Ultimate Battle for Ultimate Destiny: Semifinals

1996-2014 K-State Football

We’re down to just 4 teams remaining, so for a spot in the finals we’ve got a huge match up against two teams who share no players: The 1996 team who played in K-State’s first Cotton Bowl, and the 2002 team who ended the season as Holiday Bowl Champions. Only one moves on to the finals.

You can see all the match ups so far, as well as the methodology, here.
Remember, we run the simulation on whatifsports.com, so if you don’t like the results, fight them.

The Match up

Record9-3 (6-2 Big 12)11-2 (6-2 Big 12)
Head CoachBill SnyderBill Snyder
BowlCotton (vs BYU; L 19-15)Holiday (vs Arizona State; W 34-27)
Big 12 Award winners1st Team: Chris Canty, CB; Nyle Wiren, DE; Mario Smith, FS (Coaches); Kevin Lockett, WR.

2nd Team: Jason Johnson, C; Mario Smith, FS (AP); Brian Kavanagh, QB (AP).

3rd Team: Todd Weiner, OT; Ryan Young, OT; Travis Ochs, LB (AP).

Defensive Freshman of the Year: Mark Simoneau
1st Team: Nick Leckey, C; Terence Newman, CB (both)/KR (Coaches); Tank Reese, DT; Terry Pierce, LB.

2nd Team: Darren Sproles, RB; Thomas Barnett, OL; Henry Bryant, DE (Coaches); Andrew Shull, DE (AP); Josh Buhl, LB (AP).

3rd Team (Coaches only): Taco Wallace, WR; Ell Roberson, QB; Andrew Shull, DE; Josh Buhl, LB; Travis Brown, P.

Defensive Player of the Year: Terence Newman
Pre-Tournament Salute Ranking#9#5

Seeding and methodology here

The Game

1st Quarter

The first quarter begins with Mike Lawrence picking up first downs for the 1996 team, but the drive is stalled when on 3rd & 5 Brian Kavanagh is sacked by Bryan Hickman for a loss of 5 yards. Darren Sproles returns the favor with a couple of first downs for the 2002 team, before that drive ends short as well. It’s all defense all the time in the first quarter, with neither team ever making it into field goal range.

2nd Quarter

That ends when the 1996 team managed to fight their way to the 17 yard line, thanks largely to a 56 yard reception from Kavanagh to Troy Hackney. However, on the 34 yard field goal attempt Jamie Rheem is unable to convert, bouncing the ball off of the upright.

The 2002 team takes over – or more specifically Darren Sproles does. He picks up just 3 on 1st down, but on 2nd down he escapes around the tackle for 48 yards. They’re unable get another 1st down after than, and the younger Rheem brother, Joe, gets his chance from the 28 yard line, but the kick is blocked! He’ll get another shot later in the 2nd quarter, but this time it’s wide right from 45 yards, on what is turning into a horrific day to be a kicker.

Late in the half the 1996 team is finally able to put together another successful drive after Mike Lawrence picks up 58 yards on a 2nd down pitch play. From 3rd & goal at the 12 Brian Kavanagh is forced to scramble, but he finds Kevin Lockett in the end zone for the first points of the day. 1996 leads 7-0.

3rd Quarter

Trailing by a touchdown the 2002 team opens the 2nd half with an impressive drive. Ell Roberson completes a 29 yard pass to Thomas Hill and later Sproles breaks away from a tackle on the 34 yard line and scores. It’s a 9 play, 84 yard drive, and the game is tied 7-7.

Later in the quarter a nice drive by the 1996 team is stopped, but within field goal range. As is par for the course today Jamie Rheem’s 49 yard attempt is wide left, and the game remains tied headed into the 4th quarter.

4th Quarter

Midway through the 4th, still knotted at 7, the 1996 team is making noise when Kavanagh is sacked by Justin Montgomery for a loss of 6. Jamie Rheem comes in to attempt the 46 yard field goal, and the saddest day in the history of the Rheem family continues when he once again knocks one off of the upright.

On the very next play Darren Sproles breaks a 38 yard run for the ’02 team to the 33 yard line. On 3rd & 9 Roberson scrambles but loses the ball. They’re saved, however by a penalty, setting up 1st & goal on the 10. Roberson picks up 1 yard on first down. On the 2nd down he hands off to Sproles who pounds ahead for 9 yards and the touchdown. Joe Rheem, feeling bad for his brother, misses the extra point and 2002 leads 13-7.

With 2:11 remaining the 1996 team still has time to make a run. On 3rd & 11 Kavanagh completes a 14 yards pass to Jarrett Grosdidier, but after Mike Lawrence only picks up 1 on first down and then gets stopped for a loss on 2nd, Kavanagh overthrows Hackney and Lawrence and Ell Roberson can take a knee for the ’02 victory.

Score by Quarters  Score 
1996 0 7 7
2002 0 0 13

Player of the Game

tempDarren Sproles
’02 Running Back
22 att, 199 yards, 2 TDs

Leading passer
’96 Brian Kavanagh
120/32, 192 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Leading receiver
’96 Troy Hackney
2 rec, 68 yards, 0 TDs

The Bracket

ultimate bracket

Next week’s Semifinal: 2000 vs 1998


About The Author

Founder & Chief Saluter

Mike is a '00 graduate of Kansas State University and holds season tickets for Football and Men's & Women's Basketball. He lives in Kansas City, but stays loyal to his Chicago sports (Bulls & Bears & Hawks & Sox). He's a social media marketer by day and dreams in purple at night.

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