LUBBOCK, Texas — By the time they emerged from the locker room, the Kansas State Wildcats were no longer talking about their frustrations. That emotion had left their psyche long ago.
No, after losing to Texas Tech in humiliating fashion 66-14 on Saturday night at Jones AT&T Stadium, they needed a much stronger word to describe their feelings.
Coach Bill Snyder and his players tossed around more than a few in the aftermath of their worst defeat of the season, but to put it simply they felt disgusted.
Seemingly everything they tried against the Red Raiders failed in magnificent fashion. They couldn't mount a pass rush, defend the pass, move the ball and even lost the time of possession battle.
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No pregame goals were achieved, and Tech gained 739 yards.
After being pulled in the third quarter with a minor injury, because the score was too lopsided to come back from, junior running back Daniel Thomas had nothing to compare the setback to.
"I have never been beat like this," he said.
Neither has Snyder. None of his teams teams had ever allowed more than 64 points.
"They could have scored 500 points if the game would have gone on long enough," Snyder said, blaming himself for not properly preparing his team. "There wasn't anything we could do to stop them, and that's pretty disappointing."
The loss brought back memories of last season's stretch of defensive clunkers that saw K-State give up 50 or more points four times.
The only difference is this time, it had no offense to cut into Texas Tech's avalanche of points.
The Wildcats (3-3, 1-1 Big 12) produced 284 yards of offense. Their touchdowns were a 17-yard interception return by senior defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald 2 minutes, 6 seconds into the second half and an 8-yard touchdown run from Keithen Valentine midway through the fourth quarter.
They also punted seven times and went back to playing two quarterbacks.
Senior Grant Gregory, who looked so good in his debut start against Iowa State, threw for 37 yards and was sacked three times in the first half. Junior Carson Coffman played the final series of the first half and the entire second half. Coffman completed 11 of 16 passes and threw for 131 yards.
When asked if Gregory simply didn't have it against Texas Tech, Snyder replied: "Who did?"
Valentine rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown in mop-up duty, Fitzgerald added a sack to his interception and junior running back Daniel Thomas accounted for 99 total yards before being pulled, but said he was OK afterward. Other than that, K-State had few bright spots.
By comparison, Texas Tech first-time starter Steven Sheffield, a backup to injured starter Taylor Potts, threw for 490 yards and seven — yes, seven — touchdowns.
He completed passes to 10 receivers and in the first half alone threw for 370 yards, a school record. Other highlights included touchdown passes of 52 and 72 yards.
No matter what K-State did defensively, it couldn't slow him down. Even with sophomore Brandon Harold returning to the defensive line, the Wildcats couldn't pressure Sheffield.
The Wildcats tried everything from a three-man line to a heavy blitz to slow the Red Raiders down, but neither worked all that well. They were also hampered by the loss of safety Tysyn Hartman late in the first half. He came off the field with what Thomas said was a concussion, and did not return.
Not that having him out there would have helped all that much. The Wildcats' secondary was exposed by the Red Raiders.
"We gave them a lot of defensive looks and every defensive look we gave, they were able to come through and make a play," defensive back Joshua Moore said. "Overall, they were real good."
That made throwing the ball in their explosive system pretty easy, and the Red Raiders racked up the points. They led 14-0 after the first quarter, 38-0 at half and 59-7 in the fourth quarter before getting to the final score.
Detron Lewis was Texas Tech's top receiver, grabbing eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Tramain Swindall was next in line with 97 yards and a score.
Next up for the Wildcats is a home game with Texas A&M. After a loss like this, Snyder hopes his players will be motivated.
"They're in a position right now where, either somebody steps up or we take a deeper dive in the tank," he said. "We'll see how they respond. I'd like to think that we have some young people that truly are pained by this and certainly don't want it to happen again."