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October 14, 2010LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The Memorial Stadium jumbotron may have known what was to come. Just minutes prior to Thursday night's Sunflower Showdown, it aired a video entitled Time Capsule, a montage that came complete with a beat from Young MC and served as a tribute to 1989, a year that saw Kansas defeat rival Kansas State in Manhattan. In retrospect, the AT&T-sponsored screen had the right idea. It just missed on the decade.
Interceptions, defensive touchdowns and a lopsided score; what happened on the field during Kansas State's 59-7 stomping of in-state rival Kansas on Thursday night looked more like 1999. In this rendition, however, quarterback Carson Coffman played the role of Jonathan Beasley, rushing touchdowns and all.
If the resurgence of the name "Crazy Legs" was ever warranted, Thursday night was the proper stage. In this case, the statistics served as a suitable neon marquee. It reads as follows:
Three touchdowns on just ten carries and a passing efficiency 231.6, the highest by a Wildcat quarterback since Allen Webb set a school record with a 300.9 rating in 2005.
"They've already started in calling me (Crazy Legs)," Coffman said just minutes after an old-school victory that brought K-State to 2-1 in Big 12 play and 5-1 overall. "I'm sure it'll only get worse when we watch the film, but it's all smiles right now."
Not known for his speed or rushing prowess, Coffman's teammate-given pseudonym originated as a way for his peers to grab some cheap laughs at practice, but at least for one rivalry game on one night, the senior's pegs were every bit as capable as the nickname indicates.
"He played better tonight than at any other time," K-State head coach Bill Snyder said of his quarterback, who completed the last 10 passes he threw before coming out of the game in a mercy measure during the fourth quarter.
He moved the ball with more than his legs alone. Coffman's arm also seemed to catch a wild hair against the Jayhawks, as the often-criticized signal-caller threw for 184 yards while completing 15 of 16 passes and tossing two scores.
That's five total touchdowns if you're keeping track at home.
"I was telling the guys before the game that I wanted to get back to where I was in high school, just feeling good and stuff," Coffman said. "I reached that point tonight. It feels really good. The coaches put me in a position to score some touchdowns, and I did. That feels good."
The last time a Coffman-led team owned a 31-point halftime lead was his senior season in high school, and you'll have to go farther back to find a five-touchdown performance. So forgive him for reveling in the moment.
"I can't even remember what Coach Snyder talked about in the locker room," he said. "It was too exciting in there."
The mass exodus of Kansas fans that took place after the Jayhawks dug a 31-point halftime hole was probably for the best as things got worse in the second half. KU quarterback Jordan Webb threw an interception to cornerback Stephen Harrison in the end zone not long after watching the same player bring back a fumble 85 yards for a score. Daniel Thomas found the end zone. Coffman did so again. A pair of tight ends crossed the goal line as well, and, at least for a second, it seemed that Beasley himself might crack the scoring summary.
"I felt that I showed the guys on the team and my coaches that I can step up," Coffman said. "I showed them I can manage a good offense and get it done."
Even still, the throwback performance was more than just a Coffman show. At least on the scoreboard, the Jayhawks, who gained a quiet 331 offensive yards, made the Wildcat defense look like a late-90s model as well.
"Tonight brought back some memories," said safety Ty Zimmerman, who recovered a fumble to set up an early K-State score. "The defenses back then had that whole Lynchmob thing going. I think we responded to that kind of challenge this week."
Was the performance perfect? Probably not, but to the casual observer, it had to look that way. Then again, Snyder isn't the casual observer. He wasn't in 1999 and he certainly isn't now.
'We gave up a little yardage in the passing game, but I thought we played pretty well otherwise," he said, not even for a moment breaking Synder-esque form.
Everyone else on the K-State side of things, however, will take it and run.