Kansas State rode three first-half touchdown passes from quarterback Jake Waters to wide receiver Tyler Lockett to snap a five-bowl losing streak covering 11 seasons in a dominant 31-14 win over Michigan in the silver anniversary Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Michigan’s offense, playing without prolific starting quarterback Devin Gardner (foot injury), sputtered against a sturdy Wildcats’ defense. The Wolverines, directed by freshman signal-caller Shane Morris, managed only 261 yards total offense (65 rushing, 196 passing). Only a late touchdown with 1:15 to play avoided Michigan’s first bowl appearance without a touchdown since 1970.
Trailing 21-6 at halftime, Michigan’s first five second-half possessions ended in four punts and a pass interception. By that point, they trailed 24-6 and the outcome no longer was in doubt.
The Waters-Lockett combination proved lethal to a Wolverines’ defense that allowed 420 total yards (271 passing, 149 rushing).
Waters completed 78 percent of his passes (21 of 27) for 271 yards, marksmanship that included the three touchdowns that equaled his career best. His 21 completions set the K-State bowl record. He also added 54 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Michigan had no defensive answer for Lockett, who tied K-State and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl records with three touchdown grabs. He finished with 10 catches, a KSU bowl record, for 116 yards. He also rushed once for four yards.
In his final game as a Wildcat, senior running back John Hubert contributed 80 rushing yards on 16 carries, a performance that included K-State’s final touchdown, a one-yard run with 2:25 to play that extended the Wildcats’ lead to 31-6. Hubert closed his KSU career with 2,993 rushing yards, second in school annals.
Kansas State quickly seized the game’s momentum it never relinquished by marching 75 (14 plays) and 60 (five plays) yards to touchdowns on its first two possessions. Michigan answered with only two field goals.
In spite of Michigan’s offensive frustrations, wide receiver Jeremy Gallon caught nine passes for 89 yards to put the finishing touch on his school-record 1,342 single-season receiving yards. He also extended his streak of consecutive games with pass receptions to 39 outings, also a Michigan record.
Morris became the first quarterback in Michigan history to make his first career start in a bowl game. He also was the first left-handed signal-caller to start a game for the Wolverines since all-American Rick Leach in 1978. Coincidentally, both wore uniform no. 7.
Lockett and defensive back Dante Barnett, childhood friends and high school classmates in Tulsa, OK, stood amid postgame trophy presentations as offensive and defensive players of the game. Barnett led the stingy Wildcat defense with eight total tackles (five solos) and the game’s only pass interception.
The Wildcats scored in their 216th consecutive game, a streak that ranks eighth in the nation.
Collectively, Kansas State and Michigan have played college football for 236 yards, yet the 25th Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was their first gridiron meeting.
The third-largest crowd in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl history — 53,284 — enjoyed a spectacular late-December night at Sun Devil Stadium.
K-State became the first team to appear at all three Buffalo Wild Wings venues — Tucson’s Arizona Stadium, Chase Field in Phoenix, and Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium.
The 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl marked the final game of the bowl’s eight-year working agreement with the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences. Beginning in 2014, the bowl will pit representatives from the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences.