USC's Late Rally Comes Up Short Against Kansas State
Sept. 21, 2002
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Ell Roberson came off the bench to throw one touchdown pass and run for another score, leading No. 25 Kansas State to a 27-20 win over No. 11 Southern Cal on Saturday night.
Roberson, who lost the starting job during fall practice, replaced Marc Dunn to start the second quarter as the Wildcats withstood the Trojans' fourth-quarter comeback.
Kansas State (4-0) earned its first home win against a ranked nonconference opponent. The Wildcats had not played a ranked nonconference opponent in the regular season since losing 56-3 at then-No. 8 Washington in September 1991.
The Trojans (2-1) were the first ranked nonconference team to visit Manhattan since then-No. 17 Iowa beat the Wildcats 45-10 in September 1988.
Carson Palmer, who came in averaging 273 yards passing for Southern Cal, was held to 186 yards on 18 of 47 passing. He didn't lead the Trojans on a scoring drive until the fourth quarter, when his 9-yard pass to Keary Colbert cut the Wildcats' lead to 27-13 with just over 10 minutes left.
Colbert had 11 catches for 125 yards.
Sultan McCullough's 25-yard TD run with 6ï¿½ minutes left pulled the Trojans to 27-20. Roberson led the Wildcats back downfield to the Trojans' 12-yard line, but his fumble into the end zone was recovered for a touchback by Southern Cal's DeShaun Hill.
Palmer got the Trojans as far as Kansas State's 33-yard line with just over a minute left, but was sacked for a 5-yard loss by Tank Reese and Melvin Williams. He then threw too long for Colbert on fourth-and-15.
Roberson ran 1 yard for a touchdown in the second quarter to put Kansas State up 10-0. He added a 9-yard scoring pass to James Terry on the first play of the fourth quarter, followed by a 2-point run, for a 27-6 lead.
Terence Newman returned a blocked conversion kick for two points for the Wildcats, who led 12-6 at the half after a bizarre series of plays late in the second quarter.
With less than a minute to go, Roberson was sacked and stripped at his own 12 by Troy Polamalu. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson picked up the ball at the 3-yard line and ran it in to cut Kansas State's lead to 10-6.
But Henry Bryant blocked David Davis' point-after try, and Newman picked up the ball in the open field and returned it 90 yards for the two points.
Darren Sproles added a 10-yard TD run in the third quarter for the Wildcats, giving them a 19-6 lead.