Rubbing it in?
With the game easily in hand late the fourth quarter, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder opted to leave his starters in until the final gun of Saturday's 49-13 victory over Nebraska. The decision left several seniors on the sidelines on KSU's senior day while starting running back Darren Sproles scored two touchdowns in the final 5:04. However, Nebraska coach Frank Solich apparently didn't take exception.
"They're conditioned to playing four quarters of football and so I've got no problem with that," Solich said. "It's certainly a call that every coach makes as he goes through the season. In fact, we were still keeping our players in. We were still battling to come back. They had every right to do the same thing and keep their players in the game."
In his postgame news conference, Snyder was asked three questions about not substituting and evaded them all. His best answer: "I wanted them in there," Snyder said. When asked if he wanted to run the score up against Nebraska, Snyder didn't even acknowledge the question.
Nebraska quarterback Jammal Lord rushed for 47 yards on 21 carries and completed nine of a career-high 25 pass attempts for 134 yards. He had three runs of 20 yards or more, including a 35-yard TD run to pull NU within seven to start the second half; and completed three passes for 25 or more yards (28 to Matt Herian, 25 to Wilson Thomas and 25 to Ben Cornelsen).
Lord now has 1,276 rushing yards this season to move up from 11th to 10th on the NU season chart and 1,489 career rushing yards to move up from 33rd to 31st. Lord moved up from fifth to second on the NU season total offense chart and now has 2,426 yards, trailing only 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, who had 2,625 last season.
Special teams report
For the second time this season, Nebraska had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown as Kansas State accomplished the feat to take a 21-3 lead with 5:05 left in the first half. Marcus Patton blocked Kyle Larson's punt and Wildcat Jerad Johnson recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Texas A&M blocked a punt and returned it for a TD in the Huskers' 38-31 win Oct. 26 at College Station, Texas.
Larson had a long punt of 55 yards and pinned KSU inside its own 20-yard line two times in first half. Larson had a season-high eight punts for 323 yards, a 40.4-yard average.
Senior place-kicker Josh Brown hit on two field goals in the first half, a 27-yarder and a regular-season career-long tying 48-yarder. He now has 304 career points and ranks fourth on the NU career scoring list. Brown is now 11-of-14 on field goal attempts this season, after missing a 28-yarder on NU's second drive of the second half. The attempt hit the right upright. Brown is 7-of-9 on field goal attempts of 40-yards or more this season.
NU junior Josh Davis broke his own season record for kickoff return yards and the Nebraska career record with seven returns for 186 yards in the game and now has 818 kickoff return yards this season, bettering his own record of 675 set last year. Davis had a season-best 53-yard return to the KSU 42 to start NU's third drive of the second half. With that return, Davis broke the NU career record of 1,443 by Tyrone Hughes from 1989-1992 and now has 1,493. Davis' performance broke the NU record for most return yards in a game and ties the record for most returns in a game, bettering the seven returns for 185 yards by Joe Walker vs. Missouri on Nov. 8, 1997.
Entering the game, Nebraska had four fumble recoveries in its first 11 games. The Huskers had three fumble recoveries against Kansas State. "All year long, we had not been doing that," Nebraska defensive coordinator Craig Bohl said. "I'd like to say that was a bright spot. If there was one positive thing, it was that we created some fumbles today and got some turnovers."
Nebraska recovered an Ell Roberson fumble in the first quarter (recovered by T.J. Hollowell) but NU did not convert. On KSU's first drive of the second half, senior linebacker Scott Shanle sacked Roberson and caused a fumble, which Trevor Johnson recovered on the KSU 35. On KSU's next possession NU defensive tackle Ryon Bingham caused Sproles to fumble and NU's Josh Bullocks recovered at the KSU 24-yard line, but NU was unable to move the ball and Brown missed a 28-yard field goal attempt when it hit the right upright.
Nebraska freshman tight end Matt Herian had a 28-yard catch in the first quarter. All four of his catches this season are 28 yards or more.
Senior split end Wilson Thomas had two catches for 41 yards in the game and now has 27 catches for 319 yards this season to lead the team and 65 receptions for 949 yards in his career. Thomas moved up from ninth to a tie for eighth on the NU career receptions chart.
Nebraska cornerback and punt return specialist DeJuan Groce suffered an apparent concussion early in the fourth quarter on a punt return and didn't return to the game. Groce, who entered the game needing 32 yards to tie Johnny Rodgers' single-season record of 618 punt return yards, finished with 27 on three returns and now needs five punt return yards to tie the mark.
Nebraska tight end Jon Bowling had his shoulder pads off and didn't play most of the second half. There was no report on his injury, but Bowling was standing on the sidelines with one of his knees wrapped.
After having just one penalty to five yards in the first half, compared to K-State's seven for 50 yards. NU finished with 10 penalties for 94 yards, which was a season-high in yards and equaled a season-high in penalties.