Recap & notes: 2002 Nebraska-Kansas State football
Huskers Fall at No. 11 Kansas State
By NU Athletic Communications | 11/16/2002
Manhattan, Kan. — Ell Roberson rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns, as No. 11 Kansas State downed Nebraska, 49-13, Saturday afternoon at KSU Stadium.
With the win, Kansas State improved to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12, while the Huskers dropped to 7-5 and 3-4 in the league.
The Wildcats jumped to a 21-3 lead on a pair of Roberson touchdown runs, including one of 91 yards, and a blocked punt for a score before Josh Brown’s second field goal of the game with six second remaining in the half trimmed the Wildcat lead to 21-6 at halftime.
NU forced a fumble on Kansas State’s first possession of the second half, as Scott Shanle stripped Roberson of the ball and Trevor Johnson recovered at the KSU 35. The Huskers would capitalize one play later, as Jammal Lord scored on an electrifying 35-yard scoring run to put NU within 21-13.
Lord was held to just 54 yards rushing on 21 carries, while completing 9-of-25 passes for 134 yards in the loss.
On the Wildcats’ next possession, Josh Bullocks recovered a Darren Sproles fumble at the KSU 24, but the Huskers could not convert, as Josh Brown’s 28-yard field goal bounced off the right upright.
Kansas State seized the momentum from that point on, going 80 yards in seven plays as Sproles scored from 8-yards out to give the Wildcats a 28-13 lead.
KSU would tack on three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes, as Roberson scored on a 25-yard keeper before Sproles, who rushed for 102 of his 155 yards in the fourth quarter, scored on runs of 12 and 70 yards in the final 5:04 for the final margin.
Roberson’s 228 yards rushing total marked the third-highest total against NU, as KSU rushed for 415 yards in the win.
One bright spot for the Blackshirts was the return of senior rush end Chris Kelsay, who made a team-best eight tackles, including a sack, in his first action since suffering a hamstring injury on Oct. 5.
The Huskers close the regular season with the annual showdown against Colorado on Friday, Nov. 29, at 2:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by ABC.
- Nebraska drops to 7-5 on the season and 3-4 in Big 12 action, while No. 11/11 Kansas State improves to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big 12 with a 49-13 win over NU in Manhattan. It is the third straight win for the Wildcats in Manhattan and the 13th overall in the 88-game series.
- Junior Josh Davis broke his own season record for kickoff return yards and the NU 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 to 1992 and now has 1,493. The 7-for-185 breaks the NU record for most return yards in a game, and ties the record for most returns in a game, bettering the 7-185 by Joe Walker vs. Missouri, Nov. 8, 1997.
- Junior 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 plus-25 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.
- In Chris Kelsay’s first game back since game six when he suffered a hamstring pull vs. McNeese State, the senior captain tied for the team lead with eight tackles, including one of four Husker sacks, for two yards loss. Kelsay also had a pass breakup at the line. DT Ryon Bingham also had eight tackles with one for a loss and a fumble caused. LB Barrett Ruud had seven tackles and two for losses.
- Sacks...NU had 4-16. 1-2 by RE Chris Kelsay; 1-4 by RE Demoine Adams; 1-5 by LB Scott Shanle (fumble caused); 1-5 by RE Trevor Johnson.
- 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.
- Junior punter Kyle Larson had a long punt of 55 yards and pinned KSU inside its own 20 two times in first half (7, 12, nearly had a third, but it escaped NU cover men into the end zone), but had a punt blocked in the second quarter by Marcus Patton and it was recovered in the end zone by Jerad Johnson to put KSU up 21-3. It was his second blocked punt this season, both for TDs. Larson had a season-high eight punts for 323 yards (40.4 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.
- Senior split end Wilson Thomas had two catches for 41 yards in the game and now has 27-319 this season to lead the team and 65 for 949 in his career. Thomas moved up from ninth to a tie for eighth on the NU career receptions chart.
- Turnovers...KSU 3 (3 fumbles); NU 0; Nebraska recovered an Ell Roberson fumble in the first quarter (recovered by T.J. Hollowell) but NU did not convert. While NU did not have any turnovers, KSU scored on a blocked punt. 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. Jammal Lord scored one play later on a 35-yard run to pull NU to within seven. ON KSU’s next possession NU DT 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 has converted just 7-of-20 turnovers this season to 45 points.
- Penalties...After having just one penalty to five yards in the first half, compared to K-State’s 7-for-50, NU finished with 10 penalties for 94 yards (season-high in yards, equaled season-high in penalties), while KSU had 13-104, the most penalties and yards vs. NU this season.
- Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson scored on a 91-yard run to put KSU up 14-0, the first 90-yard run against the Huskers since Gayle Sayers on Nov. 9, 1963. Roberson had 228 yards rushing in the game, the most against the Huskers this season. Roberson’s 228 rushing yards are the third-most against the Huskers all-time. KSU’s 415 rushing yards are the most against the Huskers this season, ninth most all time vs. NU, and the most since Colorado rushed for 380 in 2001. KSU’s 49 points are the most vs. NU in the series. KSU outgained the Huskers rushing for the first time in 34 meetings. KSU rushed for more than 400 yards, marking the first time NU has given up 400-plus rushing yards since Oklahoma had 419 vs. NU in 1987.
- Nebraska was held to 97 yards rushing, the second time this season that NU had less than 100 (also 81 vs. Iowa State).
