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Lockett continues big season for K-State

By ARNE GREEN

Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN - At the time, Tyler Lockett had no idea he was playing the game of his life.

He was too concerned with the bottom line.

Even three days after breaking his own Kansas State single-game receiving record shattering the mark for all-purpose yards, the 41-31 loss to Oklahoma took some of the luster off an otherwise memorable performance

"I just wanted to win," Lockett said Tuesday of his 12 catches for 278 yards and three touchdowns against the Sooners. "I think that was the biggest thing - you try to do whatever you can to win and just help out your team.

"It was senior night and we tried to get the seniors to go out with a bang, especially playing a great team like OU on your senior night. Unfortunately, it didn't happen."

Lockett, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior from Tulsa, Okla., did his part and more to aid the Wildcats' cause. His back-to-back second-quarter touchdown catches of 48 and 30 yards from Jake Waters brought them back from an early 14-0 deficit, and a 90-yarder with 3:40 left in the half tied it again at 21.

He also returned five kickoffs for 162 yards, bringing his all-purpose total to 440 yards. The previous single-game record, shared by Darren Sproles (2004) and Brandon Banks (2009), was 351.

"The day that Tyler had just proves that he's one of the best in the nation and that made me look a lot better, too," said Waters, who threw for a career-high 348 yards in the game.

"You know the other team knows we want to get the ball to him because he's a big-time playmaker and he still just continuously gets open.

"It amazes me how he does that."

Lockett's lineage is well known by now.

His father, Kevin, is K-State's all-time leading receiver and his uncle Aaron Lockett ranks fourth in both career receptions and yards.

Tyler Lockett's 68 catches this year - he missed one game and most of another - place him sixth on the school single-season list.

His 1,103 yards rank fourth with the regular-season finale at Kansas on Saturday and a bowl game still to go.

In fact, neither his father nor his uncle had a 1,000-yard season.

"We didn't really talk about that too much," Lockett said of Saturday's postgame conversation with his father. "I called him and I kind of talked to him about it and I was saying that's a huge accomplishment because I've never gotten a thousand yards before in a season.

"But I can't just sit there and be satisfied with that because we still have this week coming up. You can't really look back upon it until after the season."

Kevin Lockett isn't the only person who helps keep Tyler grounded. Receivers coach Andre Coleman, who also played the position for the Wildcats, is constantly on him to improve.

"He still said I had a lot of stuff to work on because I made some mistakes in the game," Lockett said of Coleman. "But he was proud of me because in some of the ways I didn't make the same mistake and I grew from the mistakes I made in the past.

"Just being a student and trying to listen to coach Coleman and everybody helps out a lot more because they watch you every day in practice."

Lockett, who already holds the school career record for kickoff return yards, is well aware that his top two individual receiving games - he had 13 catches for 237 yards at Texas - both came in Wildcat losses. But he also is able to appreciate how far he has come.

"I think if they would have been wins it would have felt a lot better," he said. "But at the same time, those are two great accomplishments.

"I think the biggest thing is just not dwelling over those accomplishments or being complacent and just keep going, keep on going, keep on going. And then at the end of the season you can look back at that and say, 'Wow,' and stuff like that."