
In the first half alone, Coffman was true on 12-of-13 passes for 141 yards. Those completions, and the yardage, were more than the Wildcat signal caller had in three of the previous five games this season.
THIS IS A FUNNY GAME: A year ago, K-State lost to Texas Tech, 66-14, only to come back the next week and score a 62-14 victory over Texas A&M for a 100-point turn-around. Last week the Wildcats were humbled by Nebraska, 48-13, only to come back the next week and whip Kansas, 59-7, for an 87-point bounce-back.
"It just shows we can come back from a tough loss and come back strong, focused and play harder," said KSU running back Daniel Thomas.
Of the turn-around, Snyder said, "I can't explain the turn-around, except if you prepare well and play well then the rest of it will speak for itself and it did tonight."
A funny game also in the fact that in a 52-point loss, KU snapped the ball 82 times to KSU's 57, and, KU had more possession time, 30:13 to 29:47.
THOMAS UPDATE: Daniel Thomas totaled 91 rushing yards on 17 carries with only one of his runs covering more than nine yards. Thomas moved into the No. 7 spot in all-time rushing yards as his total is now 2,047. That moved him past Eric Gallon (1,960) and Josh Scobey (1,981). Next in line at No. 6 is Isaac Jackson with 2,182 all-time yards. KSU's all-time Top 5 are: 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.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: In the understatement of the night, coach Bill Snyder said of Coffman's 15-of-16 passing night, "Pretty good, yeah, he did all right."
SPORTS EXTRA GAME BALLS
Offense - QB CARSON COFFMAN enjoyed his career game of 184 passing yards on 15-of-16 accuracy and one TD, plus 42 rushing yards and three touchdowns; TRAMAINE THOMPSON caught five passes for 58 yards ... all in the first half.
Defense - S TY ZIMMERMAN scored a first-half fumble recovery that set up a Wildcat TD; STEPHEN HARRISON returned a fumble 85 yards for a touchdown, plus intercepted a pass in the end zone; JARELL CHILDS was credited with a career high of 15 tackles, which is one more than his season total for the year.
Special Teams - PK JOSH CHERRY toed a 38-yard field goal, plus was true on eight extra points.
• The attendance was 47,561 at the beginning of the game.
• Bill Snyder is now 15-4 against Kansas.
• K-State was a perfect 5-of-5 in Red Zone scoring.
• The 85-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Stephen Harrison was a first for K-State since Courtney Herndon returned a fumble against Montana State in 2008.
• With five victories, Kansas State needs just one more "W" to become bowl eligible.
• While this was the 108th game in this history making it the 13th longest series in college football, it was also the 100th consecutive year that the two schools have met making it the fourth-longest uninterrupted series. The teams have met every year since 1911.
• The number of Kansas students was down due to the school being on fall break.
NEXT WEEK: Kansas State gets another long week as its next game will be on Oct. 23 at Baylor with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will not be televised. The Wildcats return home on Oct. 30 when they will play Oklahoma State.