Can’t slow him down


Missouri State did not have much to celebrate following its 61-10 thumping at the hands of K-State on Saturday night at Snyder Family Stadium.

The Division I-AA team from the Gateway Conference did, however, have one noteworthy nugget.

The Bears did not allow Jordy Nelson a rushing touchdown.

Not bad, considering the senior wide receiver scored nearly every other possible way.

Nelson threw a touchdown pass, caught another and set a pair of school records with 15 catches and 209 yards receiving – by far the best single-game performance of his K-State career.

“We thought we had a good matchup with him, and we wanted to try to exploit it,” said coach Ron Prince. “Jordy made the most of every opportunity we gave him.”

The former walk-on from Riley, Kan., carved up a Bears secondary that worked almost exclusively in man-to-man coverage. Though the majority of his catches were medium gains, his longest reception came on his shortest route, a five-yard dump pass he turned into a 61-yard play.

“Coach called the plays to get him the ball,” quarterback Josh Freeman said. “All you want is to just get the ball into Jordy’s hands and let him make a play.”

The previous record for catches in a game was 13, set by Michael Smith against Missouri in 1989. Darnell McDonald held the mark for single-game receiving yardage with 206 in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl. None of that, however, was foremost in Nelson’s mind afterward.

“It’s not what the team is worried about,” said Nelson, who admitted the record might be something he will reflect on after his playing career is over. “You don’t go into a game thinking you might do something like that.”

K-State (2-1) could have chalked this one up in the win column early, scoring on its first three possessions and taking a 21-0 first-quarter lead.

Nelson’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Deon Murphy on a reverse – the same play that was busted against Auburn – put K-State ahead just 3 minutes, 5 seconds into the game.

The play barely had started, as running back Leon Patton stumbled out of his stance and awkwardly pitched the ball back to Nelson, who was moving from left to right. Nelson threw a perfect strike on the run, as Murphy was left alone in the right corner of the end zone.

“We’ve worked on that for a while,” Nelson said.

K-State took a 27-7 lead into halftime, helped along by one score each from James Johnson and running back Patton, as well as a pair of field goals from Brooks Rossman.

Johnson (16 carries, 114 yards) scored two of his three rushing touchdowns in the opening eight minutes of the second half, putting K-State ahead 41-7 and prompting Prince to put in many of the reserves.

The game’s final two scores came on Murphy’s 80-yard punt

return for a touchdown, and a 3-yard TD plunge by reserve Terry Petrie with 1:55 left. The 61 points were the most scored by a K-State team since a 64-0 win against Kansas in 2002.

Now the Wildcats must get ready for their Big 12 Conference opener at Texas on Sept. 29, taking the week off to get in some extra preparation.

The added rest, Prince said, was all a part of the approach he took to scheduling.

“We had a plan on how we wanted to play the first three games,” Prince said. “Some things we wanted to show; some things we wanted to conceal. We’ve got a real challenging situation ahead of us.”