Manhattan Kansas University coach Terry Allen told anyone who would listen during the week leading up to the Sunflower State Showdown that despite its struggles, Kansas State still had a darn good defense.
Allen shouldn't have any more problems convincing people.
The Wildcats snapped a four-game losing streak by holding the Jayhawks to a season-low 212 yards total offense including 47 rushing yards in jolting the Jayhawks with a 40-6 spanking Saturday at KSU Stadium.
"You've got to give credit to K-State," said Allen, who fell to 0-5 as KU's coach against K-State. "That defense they have is very difficult. You saw a week ago (Texas) A&M was fortunate enough to get 31 points on 172 yards. We probably got more yards, but obviously we got less points."
KU hit rock bottom in the third quarter when it gained just three count 'em, three yards on 12 plays.
Things might not get any better for the offense either, especially after Allen revealed senior wide receiver Harrison Hill "is out for the season." Hill, who was sidelined with a broken shoulder blade against UCLA, had been hoping to return this year.
"It looks like it's going to happen," Allen said of Hill being done. "There's nothing official on it, but after what we'd hoped to find out on Friday, it looks like it's more and more headed that direction."
Allen said Hill is exploring the possibility of a sixth year, and that the wide receiver has a good chance of receiving the hardship red-shirt.
The Jayhawks certainly could use all the help they can get. KU's 47 rushing yards against K-State was the seventh lowest in the Allen era. In fact, Kansas almost lost as many yards on the ground (70) as it gained (117).
"They put an extra man in the box every time," KU red-shirt freshman quarterback Mario Kinsey explained. "No matter what we had, what formation we were in, they had an extra man in the box. That's why it always seemed like they had so many men."
The irony for the Jayhawks is that in 20 quarters of Big 12 play, including all four Saturday, they have committed turnovers in just one quarter the first against Oklahoma.
The problem hasn't been the major miscues like Kinsey having an interception returned for a touchdown against the Bruins but rather overthrowing wide-open receivers or running the wrong way.
"You go back and you point to Mario," Allen said. "The thing is we do a pretty good job because we don't turn the football over. It's not magnified the huge mistakes. It's just sometimes he doesn't throw it away when he should. Sometimes he doesn't find the open receiver.
"He doesn't make the critical, drastic mistakes as far as turnovers and throwing interceptions."
Kansas has struggled running the ball most of the season, having tried everything from using a fullback to using two tight ends and to even using the power-I formation all of which were utilized to no avail against the Wildcats.
"Everybody is mostly down right now," KU sophomore running back Reggie Duncan said after gaining 28 yards on 17 carries. "This was a big game, coming off the loss against Missouri. We've lost three in a row right now. Everybody's just trying to step it up."
KU senior wide receivers Roger Ross and Termaine Fulton led the team with five catches for 45 yards and four catches for 62 yards respectively. Both of the receivers have had at least one catch in every game this season.
The seniors will need to continue to lead the way for the Jayhawks (2-5 overall, 1-4 Big 12) down the stretch.
"I'm a senior," Fulton said. "I'm going to go out there and play every game hard no matter what. Whether we have zero wins, two wins or three wins. I'm just hoping everybody else looks at it the same. You never know what could be your last play so you've got to go out there and play hard, prepare for the next game. That's all you can do."