K-State's Snyder goes out with win

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Wildcats rallied for a 36-28 victory in their coach's final game.

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Bill Snyder stood at the podium with a smile and a confession.

"If there was any good coaching today," he said, "it wasn't by me. The assistants did a great job. ... I was just there."

Snyder joked and choked up by turns, at one point stopping to say, "OK, now I'm just rambling," after Kansas State's 36-28 victory over Missouri on Saturday, his last game as the Wildcats' coach.

He announced his retirement Tuesday, after 17 seasons in Manhattan.

"I'm spent," said Snyder, who took over the nation's only 500-loss team in 1989 and led the Wildcats to a 136-68-1 record and a place among the nation's top programs before their fortunes fell off in his final two seasons. "It's been a far different week than I had anticipated. It's been a hard week and a very emotional time."

Saturday's game fit right in then, with the Wildcats trailing by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter before rallying to win.

And afterward, following Snyder's emotional speech to the crowd of 46,039, his players hoisted him to their shoulders and carried him to the locker room.

"He kept telling me to put him down," offensive tackle Jeromey Clary said, "but I told him there was no way I was letting him down: 'I've been in this program for four years, and I'm carrying you to the top of the hill.'"

Kansas State (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) broke a five-game losing streak. It has not lost to the Tigers since 1992.

Thomas Clayton ran for 102 yards for the Wildcats, and Allen Webb came off the bench to run for 91 yards and throw for 93 more and a go-ahead touchdown to Jordy Nelson midway through the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats also scored touchdowns on defense (Brandon Archer's 45-yard interception return) and special teams (Marcus Perry's 32-yard return of a blocked punt).

Missouri (6-5, 4-4) saw its slim chance to win the Big 12 North slip away at the newly renamed Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The name was changed Wednesday, a day after Snyder announced his retirement.

"This one leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I'm still in shock," said Missouri wide receiver Brad Ekwerekwu, whose 19-yard touchdown catch from Brad Smith put the Tigers up 28-14 with just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter. "I don't know what to think of it. We were out there playing, and one event led to another event."

Smith threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 71 yards and another score for the Tigers, but negated his big game with a costly mistake that helped Kansas State clinch the victory.

With just over 1 1/2 minutes to go, and the Wildcats clinging to a 29-28 lead, Smith threw directly to Kansas State linebacker Brandon Archer, who returned the ball 45 yards for a touchdown.

"He was probably just trying to get rid of the football, and he got hit again," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "That's just a judgment thing, but Brad did some good things for us today."

Kansas State mounted its comeback behind Webb, who lost his starting job in early October but replaced an ineffective Allan Evridge in the second half.

"People were in the locker room, and there were a couple of players saying, 'Just shut up and let's just play,'" Webb said. "And that's exactly right. There were too many people talking. If you're going to talk, then you have to go out there and produce."

Victor Mann ran for a 23-yard score midway through the third to get the Wildcats within 28-21, and they appeared ready to tie the game when Webb's 19-yard gain gave them first-and-goal on the 1 early in the fourth quarter.

Kansas State couldn't punch the ball in, though, and Webb's third-down fumble was recovered by Missouri's Dedrick Herrington at the 3. But on the Tigers' first snap, defensive tackle Steven Kline tackled Tony Temple in the end zone for a safety that made it 28-23.

After the ensuing free kick, Kansas State drove downfield but faced fourth-and-5 at the Missouri 10. Nelson, running a crossing pattern, snagged Webb's pass at the 2 and cut in for a 29-28 lead.

Mann's 2-point conversion run failed, and Missouri was still within one when the Tigers took over at their own 19 with 2:08 left. Three plays later, under heavy defensive pressure, Smith flipped the ball straight to Kansas State's Archer in the left flat.

"It was unbelievable," Archer said. "I couldn't even believe it happened."

Missouri could have tied the game with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion, but Smith's fourth-down pass to William Franklin fell incomplete with 52 seconds left.

Smith threw TD passes of 16 yards to Martin Rucker and 33 yards to Chase Coffman in the first half, and ran for a 1-yard score on the last play of the second quarter to put the Tigers up 21-14.

After Smith's first touchdown throw, Kansas State went up 14-7 later in the first on Carlos Alsup's 2-yard run and Perry's blocked punt return.


Kansas St.140715--36

First Quarter

Mo--Rucker 16 pass from Bra.Smith (Crossett kick), 8:12.

KSt--Alsup 2 run (Schwerdt kick), 4:47.

KSt--Perry 32 blocked punt return (Schwerdt kick), 2:47.

Second Quarter

Mo--Coffman 33 pass from Bra.Smith (Crossett kick), 3:20.

Mo--Bra.Smith 1 run (Crossett kick), :00.

Third Quarter

Mo--Ekwerekwu 19 pass from Bra.Smith (Crossett kick), 10:11.

KSt--Mann 23 run (Schwerdt kick), 8:22.

Fourth Quarter

KSt--Cline safety, 12:19.

KSt--Nelson 10 pass from Webb (run failed), 7:28.

KSt--Archer 45 interception return (Schwerdt kick), 1:23.


First downs1919
Return Yards34135
Time of Possession26:5133:09


RUSHING--Missouri, Temple 9-79, Bra.Smith 18-71, Woods 10-31, Franklin 1-1, Hoenes 1-(minus 1), Daniel 1-(minus 3). Kansas St., Clayton 19-102, Webb 14-91, Mann 3-28, Evridge 6-11, Alsup 2-2, Team 3-(minus 10).

PASSING--Missouri, Bra.Smith 21-36-1-248, Daniel 2-2-0-20, Team 0-1-0-0. Kansas St., Webb 10-14-0-93, Evridge 2-10-1-25.

RECEIVING--Missouri, Rucker 8-102, Coffman 6-88, Ekwerekwu 3-31, Britt 3-26, T.Saunders 1-16, Temple 1-6, Woods 1-(minus 1). Kansas St., Nelson 7-74, Norwood 2-9, Moreira 1-17, Mann 1-16, Clayton 1-2.

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