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Roberson runs for three touchdowns, throws another

8/30/2003

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Some teams celebrate victories by soaking
the coach. No. 7 Kansas State prepared for one by soaking the ball.

All week, as temperatures soared over the 100-degree mark, Ell
Roberson practiced taking snaps with a wet ball -- not to keep his
hands cool, but to get ready for the wet weather predicted for the
weekend.

When the rain arrived as expected -- and fell throughout Saturday
night's game -- it still caused Roberson a few control problems.
Even so, he ran for three touchdowns and threw for 234 yards and
another score as Kansas State overcame its own mistakes for a 41-5
win over Troy State.

"It wasn't so bad on my throws downfield," Roberson said.
"But on the tighter throws, where I had to grip the ball harder,
it kind of got away from me sometimes."

Roberson was 9-for-23 with two interceptions and ran for 69
yards for the Wildcats (2-0), who lost star running back Darren
Sproles to an apparent leg injury late in the first half.

Sproles left the game after being tackled hard by Robby Farmer
at the end of a 5-yard gain. Kansas State does not release
information on injuries, but Sproles appeared to be favoring his
left leg as he was helped to the locker room.

"He's a tough little tank," defensive end Andrew Shull said.
"I'm not worried about him at all. He'll be back, no problem."

Sproles left the game with 49 yards on 12 carries, snapping his
school-record string of 100-yard games at 10. Kansas State's last
game without a 100-yard rusher was a 27-20 win over Southern
California on Sept. 21, 2002.

Kansas State's defense, which gave up 440 yards in last week's
42-28 win over California, held the Trojans to 138 yards in their
opener -- and just 39 on the ground. The Wildcats had six sacks and
two interceptions and recovered a fumble.

"It was a good effort by our defense, both players and coaches
alike," coach Bill Snyder said. "It wasn't perfect, but I thought
our youngsters played hard. I think they were a little embarrassed
by last week."

Trojans quarterback Hansell Bearden was 8-for-17 for 69 yards.
His backup, Aaron Leak, was 3-for-13 for 30 yards.

"Their front four was really great," Leak said. "They put a
lot of pressure on me. It seemed like their wasn't much that we
could do."

Ted Sims blocked a punt that Danny Morris recovered at Troy
State's 1 and returned for a touchdown and a 34-5 lead midway
through the second quarter.

It was the third return of a blocked punt for a touchdown in
Morris' career.

"Coach Snyder told us we ought to be able to get a punt
tonight," Sims said. "So I guess you could say we were under
orders."

All three of Roberson's rushing touchdowns came in the second
quarter, after two miscues helped Troy State take an early 5-0 lead
and Sproles ran for a 5-yard TD that put the Wildcats up 7-5 with
5:46 left in the first.

Roberson's TD runs of 1 yard, 10 yards and 1 yard gave Kansas
State a 27-5 lead before the midpoint of the second quarter. His
57-yard scoring pass to Davin Dennis made it 41-5 early in the
fourth.

Troy State went up 2-0 on Kansas State's opening possession,
when Mike Wilson's snap sailed over punter Jared Brite's head and
went out the back of the end zone for a safety.

Brite later had a punt partially blocked after a second high
snap and had to kick on the run after a third. Still, he averaged
46 yards on five punts.

"Every punt, they had a guy lined up over the ball, and as soon
as it would move he'd slap at it and make it come a little loose,"
Brite said. "We said something to the officials and they never
called anything, so I guess it's legal."

On the Wildcats' next possession after the safety, Sproles
fumbled after a 1-yard gain and Troy State's Freeman White
recovered at the Kansas State 25. That set up Thomas Olmsted's
26-yard field goal.

After that, it was all Kansas State, which had four plays of
more than 20 yards -- all on TD drives -- in the first half.

Roberson set up Sproles' touchdown run with passes of 36 yards
to Antoine Polite and 22 yards to Brian Casey. Roberson's second TD
carry came after a 37-yard pass to Jermaine Moreira, and he set up
his third with a 43-yard completion to James Terry.

"He maintained plays when everything wasn't going well," said
safety Rayshun Reed, who had one of Troy State's two interceptions.
"We had opportunities to stop him, but we didn't make plays."