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story image 1 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 to turnaround.

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 touchdown.

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 State’s favor.

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 that.

“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 badly.”

“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 touchdown.

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 plays.

“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 option.

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 offensive yards.

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 consecutive season.

“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 on.”

 end of article dingbat

Menacing Wildcats dish out stinging loss to NU
Post your feedback on this topic here
10/25/2004 I was in Manhattan. The Husker fans... Brad
10/25/2004 Wow.....this is tough to swallow. It... Bill G
10/25/2004 I'm afraid we have a bad situation... jimmyb
10/25/2004 Maybe Coach Callahan is finally... rlc
10/25/2004 What is the deal Pederson? Even... Marc
10/25/2004 Brad, speaking of waking up, the... Walt Harris
10/25/2004 Maybe Kevin Cosgrove is the problem.... madhuskerfan
10/25/2004 That Callahan sure is an idiot. He... Chad
10/26/2004 Chad, I believe the Huskers have... Walt Harris
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