Jayhawks Drop Season Finale to K-State, 51-13
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Eleven different KU receivers had their hands in the mix on offense, but the quick-strike attack of the Wildcats kept the scoring at bay as Kansas State defeated the Jayhawks and ended the careers of 21 Kansas football seniors in the annual Sunflower Showdown, 51-13, Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The 11 different receivers that caught at least one pass was the most by a Kansas offense since Sept. 22, 2007, against Florida International, when KU accomplished the same feat.
The Wildcats (9-2, 7-1 Big 12) posted a 505-yard effort on the day, largely in part to two 100-yard receivers in Curry Sexton (141) and Tyler Lockett (119). The duo each finished the day with nine catches and at least one touchdown, with Lockett scoring twice.
K-State quarterback Jake Waters connected on 21 of 27 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns to finish the game with the highest completion percentage for a KU opposing play caller since Iowa State’s Grant Rohach completed 75-percent of his passes against the Jayhawks in 2013.
For Kansas (3-9, 1-8 Big 12) twenty-one seniors suited up for the last time in a Jayhawk uniform and helped KU to 197 yard of total offense. Junior quarterback Michael Cummings completed 16 of 27 pass attempts for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while also tossing two interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Nick Harwell was on the receiving end of one of those touchdowns and finished the day with three catches for 41 yards. Senior tight end Trent Smiley caught the other scoring strike, the first of his career, and the only reception for him on the day.
Senior safety Cassius Sendish finished out his career with nine solo stops to lead the defensive effort, while senior BUCK Michael Reynolds and senior linebacker Ben Heeney posted seven and six tackles, respectively.
Heeney closed out his career with 335 tackles, ranking him eighth all-time in the Kansas history books. In addition, his one tackle-for-loss on the day pushed him into fourth-place with 35.5 career TFLs.
K-State lit the scoreboard up in the first quarter with 17-unanswered points to open the game, scoring on all three possessions in the opening frame. Robinson rushed for 35 yards to creep into the red zone on KSU’s opening drive to lay the foundation for a one-yard rushing touchdown by Waters.
On the ensuing Wildcat drive following the first of Cummings’ picks, Waters hit Lockett for 44 yards on the first play to chalk up another seven points and increase the K-State lead, 14-0. Kicker Matthew McCrane drilled a field goal from 41 yards out to cap off the 17-point deficit for the Jayhawks.
Kansas rallied in the second quarter to chalk up its first points of the game to cut the Wildcat lead to 11, 17-6. With the ball on their own 46, KU junior running back De’Andre Mann rattled off three-straight carries of four yards each, before Avery added 15 on the ground of his own to set up the lone Jayhawk touchdown in the first half. Cummings threw a dart to Harwell for 27 yards and the score, but a blocked extra point kept the squad to six points in the half.
The Wildcats scored on their following two drives to pull ahead, 31-6, to close out the half. KSU running back Charles Jones rushed for an 11-yard touchdown, while Waters hit Lockett for an easy six yard strike for his second scoring reception of the first two frames.
K-State totaled 289 yards of offense in the first half with 184 yards in the air. Lockett caught seven passes for 104 of those yards and two touchdowns, while Robinson ran for 45 of them on the ground. Kansas managed 104 yards in the half with 74 in the air. Harwell caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown, while Mundine added two snags for 20.
Kansas State wasted no time adding to its lead in the second half, driving 59 yards on seven plays to pull ahead 32 points, 38-6, thanks to a 13 yard touchdown rush by Jones.
The Jayhawks answered back on the following drive, cutting the lead back down to 25, 38-13, with 6:32 to play in the third quarter. Cummings hit King for 12 yards, before a 15-yard pickup of his own to put Kansas in striking distance of its second score. Redshirt freshman tight end Ben Johnson caught his first pass of the game for 14 yards and a first down, to set up the first career touchdown reception for senior tight end Trent Smiley to cap off the 10 play, 75 yard drive.
However, K-State scored on their next three-straight possessions to put the game out of the reach and end the contest with 13-unanswered points for a 51-13 final. The Wildcats scored on every drive but one, punting only once early in the second quarter.
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