A KSU Fiesta celebration for Big 12 title
By ARNE GREEN
Special to The Telegram
MANHATTAN — The postgame fireworks display had nothing on the offensive explosion that preceded it.
The Kansas State Wildcats finally reverted to form, and that included having their way with the Texas Longhorns.
Hook 'em Horns seems appropriate these days.
Trailing Texas by three points after a lackluster first half, the Wildcats broke loose for five touchdowns after intermission Saturday night to roll past the Longhorns, 42-24, and claim a share of the Big 12 championship as a sellout crowd of 50,912 celebrated at Snyder Family Stadium.
By virtue of their head-to-head victory over co-champ Oklahoma, the Wildcats claimed the league's automatic BCS bowl bid and should be headed to the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3 in Glendale, Ariz.
Collin Klein completed all four of his second-half passes, including a 55-yard scoring strike to Tyler Lockett, and ran for another touchdown while Hubert scored three times.
"I feel like in the second half we started running the ball and that opened up the big pass," said Hubert, who had a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter and a 1-yarder in the fourth. "We just buckled down and ran the ball."
Two costly Texas turnovers provided the final margin for K-State, which turned a muffed Longhorn punt and Allen Chapman's interception into scores late in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats also amassed 246 yards total offense in the second half after managing just 115 in the first.
Klein finished 8-of-14 for 184 yards passing and also rushed 23 times for 103 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 9 yards. Hubert had 50 of his 66 rushing yards in the half, scoring on runs of 2, 2 and 1 yards.
"I thought we played well," K-State coach Bill Snyder said.
On the field after the game, he told the crowd: "It's special for us. I really don't know where we're going to go but I have an idea. It's a little warmer out there. We've been there before."
It will be the third Fiesta Bowl trip for K-State, its second under the BCS system. The Wildcats also went to Arizona following their 2003 Big 12 championship.
K-State put together a pair of third-quarter scoring drives to grab a 21-17 lead, with Hubert scoring twice from 2 yards. The second drive, which ended with 47 seconds left in the period, covered 67 yards in 11 plays and took 6:37 off the clock.
The Wildcats, who trailed 10-7 at intermission, got back on track quickly in the second, taking the opening kickoff and driving 75 yards in seven plays, capped by Hubert's run on an option to the left.
Hubert started the drive with a 28-yard run, and two plays later Klein hit tight end Travis Tannahill over the middle for 29 yards. Klein followed with a 10-yard run to set up first and goal at the 5.
Texas answered immediately with a seven-play drive of its own, covering 90 yards as Malcolm Brown picked up the last 2. Case McCoy hit Johnathan Gray for 30 yards and D.J. Monroe ran 46 yards on a reverse to set up the score.
But K-State came right back to take the lead for good.
The Wildcats made it a two-possession game with 14:06 left on the first play following a punt as Klein hit a wide-open Lockett deep. Drew Liddle then recovered a muffed Texas punt at the Longhorn 39 midway through the fourth quarter and took 4:42 off the clock with an eight-play drive, culminating in Hubert's 1-yarder at the 3:06 mark.
Chapman's interception and return down the left sideline to the 10-yard line resulted in Klein's second TD run.
K-State finished with 352 yards total offense, 184 passing and 168 on the ground. Texas had 413 yards with 314 through the air.
McCoy, starting in place of the injured David Ash, completed 26-of-34 passes with two touchdowns and two picks.
Malone jumped a sideline route at the Texas 30 and took it down his right sideline untouched to the end zone, only to have the touchdown negated when he dropped the ball before it crossed the goal line.
Because the touchdown was signaled, the ball was no longer live and K-State had it at the half-yard line, where Klein plunged in on the next play.
After forcing Texas to punt, the Wildcats started inside their 1-yard line and put together their best drive of the half to the Longhorn 17. But on third and 5, Klein's underthrew Tyler Lockett in the end zone and Adrian Phillips intercepted.
Kansas State tied its best winning season in school history with its 11th triumph against just the one loss to Baylor two weeks earlier. The Wildcats and Sooners were 8-1 in the conference. Texas falls to 8-4.
overall and 5-4 in the Big 12.