MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)Junior Brandon Banks tallied 167 yards in kick returns, including a 98-yard touchdown jaunt, as Kansas State dropped a 56-28 decision to Nebraska on Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Nebraska senior quarterbackJoe Ganz accounted for 365 total yards and four touchdowns and the Cornhuskers (7-4, 4-3 Big 12) dropped Kansas State for the second straight year.
The Huskers did it with a balanced attack this time, punishing the Wildcats (4-7, 1-6) at the line of scrimmage for 340 yards and four touchdowns rushing. They complemented it with Ganz’s arm to finish with 610 total yards.
Nebraska established the running game early. Roy Helu Jr. scored on runs of 1 and 24 yards, and Quentin Castille had a 37-yarder on a fourth-and-1 late in the first quarter.
That set up Ganz, who had 270 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-25 passing after his first attempt of the game was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He also had 95 yards rushing on 11 carries, scoring on runs of 25 and 14 yards in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska’s defense wasn’t bad, either.
The Cornhuskers finally earned the coveted Blackshirts in practice this week and responded by harassing Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman from the opening snap and completely squashing the Wildcats’ running game.
Freeman, the nation’s 13th-ranked passer at 292 yards per game, faced constant pressure and was sacked five times. He had to hurry or throw off his back foot on several other throws, going 7-for-18 for 114 yards before being replaced by Carson Coffman midway through the third quarter.
Kansas State’s running game certainly didn’t help, managing a dismal 59 yards on 32 carries.
The result was another disappointing finish for the Wildcats, who had hoped for a little revenge after Nebraska piled it on last year in Lincoln and to maybe pull out two wins to send coach Ron Prince to a bowl in his final season in the Little Apple.
Kansas State at least seemed to have a chance early.
Courtney Herndon intercepted Ganz’s first pass of the afternoon and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown, then Freeman answered two Nebraska TDs by hitting Ernie Pierce on a 63-yard scoring pass to tie it at 14-all.
The momentum carried over to the defense, which held Nebraska to three plays and a punt.
Then Deon Murphy fumbled the punt at his own 30. Momentum gone.
Helu scored two plays later on a 24-yard run. Ganz hit Todd Peterson for a 5-yard touchdown pass on the next possession, then found Mike McNeill for an 18-yard score to put Nebraska up 35-14.
Kansas State had a chance to pull closer in the closing seconds of the first half, but Nebraska pressured Freeman into an incompletion after Prince decided to go for a touchdown instead of a field goal.