MANHATTAN — Tyler Lockett is nearing the end of a remarkable season.
He has twice broken Kansas State’s single-game receiving record — 13 catches for 237 yards against Texas and 12 catches for 278 yards and three touchdowns against Oklahoma. He has become the sixth player in K-State history to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season. All with two games to play.
If not for a hamstring injury that kept him on the sideline for the majority of two games, the junior receiver would be challenging Jordy Nelson’s breakout 2007 season of 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns for the most productive receiving year in program history. With 1,103 yards and eight touchdowns, he will likely finish just behind.
Lockett is proud of those accomplishments, but he refuses to celebrate them.
“You can reflect on it some in the season, but I feel like it will be a lot better at the end of the season,” Lockett said. “That’s when you can look back at all you had to go through, the injuries and the accomplishments, and weigh it all together.”
He might as well wait to bask in his impressive play. Doing so now wouldn’t be fair to him or his teammates. K-State has rallied from a 2-4 start to win six games and reach bowl eligibility, but Lockett wants more. That’s what he is focused one.
Besides, reflecting on his two record-setting games would bring back mixed emotions. Though he played the best individual games of his life, K-State lost both by double digits.
He couldn’t celebrate either performance when they happened. He is hesitant to do so now.
“If they would have been wins it would have been a lot better and felt a lot better,” Lockett said. “But at the same time those are two great accomplishments. I think the biggest thing is not dwelling on those accomplishments and keep on going. At the end of the season, you can sit back and say, ‘Wow,’ but for now you have to keep moving forward.”
K-State next faces Kansas on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
One thing both Wildcat coach Bill Snyder and Lockett will ponder before that game: Why, during two of the finest games a K-State receiver has ever played, has K-State lost decisively?
Snyder is quick to point out K-State was unable to run the ball in either game. It had 115 rushing yards against Texas, 24 against Oklahoma. Few teams can win with those numbers, regardless of how many yards its top receiver piles up.
“It was a combination of things,” Snyder said. “We were not able to finish plays or finish blocks.”
Those statistics certainly show the value of a balanced offense. Still, Lockett refuses to point fingers.
“The teams we played outplayed us,” Lockett said. “At the end of the day you could see that they wanted it more. They had big plays at the end that made the game go from three points to 10 points. We made little mistakes. Against Oklahoma, we can’t get the ball past the 3 and end up getting a bad punt out of our own end zone. Then I drop a pass that would have given us a first down, and the next play is a pick.
“We wouldn’t have been in that situation if I don’t drop the pass. I think it’s just little mistakes that we made that could be fixed. It’s those little things, playing too hard and wanting it too bad, instead of focusing on the little things that allowed those teams to beat us.”
Until K-State gets those little things right, Lockett won’t think much about the big things he has accomplished this season.