LINCOLN — So it has come to this.
For the second straight year, Kansas State has a commanding lead on Nebraska in the fourth quarter. As the game winds down, the Huskers shuffle players in faster than a speeding bullet.
And Kansas State coach Bill Snyder elects to have some of his starters go the distance.
The unranked and No. 25 Wildcats (9-3 overall, 5-2 in the Big 12 Conference) scored two touchdowns in the final 9 minutes, 55 seconds Saturday to cap a convincing 38-9 victory over Nos. 18 and 15 Nebraska (8-3, 4-3) at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska defensive coordinator Bo Pelini had plenty to be disgusted about after the Blackshirts allowed a season-high 561 yards, including 313 passing, and 26 first downs.
But Pelini was real peeved about Kansas State's three-play, 51-yard touchdown drive in the closing 2:30 that featured two runs by starting running back Darren Sproles.
"We had a bunch of senior walk-ons in at that point," Pelini said.
Various media members said Pelini cursed at Snyder after the game.
When asked about the on-field exchange, Pelini turned his hostility toward reporters.
"I do not want to talk about it," Pelini said. "I don't want to talk about it anymore."
Nebraska coach Frank Solich didn't know what Kansas State's 15-year coach wanted to prove when Ayo Saba scored on a 6-yard run with 1:31 left.
"You'd have to talk to Bill Snyder on that," said Solich, who fell to 2-4 against the Wildcats.
Snyder said the 29-point victory — Nebraska's worst home beating since Missouri posted a 31-0 win on Nov. 1, 1958 — was very satisfying. Kansas State had not won in Lincoln since 1968.
"Extremely important to me is the fact that long-suffering Kansas State football fans are happy this evening," Snyder said. "There's a lot of people who have had some great anguish over the years, and this is something of a reward for them."
Once again, the fourth quarter was a reward for key Kansas State starters at the expense of Nebraska reserves.
Last year, Sproles rushed for two touchdowns in the final 5:04 as Kansas State hammered Nebraska 49-13. This time, the junior picked up 76 of his game-high 140 rushing yards in the final 15 minutes.
"It was personal for me, seeing as we beat them last year and (they) said we couldn't do it again," said 'Cat quarterback Ell Roberson, who had two touchdown passes early in the fourth to put the game out of reach. "I just wanted to prove today that with the guys behind me that we could.
"We didn't start off too good," he said. "We came out in the second half like most of the year and just put it to them."
Husker players and coaches had mixed reactions to Kansas State's scoring surge at the end.
"They might have come here to prove a point," Nebraska senior linebacker Demorrio Williams said. "They did that, so I don't even worry about that. I guess they needed a point spread or something."
Nebraska offensive coordinator Barney Cotton has a simple solution to this running-up-the-score issue.
"We need to keep out of that situation," Cotton said.