After the Kansas defense stopped Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein short of the goal line at the end of the first half, KU coach Charlie Weis thought his team had something to build on in the second half.
Trailing 21-14 going into the locker room at halftime, the Jayhawks got the ball first, but went three-and-out to start the third quarter.
The Wildcats went on to outscore KU 28-2 in the third quarter, using just 10 plays to rack up the 28 points and cruiise to the 56-16 victory Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“I think I was a little bit surprised that we didn’t play better in the third quarter because we kind of got a little bit of a gift — them not scoring after our interception, coming out of there empty,” he said. “It was only a one-score game, we went three-and-out and they scored.
“Then we went on the long drive and threw the interception. From there on, I think K-State basically got the best of us.”
The Jayhawks had five drives in the third quarter and turned the ball over three times — two interceptions and a fumble — while also punting on the other two.
Weis said the play that stuck out the most to him in the third quarter was a fumble that occurred after the Jayhawks tackled K-State running back John Hubert in the end zone for a safety.
On the ensuing free kick, freshman kick returner Tre’ Parmalee fumbled the ball at the K-State 32. One play later, Hubert scored a touchdown to put the Wildcats up 35-16.
“It seemed like the third quarter went on forever because they were scoring quick,” Weis said. “That turnover was a big one because this time you have the emotional high of a safety and then you have the emotional low of turning the ball over and them scoring.
“You always have to respond to certain change or turnover in a proper fashion. They were scoring in chunks and had big play after big play.”
Weis said the gameplan against K-State was to be methodical, to “nickel and dime,” the Wildcats’ defense down the field. But the Wildcats crushed that plan in the third quarter when they began scoring in bunches.
The Jayhawks started the game looking competitive — scoring on their opening drive to take a lead — and then later responding to a touchdown from K-State with one of their own to go ahead 14-7.
But the Jayhawks missed a 24-yard field goal on their fourth drive, missing out on an opportunity to cut in to a 21-14 deficit.
KU quarterback Dayne Crist finished the game 16-of-27 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown, but he was hammered by the K-State defense all day, getting sacked four times, intercepted three times and fumbling once as well.
Weis said only one of Crist’s three picks was a bad play on the quarterback’s end. And he said Micha Cummings’ entrance into the game as quarterback in the fourth quarter was just to get the player some experience.
“There were two throws I’d like to have back, but one hurt more than the other,” he said. “The post for the interception, that was a critical play. The other play isn’t the two interceptions. You’re sticking the slant into traffic, it’s bang-bang, ball gets banged up in the air. To me, it was just a comeback on the right-hand side. Those are things when they are open like that, you’ve got to make those.”
On the other side of the game, Weis said it was tough for his defense to deal with Klein. It was even tougher to counteract his ability to draw the defense in, only to hand the ball off to a running back.
“That’s every game… it’s last week, it’s the week before that, it’s the week before that,” he said. “The thing about this kid, he doesn’t have to throw it too much for them to be good on offense because two key ingredients with Collin — he can run the ball with power, he isn’t one of those quarterbacks that has to get on the edge and be a read-option guy, and then he causes misdirection problems with Hubert.
“If you spend all your time trying to stop Collin, now he’s handing the ball off. I can’t tell you how many times in this game you saw the running back in space.”
It was the third straight Sunflower Showdown that saw the Wildcats score at least 56 points and hold the Jayhawks to less than 17.
In just his first year as Kansas coach, and his first experience with the rivalry game, Weis said there shouldn’t be repercussions in recruiting after blowout losses to the Wildcats.
“If I were a recruit I’d want to come play for us — you’d get on the field pretty quick don’t you think?” he said. “There’s two angles when you look at recruiting. One angle is how the team is doing, the other angle is do you want to play? You watched the game right?
“I means it really doesn’t have to be that difficult sometimes in recruiting, these guys all want an opportunity to come in and play, they want to be the reason and they want to be difference-makers. Maybe they’ll be calling me, I might not even have to call them.”