The Wolverine

12.29.13 KSU Bowl Game Report

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DEC. 29, 2013 M By John Borton ichigan's hopes for an upbeat sendoff for its seniors thudded to a halt like a dehydrated drifter toppling over in the desert. The Wolverines, unable to score touchdowns or stop Kansas State in the first half, left only the dust cloud 31 ClippedThe Wolverines, 31-14 Wings Kansas State Flies By 14 of a 31-14 loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The ugly end of a 7-6 season in which Brady Hoke's crew lost five of its last six games left nobody anticipating a Happy New Year. "Disappointing," offered fifth-year senior captain Taylor Lewan. "Definitely a disappointing game. But given the situation, I think this team played just like they did all season. "I know our record didn't show how hard we worked in the offseason, how hard we fought. The seniors did a good job of laying a foundation for this team." On a late night in Tempe, the foundation couldn't hold the weight of a defense that couldn't get crucial stops and an offense minus its year-long leader behind center. That's not to say freshman starter Shane Morris didn't step up when called upon. He completed 24 of 38 passes for 196 yards and just one deflected interception late in the game. But with only 65 yards rushing (43 of which belonged to Morris) and the inability to put the ball in the end zone, U-M's offense couldn't compensate Kansas State wideout Tyler Lockett was the Wildcats' biggest weapon, hauling in 10 catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. photo by Tim Nelson for a defense unable to halt a first-half onslaught. Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters tore up the Wolverines on 21-of-27 passing for 271 yards and three touchdowns. His top Michigan-tasering target, wideout Tyler Lockett, made 10 catches for 116 yards and three first-half touchdowns, giving the Wildcats all the points they'd require. "You've got to give him credit," Hoke said "He's a good football player. Waters did a nice job of putting the ball in the right place. And you've got to do a better job executing, coverage-wise." Add in 80 rushing yards on 16 carries by KSU's John Hubert, along with a 21-6 hole dug in the opening 30 minutes, and this one couldn't have a happy ending for the many Michigan fans among the 53, 284 on hand. The Wolverines certainly faced an uphill battle, from the moment they acknowledged starting quarterback Devin Gardner couldn't see the field in Sun Devils Stadium. But they certainly didn't anticipate a first half in which the only stop they'd manage on defense would involve Waters kneeling with the football just before the break. Kansas State opened the game with a torturous, 14-play, 75-yard drive. Waters kept it alive on a crucial 21-yard scramble on third-and-10 at the KSU 42, then after backup QB Daniel Sams helped dig the Wildcats out of a first-and-goal from the Michigan 18 after a holding call, Waters beat a heavy blitz and gunned a six-yard scoring strike to Lockett.

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