MANHATTAN — Charlie Weis took his time before emerging from the visiting locker room after Kansas absorbed a 56-16 beating from No. 7 Kansas State.
His parting words to reporters indicated why the postgame chat with his players had taken the better part of a half hour.
The Jayhawks allowed their in-state rival to score more than 50 points for the third straight year. Kansas State’s John Hubert ran for 101 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries, while quarterback Collin Klein had two touchdowns running and throwing.
Essentially, the Wildcats scored at will.
Needless to say, Weis did not approve.
“One thing that I can’t do is I can’t just stay status quo,” Weis said. “I can’t just say, ‘Well, that’s OK. We got our butts whooped by K-State. That’s OK, fellas.’ Trust me, that’s not the message that was relayed in the locker room after the game.”
Kansas’ Dayne Crist threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. The Notre Dame transfer was replaced by Michael Cummings in the fourth quarter.
James Sims had 115 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Jayhawks.
Weis used a go-for-broke mentality — including several successful trick plays on special teams — in an effort to spring the upset. He succeeded for the first 30 minutes, the Jayhawks holding the ball for 21:35 in the first half, before things finally got away from them.
“It really came down to not executing,” Crist said. “There wasn’t a play that took life out of us one way or another. We’re going to battle as long as there’s time on the clock.”
Kansas (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) put together a time-gobbling, 86-yard drive that kept Klein and Co. on the sideline for a good chunk of the first quarter and ended in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tony Pierson. Crist was 7-of-8 passing for 77 yards on the series.
Kansas State (5-0, 2-0) answered with a 74-yard drive of its own. Hubert did almost all the work, and his 20-yard touchdown run over a gaping right side knotted the game late in the quarter.
That’s when Kansas got sneaky — or downright audacious.
Held to three-and-presumably-out, Weis told Ron Doherty to execute what amounted to a punter draw that went for a first down. The Jayhawks marched to the Kansas State 23 before they were held again, but this time they faked a field goal, and holder Blake Jablonski threw a pass to defensive end Toben Opurum — a former running back — to set up Sims’ short TD run.
“When we put something in, you won’t have to worry about me taking a chance, and especially in a game like this,” Weis said. “When you know you’re playing against a team of this caliber, you’ve got to be willing to take some risk, and we did.”
The fakes went swimmingly, but Kansas still had no answer for the Wildcats’ offense.
Kansas State needed only four plays and just over a minute to answer again. Klein scooted for 27 yards and two plays later hit Tyler Lockett in stride for a 34-yard touchdown reception.
After holding Kansas to three-and-out — this time the Jayhawks did punt — the Wildcats needed only three plays to score. Angelo Pease ran for 28 yards, Klein went for 31 and then the fullback-like quarterback barreled in from a yard out to make it 21-14 with 9:35 left in the half.
It looked like the Wildcats might score again just before the half when Crist was intercepted by Nigel Malone, who returned it to the Kansas 5. Crist made the touchdown-saving tackle.
There were only 16 seconds left on the clock, and Klein burned Kansas State’s last timeout for no apparent reason. He then ran a designed draw play and was stacked up in bounds and short of the goal line, allowing the final seconds to tick away without getting another play off.
In the second half, it was Kansas committing all those mistakes, and Kansas State taking advantage of them.
Klein’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Travis Tannahill made it 28-14, and after Kansas managed a safety, Tre Parmelee fumbled the ensuing kickoff to give the Wildcats the ball back. Hubert made one cut and ran untouched 32 yards for another touchdown and a 35-16 lead.
Crist was picked off again on the Jayhawks’ next possession and, three plays later, Hubert scored from a yard out. Klein added another touchdown run minutes later to make it 49-16, and the Wildcats tacked on one more score for the final margin.
“You always have to respond to a sudden change or turnover in the proper fashion, but they were scoring in chunks, just big play after big play,” Weis said. “I’m really disappointed.”