|Nebraska I-back Cory Ross ran for 87 yards on 16 carries in his first start of the year.|
The Huskers, who fell to 8-3 overall and 4-3 in the conference with the loss, received solid rushing performances from I-back Cory Ross and quarterback Jammal Lord, who both rushed for nearly 100 yards in a losing effort. But Roberson guided KSU to scores on four of its five second-half possessions, helping the Wildcats win in Lincoln for the first time since 1968.
Ross, who was making his first start of the year, carried 16 times for 87 yards, while Lord toted 21 times for 88 yards. The Husker quarterback threw for 98 yards and a touchdown, but missed a few big plays through the air by a scant few inches, completing only 8-of-26 through the air.
On NU’s first possession of the half, Bryan Hickson’s sack and strip of Lord gave KSU possession at the NU 23-yard line. Roberson broke the deadlock three plays later, as he scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. The scoring run gave the Wildcats (9-3, 5-2 Big 12) the lead for good before KSU added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, as Roberson found James Terry for touchdown strikes of 63 and 37 yards.
Roberson completed 15-of-28 passes for 313 yards and two scores against a Husker defense that led the nation in pass efficiency defense coming into today’s game. The Wildcats won the battle on third down, converting 10-of-17 against a Blackshirt unit which had held opponents to just 30 percent all season.
The Wildcats struck first late in the first quarter, going 74 yards on five plays, capped by Darren Sproles’ 22-yard touchdown run with 1:35 remaining in the first quarter. The drive was kept alive by a 40-yard pass from Roberson to James that NU cornerback Pat Ricketts deflected, but Terry, who finished with six receptions for 175 yards, hauled at the NU 22-yard line for the reception.
After pinning the Wildcats deep in their own side, KSU drove into Husker territory, but the threat was snuffed out by Josh Bullocks in the end zone for his school-record 10th interception of the season. The Thorpe Award semifinalist returned the ball 41 yards, giving the Huskers excellent field position.
Nebraska then began its best drive of the afternoon, marching 59 yards for the tying score, as Lord found Mark LeFlore in the end zone for a 6-yard scoring strike. The senior quarterback avoided Thomas Houchin’s sack while finding LeFlore wide open for the tying score. The Huskers also got a boost on the drive from Ross, who rushed twice for 21 yards, including a career-long 16 yard scamper, and was on the receiving end of a 26-yard pass on a key third-down conversion.
On KSU’s next possession, the Wildcats drove deep into the Husker territory and had the ball first and 10 at the NU 11-yard line after Robertson’s 30-yard pass to Brian Casey. The Blackshirts stiffened in the red zone and Kansas State came away empty after Joe Rheem missed a 27-yard field goal.
The Huskers then drove back down the field, going 68 yards on 13 plays, but came away empty handed as Houchin blocked David Dyches’ 30-yard attempt and Randy Jordan returned the ball to the NU 38-yard line, as Kellen Huston stopped Jordan with a touchdown-saving stop.
The Blackshirts forced their second turnover of the half, as Lornell McPherson intercepted a Roberson pass on the final play of the half, sending both teams to the locker room tied at seven.
Kansas State forced the first turnover of the second half, as Bryan Hickman forced a fumble by Lord, which was recovered by Andrew Shull at the NU 23-yard line. The Wildcats would take advantage of the Husker miscue, as Roberson scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, the first touchdown Nebraska had allowed in the third quarter all season, giving KSU a 14-7 lead.
After holding Nebraska on its next possession, the Wildcats went on a time-consuming drive, going 70 yards in 15 plays before Rheem’s 27-yard field goal with 56 seconds left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 17-7.
KSU continued to increase its lead to 24-7 with 14:30 remaining in the contest, as Roberson found James Terry for a 63-yard pump-and-go route on KSU’s first play of its next series. Roberson extended the KSU lead to 31-7 as he found Terry for his second touchdown of the day, a 37-yarder with 9:55 remaining.
Nebraska got a safety with 3:43 remaining to close to within 31-9, but Ayo Saba’s 6-yard touchdown run with 1:38 remaining provided the final margin.
The Huskers are off next week, but head to Boulder, Colo., to take on Colorado on Friday, Nov. 28, at 11 a.m. (CST), as the game will be televised nationally by ABC.