Years ago, in the town of Springfield, USA, there was a film festival. In effort to win the festival’s top prize and – in turn – the adoration of his fellow townspeople, the resident century-old billionaire, C. Montgomery Burns, entered his own biographical film.

The town’s response was not kind. A wave of boos flooded the auditorium.

Older than some languages, Mr. Burns asked his loyal-to-several-faults assistant Waylon Smithers if the crowd was truly booing him.

Always mindful of his superior’s ever-inflated sense of self-worth, Smithers responded in the way he thought best. “No, they’re saying, ‘Boo-urns! Boo-urns!'”

While this anecdote may just seem like a really bad excuse to write about The Simpsons, I promise there’s a point.

I found myself saying “Boo-urns!” on Saturday.

Saturday’s game against West Virginian was the second that I’ve had the chance to attend this season. Living a couple of hours away from The Bill is still an adjustment, but thanks to a generous brother and his wife, I found myself back, sitting in the south end zone stands on Saturday. The seats provided protection from the south wind and a great view… of some lousy first-half football.

The best offense involved punting and hoping for a fumble. The defense, at times, seemed willing to give up first downs on every play, as long as WVU coach Dana Holgerson asked nicely.

At the half, with the Wildcats trailing 13-3, I commiserated with my brother and some friends about the team’s struggles. I was convinced that far too many bowl games existed (more teams participate in bowl games than in the NCAA Basketball Tournament) if this K-State squad – in first-half form – was going to the postseason.

I never offered up a boo, but I was far from pleased with this lack of purple power.

Then, senior cornerback/kick returner/hero for all mankind, returned the opening kickoff of the second half 67 yards, setting the Wildcats up with an offensive drive beginning at the Mountaineer 33 yard line.


A play later, senior Kody Cook hopped under center for injured Joe Hubener and kebabbed receiver Kyle Klein for a 17-yard gain. Cook carried the next three plays and eventually found the end zone.

The Wildcats trailed by just three and an offense that had seemed lifeless for 30 minutes of football suddenly seemed to have new life.


K-State’s next drive lasted just one play… but it was no quick turnover. Cook connected with Deante Burton, a receiver who has seen both big plays and big drops this season, for a 77-yard score. Wildcats 17, Mountainfolk 13.


Alas, even the sort of momentum brought on by the re-emergence of a wide receiver with a name ripe for puns (now we’re Cookin’!) taking snaps at quarterback is not infallible. West Virginia scored a touchdown later in the third quarter and tacked on a field goal early in the fourth. They led 23-17 and seemed to have properly adjusted to the Wildcats’ change at QB. If first-half football would again be the norm, the Wildcats were staring at a loss and accepting a bowl bid as an “at-least-your-kids-passed-some-classes” courtesy.

But, if you’ve read this far, you probably know what happened next.


Burns, adding on to one of the greatest special teams performances in program history (did I mention he blocked a punt?), grabbed the ensuing kickoff and decided that being tackled did not seem appropriate for the occasion. Burns, the three-time-reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, burned 97 yards to the end zone, scoring what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown.

K-State won its sixth game of the season, securing bowl eligibility. A match-up with Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl awaits.

You may say this season has been rough.

You may say there’s a lot of improvement to make next year.

You may say this team overcame all odds to be where they are today.

Whatever the case, they are playing again on January 2.

With that in mind, we all should say one thing.


About The Author

Hi, I’m Derek Larson. You might remember me from such autobiographical blurbs as “Yo Soy Derek” and “Paste Blurb Here.” I was born and raised in the Manhattan area and I graduated from Kansas State University in 2005. Now I’m now adjusting to life in the land of husking corn. My groom’s cake was a Powercat and I was once convinced that the future of Wildcat basketball was a seven-foot volleyball player. I’ve written about K-State sports in different capacities, often without people asking me to. My hobbies include bringing more purple to Lincoln, Neb., and making vague (and not-so-vague) references to The Simpsons. Follow me on Twitter at @dereklarson.

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