Monday, Nov. 15, 1999


Lost in Red

Championship hopes disappear in sea of red

Joshua Kinder
Kansas State Collegian

LINCOLN, Neb. - Coaches hate turnovers and missed opportunities.

In No. 9 K-State's 41-15 loss to the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday night, there were a lot of both.


Carolyn McMannan, left, and Amanda Curth, right, watch the last few minutes tick away in K-State's loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska won the game, 41-15.

K-State (9-1, 6-1) lost four fumbles, threw one interception and had one field goal and two punts blocked. As far missed opportunities, of the Huskers' 10 fumbles, just three found their way into the hands of the Wildcats. But that just touches the tip of many chances the Cats had to win the game.

"We weren't very good, very good at all, probably in a lot of phases of the game," head coach Bill Snyder said. "It's pretty obvious. We turned the ball over too many times. We lost four turnovers, two blocked punts. Now I don't know many points that turned into, but that's a whole bunch of points that we provided for Nebraska.

"They played awfully well too, with the exception that they turned the ball over, too. Our turnovers seemed to be a little bit more costly."

The Huskers (9-1, 6-1) were led by sophomore quarterback Eric Crouch, who ran 27 times for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, while passing for an additional 69 yards. His play accounted for 227 of the team-total 378 yards. Crouch ran over, around and through K-State's No. 2 nationally ranked defense in the first half for 124 yards, which in turn gave the Huskers a 24-9 halftime lead, the first of the season from which the Cats haven't been able to rebound.

"I was happy with the defense in the second half," senior linebacker Mark Simoneau said. "We gave up one big running play really, and besides that we played really well, so I'm real proud of the guys on how hard they played in the second half."

On the first play of the game, the Huskers' running back Dan Alexander fumbled and senior safety Lamar Chapman recovered the ball on Nebraska 28-yard line. Three offensive plays later, Jamie Rheem's 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Husker Kyle Vanden Bosch.

Those early turn of events seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. Anytime the Cats had the opportunity to make the play, the No. 4 Husker defense simply would not allow it, either via K-State turnover or stuffing of the play. They kept the K-State running attack to just 92 yards of output and a minute 2.5 yards-per-carry average.


Nebraska rover Mike Brown comes up with the ball after K-State quarterback Adam Helm was sacked and fumbled the football.

"That's the consistency factor," offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Ron Hudson said. "We're proud to be 9-1 right now. We came into the this game 9-0 with a rebuilding process, and the fact that that rebuilding process hasn't culminated yet is probably because of the some of the inexperience we have, and against a team like Nebraska, that can catch up to you.

"Give Nebraska some credit for stopping us," Hudson said. "There were some opportunities for us, and we didn't capitalize, and that's the difference. We beat Texas because we didn't turn the ball over - period. We turned the ball over here, and that's the difference."

Coupled with the Husker defensive effort, which yielded just 234 total yards from the K-State offense, is the lackluster play of junior quarterback Jonathan Beasley.

Throughout the season, Beasley has been inconsistent, compiling a less-than-stellar 45-percent completion percentage. But at times, Beasley has performed well, namely at Oklahoma State, when he passed for 311 yards and accounted for six touchdowns. On Saturday, it would've taken a carbon-copy performance to have had success against the quick Nebraska defense.

With that in mind, his inconsistency was at its worst as he completed just three of 19 pass attempts for 100 yards, 55 of which came on one play to wide receiver Quincy Morgan.

"It's pretty obvious," Snyder said. "We're not setting the world on fire with the play out of our quarterbacks."

With just one regular season game remaining with the Missouri Tigers next week, Snyder said the goal at hand for the Cats is to regroup and not have a repeat performance of last season.

"Obviously that makes an impression on you," Snyder said. "These are young guys that haven't been in this position that many times. We were last December 5th, and that was the last time.

"I know that there is pain in our locker room, and there's pain with our players, and there's pain with our coaches, and that's to be expected. But we're still in our season, and we can't let happen to us what happened a year ago. We let that loss in St. Louis get us beat in San Antonio. I just don't want this football team to let this loss get us beat in Manhattan against the University of Missouri."



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This item was published in the Kansas State Collegian on Monday, Nov. 15, 1999.

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Copyright 1999, Student Publications Inc. All rights reserved. This document may be distributed electronically, provided it is distributed in its entirety and includes this notice. However, it cannot be reprinted without the express written permission of Student Publications Inc., Kansas State University.