Kansas State entered Saturday night's contest against Nebraska looking for its fifth win of the 2006 season as well as its fifth straight victory over the Cornhuskers in Manhattan, but the visitors from Lincoln had other ideas. The Wildcats (4-3, 1-2) were unable to find any offensive rhythm until late in the contest in a game that ended as a 21-3 loss in front of a sellout crowd at Snyder Family Stadium.
Nebraska (6-1, 3-0) scored the game's first points thanks to some trickery. The Huskers lined up for an apparent field goal try from K-State's 17-yard line, but holder Jake Wesch stood up after taking the snap and tossed the ball downfield to a wide open Hunter Teafatiller for an NU touchdown to make it 7-0 in favor the Huskers. The scoring opportunity was set up by a 48-yard run from tailback Brandon Jackson, the biggest rush in a first half that saw Nebraska rack up 158 yards on the ground.
The Huskers later extended their lead to 14-0 with its second 80-yard drive of the first half. The key play of the possession was a 24-yard run by Zac Taylor on a fourth-and-2 play from K-State's 27-yard line. On the next play Taylor found tight end Josh Mueller in the back of the end zone to give his team a two-touchdown lead with just more than 11 minutes to play in the opening half.
The Wildcats had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the final minute of the second quarter after back-to-back completions from Josh Freeman to Daniel Gonzalez set Jeff Snodgrass up for a 54-yard field goal try, but Snodgrass' attempt fell short, leaving the score at 14-0 going into the break.
Nebraska stretched its lead out to 21-0 with 8:55 left in the third quarter on a 72-yard drive that took just two plays. On the first play of the possession Taylor hooked up with Maurice Purify for a 32-yard gain. Purify lost the ball at the end of the run – the officials originally ruled the play a fumble – but replays showed the Purify was down before he lost control of the ball. The call was overturned, and on the next snap Marlon Lucky dashed in from 40 yards out to give NU a 21-0 lead.
K-State did get on the scoreboard on the following possession thanks to a 53-yard Snodgrass field goal. The Wildcat offense was able to move the ball through the air with completions of 17 yards to Rashaad Norwood, 20 yards to Cedric Wilson and 22 to Jermaine Moreira. The drive bogged down when Freeman was sacked on two of the next three plays, however, forcing K-State to bring on Snodgrass for the field goal try.
Nebraska's offense was led by its running game, as Jackson carried 16 times for 92 yards while Lucky ran 12 times for a total of 71 yards and a touchdown. Freeman finished 23-of-47 for 272 yards with two interceptions.
The Wildcats will look to bounce back next week when they travel to Missouri. The Tigers (6-1, 2-1) dropped their first game of the season Saturday at Texas A&M.