6:00: Morning News

K-State’s passing game near perfect in comeback

MANHATTAN, Kan. — That physical, run-right-at-you Kansas State offense can also throw it past you.

Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett catches a touchdown behind West Virginia cornerback Travis Bell during the second half Saturday.

West Virginia relearned that lesson Saturday during a second-half torching when K-State posted a pair of 100-yard receivers in a 35-12 rout.

Tyler Lockett, the known commodity, made eight catches and three touchdowns among his 111 yards. (That was just more of the same from last year’s meeting when he scorched WVU for 194 yards.) But what of this Curry Sexton, a junior who posted career highs of six catches for 112 yards? Was he the same receiver who had 189 yards combined during K-State’s first six games?

“I could care less about my 100 yards today, to be honest with you,” Sexton said. “If I had zero yards and a win, I would take that any day over a statistic.

“It just feels good to win again. It has been six weeks or something.”

Since Sept. 14 to be exact—that’s the last time K-State won a football game, and it came against FBS newcomer UMass. Saturday’s slump-buster against West Virginia felt far more satisfying, and uncanningly familiar.

Remember when Collin Klein completed 19-of-21 passes in Morgantown last time? Well, the Jake Waters-Daniel Sams combo nearly equalled that with an 18-of-21 effort.

“Jake and Daniel were throwing the heck out of the ball,” said Sexton, who caught a 32-yard pass on third-and-8 with K-State leading 14-12 early in the fourth quarter. That grab in front of safety Karl Joseph was part of the Wildcats’ converting 7-of-8 third downs in the second half.

Lockett’s first touchdown, thrown by Waters, came on a 35-yard post pattern against Icky Banks that gave K-State the lead in the first quarter. The next one was tossed by Sams–a leaping 9-yarder over Banks in the back of the end zone—and started the Wildcats’ 28-point second-half avalanche after WVU had taken a 12-7 edge.

The 5-foot-11 Lockett slipped behind Travis Bell to add a 24-yarder from Waters in the fourth quarter. The only guy Lockett didn’t catch a pass against was WVU Daryl Worley, the freshman cornerback who spent the afternoon in a sweat suit, sidelined by what one assistant called an undisclosed injury.

Lockett, returning from his own leg injury, said that “when you sit out, you get to see exactly how much you missed the game.” Well K-State’s quarterbacks didn’t miss him Saturday and WVU’s secondary didn’t provide much deterrence.

“When they’re running routes, our defenders are supposed to cover them,” Holgorsen deadpanned after the game. “When the ball’s in the air you’re supposed to make plays on the ball. They did it, we didn’t.”

Tramaine Thompson caught a 30-yard scoring strike from Waters, as the junior college transfer went 10-of-13 for 198 yards. Sams, the alleged running half of K-State’s QB tandem, hit on all eight of his passes for 93 yards.

“We were 18 out of 21 on pass attempts today, but that could have been 10 out of 21 if (the receivers) do not make some of the catches they made,” said K-State boss Bill Snyder.

The 74-year-old coach wasn’t totally overlooking his QBs, however. Waters, in particular rebounded after seeing his playing time diminish in recent weeks.

“I am proud of him,” Snyder said. “When things do not go your way, that is what you are supposed to do. We are all supposed to do that. That is what life is all about.”

West Virginia, losers of three straight, could learn a life lesson from Snyder’s team.

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