Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder admits losing to in-state rival Kansas University hurts.
It hurts a lot.
"It's a painful loss. I can assure you that," said Snyder, who had his and his school's 11-game winning streak against KU snapped, 31-28, Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
"It's a painful loss for our players, people associated with our program, our fans and certainly me. So many of our fans would say if you have to lose to somebody, don't let it be the University of Kansas. I can appreciate that.
"People that work together ... Monday morning, that's not going to be easy."
Monday-morning quarterbacks from Manhattan certainly will be wondering why regular starting quarterback Dylan Meier, who threw for 249 yards and two TDs the second half, didn't play the entire first half.
That's the half in which backup QB Allen Webb struggled, hitting four of nine passes for 57 yards. The 'Cats were stagnant and trailed, 7-6, at the break.
Snyder indicated Meier, who practiced all week, was out the first half because of an undisclosed injury, not a disciplinary problem.
Offensive coordinator Del Miller would only say Meier was throwing a "soft ball" in warmups, necessitating the move to Webb.
"Right before kickoff," Webb said, asked when he learned he'd be starting the game.
"I'm still not sure," he added, asked the reason.
Thanks in large part to Meier, the Wildcats erased a 17-6 deficit and led, 21-17, early in the fourth quarter.
But backup KU quarterback Jason Swanson engineered a pair of scoring drives, allowing the Jayhawks to storm to victory to the delight of zealous fans who stormed the field and tore down the goalposts.
"I thought it was embarrassing," Webb said of seeing the mob on the field. "We beat ourselves in some ways, but you have to give them credit for making the play to beat us. I'll give them credit for that."
The Wildcats admit they were stunned at the defeat.
"This hurts a lot," said senior running back Darren Sproles, who gained 73 yards off 24 carries, his longest gain a 12-yarder.
His fumbled punt return led to a KU field goal in the third quarter, upping a 7-6 lead to 10-6.
"I misread it," he said of the punt miscue. "Then I tried to grab it. We made some mistakes. We had a lot of confusion at the line (of scrimmage). The crowd did cause some confusion on the line. You couldn't really hear anything."
Senior Joe Rheem made two field goals, but had a 49-yarder blocked with seven minutes left. At the time, KSU led, 21-17.
"It definitely does hurt. It's KU," said Rheem, a native of Wichita. "If there's anybody I don't want to lose to, it's KU. To go out my senior year and lose to KU ... it's hard."
For Snyder, it meant losing to his former KSU assistant Mark Mangino. Snyder, who celebrated his 65th birthday earlier this week, tried to find Mangino amid the mob of fans after the game.
"I didn't get to see him. I tried. It was hard to find Mark in that mass of people," Snyder said. "I got to the far sideline. I'm sure he was over here (on KSU sideline)."
Snyder said the loss will test his Wildcats, not used to adversity the past decade or so. His team fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12 Conference.
"This is one of those great tests in life. It carries into what life's lessons really are," Snyder said.