MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- On a cold and snowy night, the Kansas
State Wildcats got everything they were wishing for.
The Wildcats (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) not only edged a Nebraska (No. 5 ESPN, No. 4 AP) team that had beaten them
31 times in the last 32 years, but also put themselves in a strong
position for a second shot at No. 1 Oklahoma.
Kansas State may have done Oklahoma a big favor as well.
Overcoming sleet and snow and a late Nebraska charge, the Wildcats beat the Huskers 29-28 on a frightful Saturday
night, ruining the Nebraska's national title hopes and giving
themselves a clear path to the Big 12 North title.
A Nebraska victory would have wrapped up the North Division
title for the Huskers (8-2, 5-2) and given them a rematch in the
conference championship game Dec. 2 with Oklahoma, which beat them
31-14 and replaced them as No. 1.
By beating woeful Missouri next week in its regular-season
finale, Kansas State (9-2, 5-2) will be the North champ and quite
likely draw Oklahoma, which whipped the then-No. 2 Wildcats 41-31
on Oct. 14 and ended their national title hopes.
"If there's one team we want to face, it's Oklahoma," said
defensive end Monty Beisel.
Nebraska took the loss of its national title hopes hard.
"This is very difficult for a team to take," coach Frank
Solich said. "They worked tremendously hard to put themselves into
position ... but they're not going to reach all their goals."
Quincy Morgan caught seven passes for 199 yards and two
touchdowns, including the game-winner with 2:52 to play when he
took Jonathan Beasley's pass over the middle and turned it into a
12-yard TD play.
Then with 50 seconds left and a heavy snow falling, Eric
Crouch's pass bounced off the hands of Matt Davison on fourth-and-5
and Kansas State went to 2-18 against Top 10 teams in the Bill
Snyder era. Snyder is 2-11 against Nebraska.
|Kansas State celebrated in the snow Saturday after holding on to upset Nebraska in a key Big 12 showdown.|
"Quincy made some tremendous plays," Snyder said.
But the architect of the amazing turnaround of the once-woeful
Kansas State program sounded most proud of Beasley, who was much
maligned last year after taking over for the graduated Michael
Bishop and was the starter in a 41-15 loss at Nebraska a year ago.
"Here's a guy who's lived with all the criticism. There wasn't
anybody who wanted to accept the fact Jonathan was injured last
year and that definitely hindered his performance. But everybody
wanted to criticize," Snyder said.
"The score of that game has been on his locker for a year's
After Crouch's 1-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left in the
first quarter, a Nebraska offense which had been averaging more
than 487 yards per game had four punts, one interception, one
fumble and one missed field goal in its next seven possessions.
In the meantime, Kansas State turned a 14-7 deficit into a 23-14
lead. The Huskers -- who had only 105 total yards in the first three
quarters -- did not get another first down until Correll Buckhalter
plowed ahead for 5 yards on fourth-and-1 with 16 seconds to play in
But that play kept a drive alive that Dan Alexander capped with
a 19-yard touchdown run that made it 23-20 with 14:02 to play.
Then on the Huskers' next possession, Alexander carried five
straight plays for 74 yards, busting through a hole on the right
side and going 45 yards for a touchdown that gave Nebraska a 28-23
lead with 9:53 to play even though the Huskers had been outplayed
almost all night.
The wind chill at kickoff was 17 degrees and a cold mixture of
sleet and rain began falling midway through the first quarter,
pelting the KSU Stadium record crowd of 53,811.
Morgan made three great plays in the first half as the Wildcats
took a 17-14 lead. His lunging 41-yard catch set up Josh Scobey's
1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His leaping fingertip
reception of Beasley's daring pass on third-and-24 from the 2 moved
the Wildcats to their own 37, leading to Jamie Rheem's 38-yard
Then on first down from the 49 with 1:17 to play in the half,
Morgan took a short slant pass over the middle, juked two tacklers
and outran two more and brought the shivering crowd to its feet as
he sped into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 17-14 lead.
In the first half, Morgan had five catches for 147 yards.
"I knew I had to come out and play well against Nebraska,"
Morgan said. "I wanted to do my part for the team. We knew this
was a big game. The loser goes home."
Morgan's 40-yard catch set up Rheem's 27-yarder early in the
third period, then following a Nebraska fumble Rheem hit a
29-yarder for a 23-14 lead.
Nebraska took a 7-0 lead just 2:05 into the game when Aaron
Terpening blocked a punt and Keyuo Craver snatched the ball out of
the air and returned it 12 yards for a score.
Nebraska's only sustained offensive effort of the first half was
a 12-play, 56-yard march capped by Crouch's 1-yard run.
The Huskers wound up with 239 total yards, 200 rushing.
The funniest moment of the night was midway through the third
period when referee Steve Usechek, trying to explain a complicated
double infraction on a punt play, announced a 15-yard penalty
No. 11 K-State
No. 3 Oklahoma
No. 23 Notre Dame
W 27-24 (OT)
No. 18 Texas
No. 2 K-State
No. 18 Texas A&M
College Football Scoreboard
Kansas State Clubhouse