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Posted on Thu, Oct. 07, 2010 11:31 PM
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Nebraska romps past K-State 48-13

Daniel Thomas came into the game averaging 157 yards a game for the Wildcats but was held to 63 yards on 22 carries.
Travis Heying
Daniel Thomas came into the game averaging 157 yards a game for the Wildcats but was held to 63 yards on 22 carries.
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MANHATTAN, Kan. | There was no hiding the pain after this one.

Instead of proving to the country they were worthy of a national ranking, the Kansas State Wildcats got exposed by a vastly superior opponent on Thursday night.

The seventh-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers outplayed the Wildcats in every phase of the game, doing almost anything they wanted on their way to a 48-13 blowout victory.

Shortly after the slaughter ended, K-State coach Bill Snyder said he wanted his players to hurt and take some time to reflect on this loss. No problem there.

“We were taking this game as an opportunity for us to show the world how good we were,” wide receiver Chris Harper said, “and we came in and fell flat on our faces.”

Added senior offensive lineman Zach Kendall: “This one sucks. This loss sucks. We have got to come back from this.”

Doing so will require an overhaul in several areas. Nebraska was so dominant in front of ESPN’s cameras that K-State fans who had spent their morning camping out for seats headed to the exits midway through the fourth quarter, leaving a passionate contingent of Nebraska fans on hand to loudly chant “Go Big Red” in the game’s final moments.

The loss dropped K-State to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12, damaging its chances for a North Division championship. Nebraska improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in its final Big 12 season — and capped a 99-year-old series with Kansas State in dominating fashion. The Huskers are now 78-15-2.

Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez was the main reason for the uncompetitive evening. Despite more than a week to prepare for the redshirt freshman, the Wildcats were ill-prepared to stop his speed and looked foolish trying to tackle him. Martinez scampered all across the field for 241 rushing yards and four touchdowns — both Nebraska single-game records for a quarterback — in 15 carries. He also threw for 128 yards and a touchdown, giving him 369 yards of total offense, a freshman single-game school record.

Whether on designed runs or broken plays, Martinez hurt the Wildcats. In the first quarter he zipped 14 yards into the end zone after mishandling the snap. In the second quarter, he broke off a 54-yard run and later scored on a 35-yard run. He outran every player on the field for an 80-yard score after halftime and scored his fourth rushing TD from 41 yards out in the fourth quarter.

“When I looked up, he was already 50 yards down the field,” K-State cornerback David Garrett said. “I went to the sideline and tried to figure out what was going on and what they were doing so we could do something to stop it. It just happened so fast.”

That’s just the kind of night it was for K-State.

It was an amazing performance that will likely earn Martinez national-award recognition. Even though many fantastic running quarterbacks have passed through Lincoln — Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch to name a couple — Martinez already has found a spot in the program’s record books.

“He made it look awful easy,” Snyder said. “He’s a tremendous athlete and obviously has excellent speed. He’s faster than we are.”

Running back Roy Helu Jr. added 110 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and several big plays broke open a game that Nebraska led 17-3 at halftime.

While Nebraska’s star player was impressing the 51,015 in attendance and a large TV audience, K-State’s star couldn’t get anything going. Senior running back Daniel Thomas, who many had suggested could seriously break into the national-award discussion with a big game himself, was held to 63 yards on 22 carries.

Thomas had entered the game as the Big 12’s top rusher with 628 yards but was supplanted by Martinez. Martinez was third in the conference before the game with 496 yards but afterward had the lead with 737.

K-State briefly tried running Thomas out of the Wildcat formation, throwing a few screen passes his way, but Nebraska’s physical defense was in position to quickly tackle him throughout the night. Lavonte David, who had 16 tackles and a sack, was often the one bringing Thomas down.

Senior quarterback Carson Coffman couldn’t get anything going to help ease the defensive pressure that Thomas felt, and threw for only 91 yards. Snyder called for backups Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur to enter the game, and said the competition for K-State’s starting quarterback spot will be reopened in practice.

“Two weeks in a row we’ve struggled,” Snyder said. “Maybe we’re not as good an offensive football team as somebody wanted to project in some point in time. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

After two long Josh Cherry field goals — K-State’s only points through three quarters — the Wildcats finally managed to find the end zone when Coffman hit Harper for a 2-yard touchdown pass.

Those were the Wildcats’ final points of the night, and they weren’t nearly enough.

On this night, K-State seldom accomplished anything that was.

Posted on Thu, Oct. 07, 2010 11:31 PM
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