"Whoops. I probably should have held on to that."
Look, we try to not get too down on college athletes. So with that in mind, let's remember that Brandon Banks has been an offensive star for K-State over the last couple of years, often providing a spark with a kick return, reception, or run just when it's needed.
That being said, there was no one in Bill Snyder Family Stadium yesterday, not Bill Snyder, not Gary Pinkel, not the players, not the fans, who didn't recognize how costly Banks' second-quarter fumble into and out of the endzone was.
K-State's formula for success this year has been to use its ball-control offense to take a lead before halftime and then to run the clock with the lead during the second-half. It was poised to do this again yesterday, driving with about 13 minutes left in the second quarter with the game tied 3-3, when Banks, inches away from scoring a touchdown, allowed a Mizzou defender to slap the ball out of his hands and could only watch helplessly as the ball trickled through the very corner of the end zone.
The air was sucked out of the stadium, the momentum shifted in a huge way--with a long touchdown pass a few plays later by Mizzou--and it never really felt like K-State was in the game after that. Snyder and Pinkel both spoke in the post-game about the turning point that play provided.
Instead of having a shot at going into the second half ahead or tied against a Mizzou team that had been unable to find the endzone in the second half in recent weeks, K-State wound up having a two-score deficit.
As big as Banks' play was, there were other factors in the loss yesterday that shouldn't be forgotten.
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