ALYSSA SCHUKAR/ DN
Nebraska's Joe Dailey talks on the phone to the coaching box after fumbling the ball in the fourth quarter. NU lost to Kansas State 45-21.
Menacing Wildcats dish out stinging loss to NU
By Vince Kuppig / Daily Nebraskan
October 25, 2004
MANHATTAN, Kan. — It only took one quarter for everything
One moment, coaches Bill Callahan and Bill Busch pumped their
fists in jubilation. Teammates swarmed safety Daniel Bullocks after
he brought Nebraska back into the game with a third-quarter
A quarter later, cornerback Fabian Washington sat on the bench
by himself as his fellow Blackshirts tried to defend the Kansas
State Wildcats. Quarterback Joe Dailey sat slumped on the bench
covering his face with a towel, hiding his emotions after his third
turnover put the game out of reach.
Another 10 minutes went by on the game clock, leaving only
zeroes as Nebraska’s players trotted off Wagner Field on
Saturday afternoon with the scoreboard reading 45-21 in Kansas
Moments later, the Cornhuskers (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) emerged from
their locker room. Some players declined interview requests.
Callahan, the first-year NU coach who brought the West Coast
offense, showed up to his post-game press conference as emotional
as he’s been all year.
“I’m accountable,” said Callahan, his voice
raising. “I offer no excuses. Let’s understand that.
There are no excuses, none whatsoever. I’m very adamant about
“I take total accountability, total accountability for
what transpired out on the field. Total.”
Callahan wasn’t the only one shouldering the blame. On
defense, the Blackshirts couldn’t tackle the Wildcats (3-4,
1-3) – reminiscent of NU’s 70-10 shellacking at Texas
Tech two weeks ago. Offensively, the Huskers couldn’t hold on
to the ball in the second half – a problem that’s
haunted NU all season.
Maybe the loss wasn’t as bad as Texas Tech, but this one
came to Nebraska’s top rival – a team that has now
beaten the Huskers five of the last seven times, including four in
a row in Manhattan. It came to a team one Husker had earlier in the
week said that they wanted to “beat and beat
“It was surprising,” said senior linebacker and
co-captain Barrett Ruud. “I thought we’d play a lot
better game, but we didn’t.”
Despite the final score and how the game started, the Huskers
still were very much in the game with six minutes remaining in the
third quarter. Nebraska appeared to have momentum after Bullocks
returned a botched punt snap for a touchdown minutes after halftime
to bring the Huskers within three at 24-21.
The score stayed the same until five minutes remained in the
third quarter and KSU running back Darren Sproles broke free for a
34-yard run followed by a quarterback Allen Webb’s 1-yard
From that point on, it only got worse.
After the two teams traded possessions on punts, Dailey had
three consecutive turnovers to start the fourth quarter. The last
two led to Wildcat touchdowns. After KSU’s final score,
Brandon Jackson fumbled the kickoff, Nebraska’s fourth
turnover in the fourth quarter.
“A lot of things happened today,” Dailey said.
“A lot of things went wrong in the second half. A lot of
things went really well in the first half.
“It’s just a matter of putting two-and-two together
and making four. We got to make a transition from a good first half
to the second half. That changes the whole ballgame.”
A week after going 13 of 20 for 342 yards with five touchdowns
against Baylor, Dailey was 3 of 12 for 116 yards with one
interception against KSU. Dailey, who also lost two fumbles,
didn’t have a completion after halftime.
As bad as the final 20 minutes of the game went for the Huskers,
the start of the game wasn’t much better.
Kansas State scored on its first two possessions and NU went
three-and-out. After KSU increased its lead to 21-7 in the second
quarter, Nebraska had run just seven plays with two first downs.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, already had 13 first downs on 32
“I was concerned about our start,” Callahan said.
“I’m still concerned about the way we start games and
start halves. That was not our best football.”
Saturday’s game also didn’t display Nebraska’s
best defense, which had trouble stopping the quarterback draw and
Webb, starting the third game of his career, had 34 rushes for
147 yards with four touchdowns. Sproles had his first 100-yard
performance in four games. In total, the Wildcats finished with 418
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said the Blackshirts had
practiced everything KSU threw at them. They just couldn’t
stop the Wildcats.
Both Washington, who was picked on several times by the KSU
passing attack, and Le Kevin Smith, who early in the week said the
Huskers would hand it to the Wildcats with a “big
stick,” didn’t comment following the game.
During the week leading up to their showdown with Kansas State,
the Huskers had talked about winning the Big 12 North.
After Saturday’s game, Callahan was asked if his team has
what it takes to become bowl eligible. With four games left,
Nebraska must win two to play in a bowl game for the 36th
“Let’s just take it a game at a time,” said
Callahan, whose Huskers somehow still sit in a first-place tie atop
the Big 12 North standings heading into Saturday’s game
against co-leader Missouri. “We just got to keep marching