From the opening possession in the game in the Arizona desert, Kansas State dictated how the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl would go. And it pretty much went K-State’s way from the very start in a 31-14 win over Michigan of the Big Ten.
Kansas State took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards, taking over eight minutes of the opening quarter, capped off by a six-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jake Waters to All-Big 12 wide receiver Tyler Lockett to put the Wildcats up 7-0. K-State completes four out of four third-down plays in the drive to set the tone on how this game was going to go.
Waters played a near-perfect game, completing 21 of 27 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, all to Lockett and all before halftime. Lockett hauled in 10 passes on the evening for 116 yards to the delight of his father, Kevin, a former Kansas State player who still holds some pass-receiving records of his own, and members of the Lockett family, who were in the stands..
Michigan was forced to go with freshman quarterback Shane Morris in place of starting QB Devin Gardner, who was out with an injured toe suffered in the Wolverines’ final game of the regular season, a one-point home loss to Ohio State. Morris, making his first career start for the Wolverines, held up well for the most part and moved the team on offense in Michigan’s first two offensive possessions. But, as was the case the entire night, Michigan could not finish off scoring drives and was ineffective on third-down plays, converting just four of 11 for the game.
Kansas State led 21-6 at halftime, and, with just 10 points in the second half – all of which came with just over eight minutes remaining in the game – gave the Wolverines numerous opportunities to get back in the game. But the Michigan offense could not get any kine of a ground attack going the entire night, and the Kansas State defense defense shut the door on every Wolverine possession until late in the fourth quarter when the game was already in hand.
Senior running back John Hubert scored the final Wildcat touchdown and his last one at Kansas State late in the fourth quarter. Hubert achieved one of his longtime goals in the game, His 80 yards rushing for the game put him over 1,000 yards for the season.
Kansas State ended a five-game bowl losing streak. The Wildcats last win in a bowl game was 11 years ago, in 2002, a 34-27 Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State. Ironically, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Insight Boiwl, and before that the Copper Bowl) was played at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
As extra motivation in preparing his team for this season’s Buffalo Willd Wings Bowl game, Kansas State 74-year-old head coach Bill Snyder asked his team how many players had won a postseason bowl game. When no hands went up, the message was clearly received. And it very much showed in the Wildcats’ performance in this game, one of their better performance all season.
“No one on this team (had) won a bowl game,” Lockett said. “It has been (like) 4,018 games. We wanted to send the seniors out with a great win in a Kansas State uniform.”
“To win the way we did, it put a nice little cap to our season,” said quarterback Waters. “the journey we have been through, to end like this is special.”
Lockett and teammate Dante Barnett were named Offensive and Defensive MVPs for the game. Barnett, a safety, and Lockett have been teammates for a long time. They have been playing together since fifth grade. Both went to Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. Two players that somehow got away from their two in-state Big 12 schools.
Kansas State finished the season with an 8-5 record, and went 6-1 over its final seven games. Michigan ended the year with a 7-6 overall mark.