For the second time in three seasons, K-State will head to Waco, Texas with title implications hanging in the balance.
No. 11 K-State (9-2, 7-1) can look forward to the meeting after crushing in-state rival Kansas (3-9, 1-8) 51-13 in the 112th edition of the Governor’s Cup in front of 53,439 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, which was the third-largest crowd in stadium history.
Waters, Lockett and Sexton took full advantage of the Senior Day spotlight. Waters threw for four touchdowns and 294 yards on 21 of 27 passing. Lockett (119) and Sexton (141) each tallied over 100 yards receiving for the third time in 2014.
“It goes without saying, I think it was a positive thing for them,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said after the game. “I think it meant a great deal to them. I think they felt good about their performance, but I think a lot of other guys did as well. We played reasonably well across the board on both sides of the ball.”
Lockett also became K-State’s all-time leader for receptions (222), passing his father Kevin’s mark from 1993-96, while also tying his father for career touchdown receptions (26).
“My dad and uncle (Aaron Lockett) taught me a lot,” Tyler said. “I just try and go out there and perform to the best of my abilities (because) I understand the game. This time I’m able to celebrate it with a win, rather than a loss.”
K-State now has one week to prepare for No. 7 Baylor and its high-powered offense on their senior night.
Two years ago, No. 1 K-State had its national championship hopes dashed by Baylor in a 52-24 rout, a game that still stands out to several K-State players. This season, however, the No. 11-ranked Wildcats will look for a different outcome against the Bears as they eye their second Big 12 title in three seasons.
“There would be no better way to cap off this season than to knock them off and possibly win the Big 12 championship, or at least a share of it,” senior wide receiver Curry Sexton said after Saturday’s game.
As the final score indicated Saturday, Kansas struggled all afternoon. Junior quarterback Michael Cummings finished 16 of 27 for 139 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Nick Harwell hauled in three receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
K-State needed less than four minutes to jump out to a 14-0 lead. Senior running back DeMarcus Robinson scampered up the middle for 35 yards to set up Waters’ one-yard quarterback sneak on K-State’s first drive of the day.
Senior Dante Barnett picked off Cummings on Kansas’ next drive to give the Wildcats excellent field position. It wasn’t needed, however. On the next play, Waters pumped-faked and threw deep to Lockett for an easy 44-yard touchdown.
“I just saw the guy pressed up on Tyler and I gave him a fade, a go-route, and he did the rest,” Waters said. “I just threw it up there and he just ran under it and made a great catch.”
The Jayhawks’ lone score of the first half followed a Matthew McCrane field goal that put K-State up 17-0. Cummings eluded pressure and sent a ball into the back of the end zone to Harwell, who beat Randall Evans for the 27-yard touchdown catch.
However, the rest of the half belonged to the Wildcats. Sophomore running back Charles Jones gashed the Kansas defense for an 11-yard touchdown to put his side up 24-6. Lockett extended that lead moments before halftime with a six-yard out route that saw him dancing his way inside the near pylon.
The momentum carried into the second half for K-State. Touchdowns by Jones and Sexton put the Wildcats up 45-13 with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter. Two fourth-quarter field goals, including a 52-yard boot from McCrane, rounded out the scoring.
“When you know the game is over by the third quarter, you can kind of sit back and enjoy it,” senior defensive end Ryan Mueller said. “It was a great game.”