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K-State rolls in BWW Bowl

12/29/2013

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) —

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder saw what was coming and tried to avoid

it, racing 20 yards down the sideline and out onto the field.

Spry

as he might be, the 74-year-old coach was no match for players young

enough to be his grandchildren, turning just in time to take the full

icy brunt of defensive end Ryan Mueller dumping a water bucket over his

head.

"I did (see it), but I'm too old to get out of the way," Snyder said.

He's certainly not too old to win bowl games.

The

architect of one of college football's biggest turnarounds during his

first stint at Kansas State, Snyder and his Wildcats won their first

bowl game in 11 years by rolling over Michigan 31-14 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday night.

Jake

Waters threw for 271 yards and connected with record-breaking receiver

Tyler Lockett on three scores, helping Kansas State (8-5) end a

five-game bowl losing streak.

"Nobody on the team won a bowl

game," Lockett said. "It has been 11 years, (like) 4,018 games. We

wanted to send the seniors out with a great win in a Kansas State

uniform."

The Wildcats surged at the end of the season and were

unstoppable early against Michigan (7-6), scoring on their first three

possessions behind Lockett and Waters.

Lockett set a school record

with 10 catches for 116 yards and tied the Kansas State bowl record

with his three TDs. Waters was efficient in leading Kansas State's

offense, completing 21 of 27 passes and running for 42 yards.

The

Wildcats' defense dominated most of the night, holding Michigan to 261

total yards — 82 of that on a final scoring drive in the fourth quarter

with the game out of reach.

"To win the way we did it put a nice

little cap to our season," Waters said. "The journey we have been

through, to end like this is special."

Freshman quarterback Shane

Morris was steady in place of injured starter Devin Gardner, leading

Michigan on two early scoring drives. The Wolverines settled for field

goals on both and did little the rest of the way.

Morris threw for

196 yards on 24-of-38 passing with an interception. Michigan's run game

didn't give him much support, particularly early, and finished with 65

yards on 15 carries.

Michigan's defense also had trouble stopping

Kansas State most of the night, giving up 420 total yards in the

Wolverines' second straight bowl loss.

"We didn't play well enough in a lot of areas," coach Brady Hoke said.

Kansas

State finished the season strong after some early difficulties —

starting with a home loss to FCS opponent North Dakota State. The

Wildcats won five of their final six games while scoring at least 31

points in each.

Michigan limped to the finish after a 5-0 start,

losing five of its final seven games and Gardner along the way. The

redshirt junior injured his toe in the regular-season finale against

Ohio State and didn't recover in time for the bowl game, leaving the

Wolverines in the hands of Morris.

The freshman hasn't played much

over the past year, limited to four games as a high school senior due

to mononucleosis and to nine pass attempts as Gardner's backup this

season.

Morris didn't seem to mind being thrust into the spotlight

as the first Michigan quarterback to make his first career start in a

bowl game. He was helped by a conservative game plan filled with short

throws early and started unleashing his big left arm by Michigan's

second drive, completing 15 of 19 passes for 121 yards in the first

half.

"You would have thought he was doing it five years now," Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan said.

The problem for the Wolverines was they couldn't finish off drives, settling for field goals of 22 and 26 yards by Matt Wile.

That

was good for Wile, who made one field goal all season, but not for

Michigan because its defense couldn't stop the Wildcats — particularly

the Waters-to-Lockett combination.

Kansas State set the tone on

its opening drive, grinding out 75 yards in 15 plays and 7:51 off the

clock. Lockett capped it with a 6-yard touchdown catch after the

Wildcats' line gave Waters just enough time to get the throw off against

Michigan's blitz.

Lockett set up the next drive with a 40-yard

kickoff return and capped it with a 29-yard touchdown catch, set up by

Waters' pump fake that gave him separation behind Michigan's defense.

Kansas

State raced down the field again on its next drive, setting up

Lockett's third touchdown, an 8-yarder from Waters that put the Wildcats

up 21-6 at halftime.

"We wanted to get a fast start and we did," Lockett said. "We got on top of them early and that helped us out."

The Wildcats bogged down in the second half, but so did the Wolverines.

Michigan

had 23 total yards in the third quarter and failed to capitalize on the

game's first turnover — a fumble by Daniel Sams — by going

three-and-out.

Kansas State's Ian Anderson hit a 22-yard field

goal in the fourth quarter, John Hubert scored on a 1-yard run after

Morris' interception and the Wildcats celebrated Snyder's seventh bowl

victory by chasing him down the sideline for the water-bucket dump.