Wildcats Celebrate Seniors with Sunflower Showdown Win
Under a clear, blue November sky, the Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks (3-9, 1-8 Big 12), 51-13.
For the sixth consecutive season, K-State football won the Sunflower Showdown and kept the Governor's Cup in Manhattan, Kansas.
"Governor Brownback, he presents the Governor's Cup to the winning team every year, and since I've been here and since he's been in office, he told us that he hadn't given it to anyone else other than Kansas State," said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback presented the trophy to the Wildcats after yesterday's win. "And I think that's a special thing."
While the Sunflower Showdown is always a special game to play in as K-State regularly has numerous in-state players on its roster (this year it has 54 Kansas natives), yesterday's game had added meaning to it.
For 22 Wildcats, yesterday - senior day - marked the final time they would play a game on their home field.
From senior offensive lineman B.J. Finney, who made his 50th career start, to senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who broke yet another record for K-State football, it was a senior day Wildcat fans won't soon forget.
"I did better than I hoped," said Finney. "I didn't shed a tear until I talked with Coach (Bill Snyder) before running out there. Then it really hit me as we were taking that victory lap and thanking the fans (after the game) that that was it as for playing at home. Then, the emotions started getting pretty high when we got in the locker room. All the seniors just couldn't believe it was over."
Yet while the emotions ran high, it was, perhaps, the perfect way for this special class of Wildcat seniors to go out at home. During yesterday's win, the Wildcat upperclassmen put on a show before the 53,439 Wildcat fans - K-State football's 20th consecutive sellout and third-largest crowd - in attendance.
Wildcat quarterback Jake Waters had an exciting game before the K-State faithful as he completed 21-of-27 passes for a total of 294 yards and four touchdowns while running five times for 21 yards and one touchdown.
"That's how I want to play every single game, but to be fortunate enough to play like that on senior night against a team like Kansas, to send us out on the right note the last time playing here, that was very special," said Waters.
A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Waters has had an exciting career during his two seasons at K-State and is currently sitting at No. 1 in the Wildcat record books in quarterback passing efficacy. Yesterday's game marked Waters 12th game throwing for 200-plus yards - tied for the most consecutive games in K-State history.
"It was a very special moment and it was very cool just knowing my journey to get here and everything I've been through," said Waters about running on to Wagner Field for the final time. "Seeing my family out there, all the other guys and knowing it was my last game playing in front of these fans, it was very emotional."
While Waters had an exceptional game, so did many of his fellow seniors.
Lockett's nine receptions pushed him past his father, Kevin, to No. 1 in the K-State record books with 222 career receptions while his two touchdowns tied him with his dad for the No. 1 spot in career touchdowns.
Lockett's 119 receiving yards marked his 15th 100-plus yard game - also a K-State record.
"When we went out and slapped all the fans hands after the game, that's when it really hit me," said Lockett of his last game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. "I was like, 'Wow, this is the last time we're going to be playing in this stadium.' So it was great that it was senior night and that we beat KU - our rivals - but celebrating afterwards with the fans, that was my most emotional moment."
Along with Lockett, senior wide receiver Curry Sexton had an eventful senior night recording 141 receiving yards on 9 catches and one touchdown. Last night's game marked the fifth time Sexton has eclipsed 100 yards - which ties for eighth in school history.
"That was a blast, I haven't had that much fun on a football field in a long, long time," said Sexton, a native of Abilene, Kansas, who has been coming to K-State games as long as he can remember. "From the start it was fun. To be able to see my family out there, that was special for me because they've done a ton for me and really helped me to get to this point, and getting to see Tyler break a record, that was special. Once we get away from all this and look back, (last night) will just be a memory that will stick out in my mind. It was a blast. To get to beat KU like that - it was pretty special."
Together, Lockett and Sexton have become one of the most dynamic wide receiver duos in K-State history.
"We know each other like the backs of our hands," said Lockett of his relationship with Sexton. "It's exciting because we're able to have fun and enjoy every moment, that's the one thing Curry and I are trying to do - capture every moment so we can look back at it, continue our friendship and see everything we've done here at Kansas State."
On the defense, the seniors stole the show as Wildcat defensive back Randall Evans grabbed an interception in the game's first quarter and Truman led the team in tackles with six.
"The emotions were high, but they were positive emotions," said Truman. "Obviously going in, we knew it was our last time playing here. So, it's bittersweet but at the same time I'm glad that we ended our time here in this stadium on a positive note."
Added Evans, "It was a great accomplishment to be able to finish strong and do our best for the fans in this stadium. I'm still shocked that was my last game here, but everything has to come to an end one day, so I'm proud of everything that's happened. "
While last night marked the final game the Wildcats will play at home during this 2014 season, K-State has one regular season game left and will head to No. 7 Baylor on Saturday, Dec. 6, to take on the Bears in Waco, Texas, with the winner claiming at least a share of the Big 12 Championship. The game will kick at 6:45 p.m. and be televised nationally on ESPN.
For a complete recap, quotes and stats from last night's game, please click 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 or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.