K-State Falls to Missouri on Senior Day

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats traded field goals for touchdowns as the Missouri Tigers spoiled Senior Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium defeating the Wildcats 38-12 on Saturday. With the loss, the Wildcats must defeat rival Nebraska next week to become bowl eligible.

K-State (6-5, 4-3 Big 12) stays atop the Big 12 North standings despite the loss and are still alive in the hunt for the division crown pending next week's game at Nebraska and matchups the following week in the conference. Missouri (6-4, 2-4) climbs back into the conference race as the Big 12 North remains compacted with no clear leader or favorite in the bunch.

The Wildcats struggled to move the ball on offense throughout much of the day having five drives stall in the red zone resulting in three field goals, a fumble and turnover on downs. The loss marked the first time K-State has not scored a touchdown since October 14, 2006, in a 21-3 loss to Nebraska.

Daniel Thomas rushed for 79 yards on 23 carries as K-State's offense tallied 351 yards of total offense on the day compared to Missouri's 433. K-State quarterback Grant Gregory threw for 239 yards on 21-of-30 passing with one interception.

The Tigers saw a big day from receiver Danario Alexander as he pulled in 10 receptions for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 20-of-27 passes for 298 yards and three scores all to Alexander.

Missouri marched down the field to open the game before seeing its offense stall in the red zone and kicking a short field goal to take the initial lead 3-0. The Wildcats would answer right back with a 47-yard field goal of their own by Josh Cherry to tie the game with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.

After forcing a punt, K-State was threatening to take the lead away from the Tigers, but the Wildcats were struck by the turnover bug as Banks fumbled the ball through the end zone attempting to extend for the pylon on his way out of bounds.

Missouri would take advantage of the turnover and take the lead again on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Danario Alexander to pull ahead 10-3. The play came immediately following a pass interference call on John Houlik that extended the drive with the penalty coming on third down.

Alexander got his second touchdown reception of the day as the Tigers drove 92 yards down the field in the closing minutes of the second half to take a 17-6 lead into the locker room. Missouri found its rhythm late in the first half to begin moving the ball efficiently to out-gain the Wildcats 259-128.

A pair of defensive stops by the Wildcats and Cherry field goals helped cut into Missouri's lead as K-State trailed 17-12. Saturday's game marked the first time in his career Cherry has made four field goals.

Missouri immediately took the win out of K-State's sails after pulling within five points as Alexander caught his third touchdown pass of the day on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage following Cherry's field goal. Alexander shook a tackle and then out-ran the Wildcat secondary for the 80-yard score and lead 24-12.

K-State's offensive woes continued as Thomas had the ball stripped from his hands after gaining a first down on the first play of the fourth quarter with Missouri recovering the fumble. Missouri responded by a 61-yard drive capped off by a Derrick Washington touchdown run from the four-yard line to extend the lead to 31-12. The Tigers would not slow down scoring on another Washington touchdown run following an interception thrown by Gregory. The score put Missouri ahead 38-12 for good.

The Wildcats travel to take on Nebraska next Saturday in Lincoln with K-State looking to capitalize on its second chance to become bowl eligible. The game also will have heavy Big 12 Conference implications with the Big 12 North slot in the conference championship game still wide open. Kickoff is set for 6:45 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.