K-State's offense shines, defense struggles


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ell Roberson threw for 205 yards and a
career-high three touchdowns and ran for 145 more yards and another score.

Darren Sproles ran for a career-high 175 yards and one TD and
became Kansas State's career leader in 100-yard games.

Coach Bill Snyder's assessment?

"Pretty decent."

It fell to California coach Jeff Tedford to praise the Wildcats'
offensive stars.

"They made a lot of big plays, but the credit goes to their two
guys," Tedford said. "I'm not sure they don't do that against

Then again, Snyder had more pressing concerns after the
fifth-ranked Wildcats beat California 42-28 Saturday night in the
season opener for both teams.

Kansas State's defense, historically the team's stronger unit,
gave up 440 yards and the first four-touchdown performance by an
opponent since a 35-31 loss to Colorado on Oct. 5, 2002.

"They'll be tested in practice on Monday," Snyder said.

Sproles' 11th career 100-yard game on 22 carries set a school
record, and he extended his own record with his 10th consecutive
100-yard game. The Wildcats' win in the Black Coaches Association
Classic was their 14th straight season-opening victory.

Roberson threw TD passes of 5 yards to Travis Wilson and 57
yards to James Terry as the Wildcats took a 27-14 halftime lead. He
finished 9-for-18 and carried 18 times.

"I felt a little bit rusty at first, but I got more comfortable
as the game went along," he said. "The coaches put me in some
great positions."

Roberson's 11-yard scoring run and 2-point conversion carry
midway through the third quarter gave the Wildcats a decisive 35-14
advantage. A holding penalty on Kansas State's next drive wiped out
what would have been a 35-yard TD pass to Terry, but Roberson
connected with Davin Dennis from 28 yards for a 42-21 lead in the
fourth quarter.

Offense was rarely a problem for Kansas State, which scored on
its first five possessions and rolled up 540 yards.

Defense -- especially pass defense -- was another story.

The Wildcats did have two sacks, one interception and a key
fourth-down stop against Cal quarterback Reggie Robertson.

Robertson, who was lifted for Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter
but returned when a hard hit knocked Rodgers out of the game, was
16-for-29 for 257 yards and three touchdowns against a secondary
which lost two starters -- including All-America cornerback Terence
Newman -- from last year's 11-2 team.

"I expected him to be good," Snyder said. "The only thing I
was concerned about was that we gave him a month and a half to
throw. We did not get the pressure we wanted in one on one

Rodgers was 9-for-13 for 121 yards with one touchdown, a
22-yarder to J.J. Arrington that cut Kansas State's lead to 35-21
early in the fourth quarter, before a knockdown by defensive end
Andrew Shull took him out.

"I got the wind knocked out of me and bruised my sternum,"
Rodgers said. "I was ready to go back in, but Reggie finished it

With just under 4{ minutes left in the game, Robertson's 7-yard
shovel pass to Arrington cut Kansas State's lead to 42-28. The
Bears tried an onside kick, but Joe Lawson covered it for the

Sproles ran 53 yards on his first carry of the game, setting up
his 5-yard run three plays later for a 7-0 lead. But Robertson was
4-for-5 on the Golden Bears' next drive, capped by his 34-yard pass
to Vincent Strang to tie it at 7.

Joe Rheem's 22-yard field goal put the Wildcats ahead for good,
10-7, and Kansas State began to pull away with a goal-line stand
and a 98-yard TD drive.

On the first play of the second quarter, California went for it
on fourth down from inside Kansas State's 1. Linebacker Josh Buhl
stuffed Robertson at the 2.

"If we don't make a play there, it's a first down or a
touchdown," Buhl said. "The play just happened to come my way."

Roberson took over on the ensuing drive. He carried eight times
for 70 yards, then threw to Wilson for a 17-7 lead.

After Rheem's 37-yard field goal made it 20-7 and James McGill's
interception gave the Wildcats the ball again, Roberson put
together his most impressive play of the night.

Roberson got safety Harrison Smith to bite early on a pump fake,
then lofted a perfectly timed throw over Smith's head to a
wide-open Terry. Terry pulled the ball in at the Bears' 35 and
raced in untouched to put the Wildcats up 27-7.

Four plays after that, Cal's Geoff McArthur outjumped cornerback
Randy Jordan at the Wildcats' 40 and went down the right sideline
to complete a 65-yard TD play that got the Bears within 27-14.