LINCOLN — Nebraska has lost three times this season and their opponents — Missouri, Texas and Kansas State — all have one thing in common: mobile quarterbacks.
KSU quarterback Ell Roberson led a balanced Wildcat offense against the Nebraska defense Saturday and handed the Huskers their only home loss of the season 38-9 before 78,014 at Memorial Stadium.
The Blackshirts were No. 1 in pass efficiency defense allowing just an 80.5 quarterback rating, but Roberson passed for 313 yards and two touchdowns while adding 91 yards rushing. Junior running back Darren Sproles rushed for 141 yards and one touchdown.
In all, the Wildcats ran and passed for 561 yards, 54 more than in a 49-13 win in Manhattan, Kan., last year.
Nebraska lost at Missouri 41-24 and at Texas 31-7, as the Longhorns ran for 353 yards again the Blackshirts.
The loss to Kansas State, is the worse home loss since the 1950s. It also marks the first time Kansas State has won in Memorial Stadium since 1968 when Lynn Dickey led the Wildcats to a 12-0 win
"(KSU) played well and this is not typical of the way we play," said NU senior co-captain Trevor Johnson. "There were a number of key plays which changed the momentum of the game."
Johnson said offenses like Kansas State's present opposing defenses unique choices.
"The quarterback is an extra running back," the Lincoln Northeast graduate said. "You can't rush up field hard."
In the first half, Nebraska held the Kansas State running game to 94 yards, but Roberson threw for 154.
Roberson completed a 40-yard pass to wide receiver James Terry to set up a 22-yard run by Sproles for the Wildcats only score of the half.
The Nebraska defense was responsible for the Huskers' only touchdown of the game.
Defensive back Josh Bullocks intercepted his 10th pass of the season in the end zone and returned it to the NU 41-yard line, which led to an 8-play drive that tied the game at 7-7.
Nebraska has converted interceptions into 42 points this season.
Bullocks' interception also marks the eighth game this season Nebraska has two interceptions and the 11th game the Blackshirts have come up with at least two turnovers.
The second half was a different story for the proud Blackshirt defense.
After punting on its first possession, KSU scored three touchdowns and a field goal to extend its lead to 31-7.
"We didn't play all four quarters like our type of football," Bullocks said. "You have to give them credit, they came out and had a good game plan and executed well, so we didn't finish off like we wanted to."
Turnovers were also a key.
Quarterback Jammal Lord fumbled on his own 23-yard line, which set Kansas State's first score of the second half.
In the fourth quarter, with Nebraska trailing 24-7, James McGill picked off Lord. KSU converted the turn over into seven points when Roberson hit Terry on a 37-yard TD pass.
NU fumbled on a fourth and one with a little over a minute left in the game. After a Sproles 41-yard run, KSU converted on a 6-yard Ayo Saba run against a defense made up of mostly redshirt freshman.
Another factor was luck.
KSU fumbled in the third quarter while leading 14-7, but the officials ruled there wasn't a fumble.
"One play doesn't make a ballgame," head coach Frank Solich said. "But one play can make a difference in whether we get points on the board versus them getting points on the board. Now its not the same game."
KSU wet on to kick a field goal and extend its lead to 17-7.
"It all came down to we made mistakes and had turnovers," Bullocks said. "We didn't get the job done that we needed to."
Nebraska linebackers Barrett Ruud and Demorrio Williams led the Nebraska defense with 14 tackles apiece.
Ruud now has 123 tackles this season, just ahead of Williams' 111. It marks the first time a pair of Huskers each reached 100 tackles in the same season since Steve Damkroger and Brent Evans accomplished the feat in 1981.
Defensive tackle Ryon Bingham had nine tackles, one off his career high.
Williams was named the ABC/Chevrolet Nebraska player of the game.