SE: Burns Eyes Final Game

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Morgan Burns, K-State football’s All-America return man, has been having a lot of fun this past month, and rightly so. 

The senior cornerback and team captain from Wichita, Kansas, helped K-State pick up three-consecutive Big 12 wins to end the regular season and earn a trip to the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl later this week here in Memphis. 

He’s earned All-America honors from USA TODAY Sports (first team), CBSSports.com (first team), the Associated Press (second team) and Sports Illustrated (honorable mention) along with earning First Team All-Big 12 honors and being named the 2015 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. 

He’s returned a nation-leading four kickoffs for touchdowns this season to tie the K-State and Big 12 records, including three over the Cats’ final four games, and his current 33.8-yard return average ranks second nationally and third in K-State history. 

He ran back the game-winning touchdown on his Senior Day against West Virginia, a return touchdown he claims as his all-time favorite. Winning that game secured K-State its bowl bid and added an extra month to Burns’ Wildcat career.

It’s been an exciting time to be Morgan Burns. 

“I didn’t expect to get all these awards, but it’s been a fun way to end my senior year.” Burns said with a grin. “Getting all these All-American recognitions and Big 12 awards, it’s just been fun. It will be fun to look back and cherish these moments.”

Burns’ success continues a long legacy of talented Wildcat returners. You don’t have to look too far back through K-State football history to remember guys like Tyler Lockett (2011-14), Tramaine Thompson (2010-13), Brandon Banks (2008-09) or Terence Newman (1999-2002).

Burns has continued that success. 

“We take special teams very seriously at K-State,” he said. “Especially the return game. I’m just glad that everyone’s taken it seriously this year because it’s made an impact on this season.”

But he’s not letting everything go to his head just yet. His story is not over. Burns and the Wildcats are in Blues City with their focus set on defeating Arkansas. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s all set in completely,” Burns continued about his end of the year accolades and accomplishments. “My mindset is on the Liberty Bowl. The perfect way to end my career and end this season would be to win that bowl game.”

This week, K-State is in complete bowl mode. The team has already conducted two practices in Memphis and spent yesterday evening at the bowl’s Team Welcome Party at Bass Pro Shop.

“We are really happy to be here in Memphis,” Burns said after the team’s first practice in Memphis on Monday afternoon. “The guys are dialed in and working hard, and it is fun to be here. The bowl atmosphere and being in a new place, it is very exciting and it is going to be a great week.”

This weekend’s game between K-State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) and Arkansas (7-5, 5-3 SEC) kicks off on Saturday, at 2:20 p.m., in Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. It will be aired nationally on ESPN. 
“Obviously the awards have been fun; it’s fun to get plaques and to have these accomplishments, but I’d trade all that in for a win at the Liberty Bowl because that takes a team effort,” Burns explained. “That’d be the best way to go out: having a winning season and winning a bowl game. That’s important to me. I’m going to do whatever I can to help our team be successful.”

While he may be all about the team, he’d be lying if he said he hasn’t thought about running back his fifth kickoff for a touchdown and breaking the K-State and Big 12 records this weekend. 

“I just hope Arkansas kicks it to me; then we’ll see if I get a fifth one,” he laughed. 

For more information on this weekend’s Liberty Bowl, you can visit K-State Athletics’ Bowl HQ webpage by clicking here


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 Kelly McHugh-Stewart or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.