Monday, Nov. 15, 1999

 

Loss another disappointing finish for Wildcats


Frank Flaton
Kansas State Collegian

After Nebraska's 41-15 whooping over K-State on Saturday, only one thing remains.

When the screaming red-laden crowd dies down, when the broken and beaten Purple slouch off the field, and when the scoreboard shuts off after flashing from yet another Husker victory in Lincoln, only the harsh reality of another season ending in disappointment surfaces for the now 9-1 Wildcats.



Frank Flaton is a sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communications. You can reach him at fef3124@ksu.edu. You can also read his previous columns.

As the Wildcats moved closer and closer to their matchup against the Huskers, they stayed undefeated and their season was painted with national championship implications.

They knew that to gain the respect they have been striving for since Texas A&M shocked them 36-33 in last year's Big 12 Championship game, K-State would have to beat Nebraska.

Instead, the Huskers struck back in a rage of vengeance almost as powerful as Tanya Harding's thrashing of Nancy Kerrigan and battered K-State like a purple-headed stepchild.

Now, the Wildcats leave Lincoln with the 30-year road curse still intact and their egos badly bruised from the Husker onslaught. They leave Lincoln wondering where their dreams of national dominance went as they try to salvage the rest of the season.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, unless some miracle happens, K-State will not play for a national championship and possibly could end up playing in the Builders Square Alamo Bowl again.

However, this year the situation is very different from the nightmare of 1998. This season, K-State has no excuses.

Wildcat faithful can't blame this season on Michael Bishop's fumble against the Aggies.

The Wildcats can't blame this season on the misfortune of giving up a 15-point lead.

And the Wildcats can't blame this season on the Bowl Championship Series.

K-State can't blame the loss on referees or unsportsmanlike play, and they can't blame this game on scores being released over the intercom.

K-State has nothing to complain about. The bottom line is they played poorly and Nebraska didn't. They were just beaten.

"We weren't very good, not very good at all, probably in a lot of the phases of the game," head coach Bill Snyder said. "We turned the ball over too many times. But they played awfully well, too, except for the fact that they turned the ball over, too."

First and foremost, K-State had no quarterback. Jonathan Beasley was measly, throwing for only 100 yards, completing three of 19 attempts. Although the junior quarterback was injured, he still overthrew his receivers and nearly collapsed in the pocket.

Adam Helm, who was K-State's savior in a 35-28 win over Iowa State, wasn't much better as the "Blackshirts" made him look like a smashed pinata. Helm was sacked five times and gained 1 yard rushing.

The running game didn't look much better. The Huskers held the Wildcats to 92 rushing yards and only Frank Murphy could manage to get past the line of scrimmage, rushing for 51 yards.

"They didn't do anything unusual," offensive coordinator Ron Hudson said. "We just couldn't sustain anything."

To add to the offense's putrid play, Nebraska, who looked vulnerable earlier in the season, played like the Huskers of old, using great defense and nearly unstoppable offense to rack up 41 points on one of the best defenses in the country.

Adding to the tyranny was K-State's special teams play. The Huskers blocked a punt and a field goal and never gave David Allen the chance to return a punt.

"If the offense isn't working, there is no way you will win," Allen said. "There were just too many mistakes in the offense and the kicking game. We just didn't do it today."

K-State played bad, that's a no-brainer. Nebraska was unstoppable, with the exception of 10 fumbles. Eric Crouch did anything he wanted, and the "Blackshirts" spent most of the day on top of a K-State quarterback.

This season, it's no surprise, but K-State was no Nebraska. They beat some teams pretty badly, but they were far away from being dominating. They lost eight offensive starters and lacked a great quarterback.

Additionally, they lacked an offensive game plan and the undying consistency that Frank Solich and the Huskers have. To add to it all, the Wildcats were not good enough to beat them at Memorial Stadium. Getting a victory there is like trying to rob Fort Knox. It's not very easy. But when all the smoke clears and all the hype disappears from the game, all that remains is the defeat.

Yes, the unfortunate end to this season is really all K-State's fault. They played poorly and they just didn't have what it took to beat Nebraska.

Now, though, the Cats have two choices. They can either slouch and complain about getting whooped or they can bounce back. Coupled with a little luck from the football gods, the Wildcats could still turn this already good season in to an unforgettable one.

If the Wildcats beat Missouri, and Colorado somehow beats Nebraska in Boulder, then the Wildcats have the chance to redeem themselves in the Big 12 Championship game.

Still, the Wildcats have to take control and finish the season without making excuses.

"Last season, we let that loss in St. Louis get us beat in San Antonio," Snyder said. "I think this football team has a great deal of character, that has been evidenced by some of the comebacks. I want to believe this football team will respond the right way and can get back on track."

 

 


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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.