SE: Beasley Reflects on the Cotton Bowl

Jonathan Beasley

Jan. 4, 2012

By Mark Janssen

DALLAS, Texas – What Kansas State quarterback is associated with “The Drive” and the Wildcats’ first New Year’s Day bowl victory?

For those who don’t know, here’s a hint.

This Wildcat owns K-State’s bowl rushing record for a quarterback.

Another hint: This K-Stater is the only individual to quarterback the Wildcats to two bowl victories.

And the answer is … Jonathan Beasley.

“Those are great memories, but it only means I was surrounded by teammates who didn’t give up,” said Beasley, who today is a graduate assistant with the Wildcat program. “Both of those teams (1999 Holiday Bowl and 2001 Cotton Bowl) had leaders and were filled with talent. I think those teams had 24 guys who went on to play in the NFL. That’s the caliber of players we had. We had talented guys who wanted to win and would do whatever it took to win.”

Beasley had the daunting task of replacing Michael Bishop as quarterback in 1999.

The two previous years, the ultra-talented Bishop quarterbacked the Wildcats to 22 wins, one Big 12 North Championship, played in one Big 12 title game and had a 1-1 bowl record.

With a not as fast, not as strong-armed, not as versatile Beasley behind center the next two years, the Wildcats won 22 games, two Big 12 North co-Championships, played in one Big 12 title game and earned a 2-0 bowl record.

On what put himself in the same conversation with Bishop when it came to winning, Beasley said, “It was just a strong desire to do things right. That’s what Coach is constantly talking about, and it worked for me like it has worked for Collin (Klein). There was the commitment and ability to buy-in to Coach Snyder’s system.”

In the 1999 Holiday Bowl, K-State was losing to Washington 20-17 late in the third quarter when it took over the football at its own 8-yard-line.

Beasley then took the Wildcats 92 yards on 20 plays running 9:54 off the clock. Calling his own number, the K-State QB stepped in from the 1-yard-line with 5:58 left in the game. Solidifying the win was Lamar Chapman with an interception of Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.

“A great team win,” said Beasley, who passed for 216 yards and rushed for 48 yards and touchdowns of 1, 3 and 1 yards in the 24-20 victory. “When I think of favorite bowl memories, ‘The Drive’ comes to mind as well as playing with a great group of seniors that next year.”

The next year, the regular season ended with a 27-24 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City putting the Wildcats in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 2001, against No. 21 Tennessee.

The Wildcats scored first on a 14-yard run by Beasley, and added two second period scores on passes from Beasley to Quincy Morgan of 56 and 10 yards to take a 21-14 intermission lead. K-State put the game away in the third stanza on two Josh Scobey touchdowns in what would be a 35-21 Wildcat win.

“We knew this was our last chance to play together and a chance to win 11 games, which was the most in school history,” said Beasley, who passed for 210 yards and two scores, plus rushed for 98 yards and a TD. “People discounted us after losing in the Big 12 title game, so we had something to prove as a senior class.”

The MVP of the Cotton Bowl, Beasley’s performance earned him a position on this year’s nomination list for the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.

“That’s a great honor to be considered,” said Beasley. “The honor came to me because of my teammates. If it comes to be, that would be great; if not, we’ll keep going.”

Since K-State, the Glendale, Ariz., product played professionally with the Wichita Aviators, Wichita Stealth, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The 33-year-old Beasley started his coaching career as wide receivers coach at Montana State in 2007 and 2008, before returning to K-State in 2009 as an offensive graduate assistant.

“It’s great to be back at K-State and get us back to bowl games,” said Beasley, who was part of the Pinstripe Bowl staff last year. “This is what we were striving for as players, and what we’re striving for as coaches. It’s a time to build memories and friendships.”

To a certain degree, the qualities that Beasley had as a winner, is what Klein has demonstrated in 2011.

“He has that drive to want to succeed,” said Beasley. “He’s a grinder. He does all the things you want your quarterback to do. He gets us in the right play and is another coach on the field. We both had a desire to win and desire to do things right.”

Whether in 1999 and 2000 when he played for coach Snyder, or today as a member of Snyder’s coaching staff, Beasley said, “Coach has a reputation of being hard on quarterbacks, but he’s tough on everyone. That’s why he’s so good. He demands the most from you. When you think you’ve achieved as much as you can, he believes you can achieve even more.

“With Coach Snyder, you take it one day at a time,” said Beasley. “Once the game is over, you don’t look back in the review mirror. You think about trying to get better the next day.”

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