Head coach Frank Solich
On the game
“We played a very good football team. In order to get it done against them, we would have had to play well in all three areas. That was our intent and (we) really did not play well in any of the three areas. Special teams wise, to have it play out to where we were able to establish field position; maybe get some points through special teams play. It worked the opposite on that end of it. Offensively, did not move the ball well enough, did not convert on drives where we had pretty good field position. Defensively, we gave up way too many big plays. They were able to keep drives going. The bottom line is we did not get it done. They are a very good football team. I thought our players did play hard throughout the course of the game. We did not play particularly well.”
On the missed third quarter field goal
“We had a chance to get back in the game in the third quarter and did establish some momentum. That was an opportune time for us to make that a ballgame. We did some things that worked out okay in the third quarter, but nearly not enough of them to make it work.”
On capitalizing on K-State’s mistakes
“Particularly in the third quarter there were a couple turnovers in a row. We did get a little momentum there; we did get a few points out of it. The bottom line is you look at the number of penalties on both sides of it, it gave us a little bit of an opportunity to get a few things done, but we did not play well enough throughout four quarters of football to put ourselves in a position to be in this ballgame.”
On K-State’s defense
“They played very well against the run and really, when you look at pass-rush wise, they had four people coming at times. We didn’t get the job done in any kind of pass protection to try to get any phase of the passing game going in the second half, to give us an opportunity to make some plays to get back in the ballgame. If you add that up, they did a good job against the rush. We were able to get a few options going. We did a few other things, but there was not enough there with consistency in order to make it a game and that’s a tribute to how they played.”
Freshman I-back David Horne
On the second fumble in the third quarter
“We’re down 6-21 is the score. We’re down by a touchdown. We score again, we’re up one. That’s what kind of a take I take. If we score, then after that possession it’s a whole different ballgame. I don’t think it’s a big defeat for us. We’ll bounce back and come back next week.”
On Nebraska mentally
“We played hard throughout the whole game. Even though we got down, we still played hard and fought back. We had some key opportunities to get the W, in the end we just didn’t make it.”
On the game
“Today was a pretty good day overall. The defense played a good game. Offense did just so-so. I think in the red zone we just need to step up to the plate and gain points.”
On what to take from the game
“I’m going to take away that we can depend more on our defense more. We have to capitalize on the opportunities in the red zone. We have to get points.”
Junior defensive tackle Patrick Kabongo
On Ell Roberson
“He made a bunch of plays. His presence was very much felt. He did well.”
On what to take away from the game
“Offense and defense have to come out and play well and special teams, too. K-State played very well today. Congratulations to them. Their running back played well. The quarterback made a big time play with that 91-yard gain he had. It was good. It was amazing. He got past a few tackles. Good things to say about them. I hope that they go to a good bowl game and finish well. We have to regroup and go out and we’ll beat Colorado.”
On if they expected K-State to be this good
“No. Never, never, never. We always expect to win. They played better than us today. On any given Saturday any team can play well.”
Senior LRE Justin Smith
On Chris Kelsay
“He played well today. He made quite a few plays. That was good for our defense and for him.”
On today’s game
“Kansas State played a great game today. When they needed to make plays they did. And when we needed to make plays we didn’t. We have to give them credit. They played a great game and you’ve got to give them credit. And best of luck to them.”
On preparation for Colorado
“First of all we need to work on stopping the run. Kansas State got quite a few yards against us. That’s one of our main goals. Colorado runs the ball pretty well so that’s what we need to work on. We have a week and a half to prepare. We’re going to try to put this game behind us and get ready for Colorado.”
On Ell Roberson
“He’s a great presence on the field. He’s really quick. He makes lots of plays and he’s a really smart quarterback. He’s probably one of the best quarterbacks we’ve seen this year.”
Senior kicker Josh Brown
On whether he thought things could get tougher
“I didn’t think so. This is a hard one to swallow. The knot in my throat has gotten bigger and bigger after every loss. If you would have told me we were going to be like this at the beginning of the season I would have asked you if you had run into a wall or were on drugs because this is not what’s supposed to happen.”
On the loss
“It’s definitely uncharacteristic of us. We have not played traditional football. It’s hard for me to say that since I’m not out on the field with the guys. I do my job and that’s it. But even myself, missing that 28-yard field goal, that’s embarrassing. This is not the way I intended to end all this.”
On missed opportunities
“The opportunities were there. It’s just like a broken record. We seem to just keep kicking ourselves every time we get down and we never get back up. It’s completely disheartening and it’s hard to explain because no one thought it was going to be like this. But this is football, this is the way it goes, you can’t win everything.”
Senior linebacker Scott Shanle
On the loss
“It’s very difficult. We were playing well the last few weeks and to go back to the way we were playing earlier in the season, it’s heartbreaking.”
On the turnovers
“It’s very frustrating. Any time you get a couple of turnovers like that and you can’t capitalize on the one it just kind of deflates you a little bit. I think they scored on the next drive and I think that was the hugest change in the game.”
On Ell Roberson
“They used him very well. A lot of times he’d go back and it sometimes looked like it wasn’t any designed play. He’d just go back and look for a crease wherever it was and he would take it. We knew their offense was designed for him and he was going to get some yards, but to tear us up like he did, that just can’t happen.”
Senior center John Garrison
On the outcome
“It was pretty obvious by the end of the game and the score that they just flat out wanted it more. They outplayed us in every aspect – offense, defense, special teams you name it. The heart of this team I question it after this game. It’s disappointing. It’s not Nebraska football and it’s not this team either. We’re a better team than that.”
Junior quarterback Jammal Lord
On the Wildcats
“They’re ranked in the nation high and they showed it today. We lost it quick; they made plays when they needed to.”
On his thoughts when the Huskers were down 21-13
“We’re still here. We had a chance and we lost it.”