MANHATTAN, Kan. Joe Dailey took on the look of Joe Frazier a beaten Joe Frazier.
The Nebraska quarterback showed up for postgame interviews Saturday sporting purple bruises over his right eye, compliments of Kansas State's hard-charging defense.
Nevertheless, Dailey's faculties were operating at a competent enough level to recognize the irony in the Wildcats' latest thumping of Big Red.
"That was our old offense that's what we used to do," Dailey said of the system K-State used to stun its border rivals 45-21 before 52,234 spectators at KSU Stadium.
It marked the first time the Wildcats have beaten the Huskers three straight times in a series that dates to 1911. The average margin of victory in the last three contests is 30 points.
This time, with backup quarterback Allen Webb at the controls, Kansas State rushed for 294 yards and six touchdowns. The Wildcats finished with mammoth advantages in total yards (418-222), first downs (24-9) and total plays (84-46).
With starting quarterback Dylan Meier sidelined after being hammered repeatedly in a loss to Oklahoma last week, Webb made his third start of the season a memorable one. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore carried 34 times for 147 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 124 yards.
A week after K-State netted 1 solitary yard of rushing n yes, 1 in a 31-21 loss to the second-ranked Sooners, Webb riddled Nebraska's struggling defense with option plays and quarterback draws.
"It's nothing we didn't expect, nothing we didn't work on," said Nebraska first-year head coach Bill Callahan, whose squad dropped to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12. The Huskers are still tied for the North Division lead.
Callahan expressed frustration with his team's slow start in the game, which is becoming habitual.
Kansas State (3-4, 1-3), which had lost three straight, jumped in front 14-0 during the game's first 10 minutes.
"There are no excuses, none whatsoever," said Callahan, his voice rising. "I take total accountability with what just transpired."
Kansas State's margin of victory was surprising, especially considering Webb's inexperience and modest past performances. In five appearances this season, including two starts, he had rushed for only 26 yards and was just 11-of-28 passing for 104 yards.
What's more, K-State entered the day ranked 76th nationally in total offense.
"We were a little bit better today than we were previously," said Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder in his typical understated manner. "It's still a work in progress, but I was pleased with a lot of things.
"I was proud of Allen Webb. He certainly had his share of mistakes, but to come in under those circumstances and against that defense, he did a nice job."
Nebraska's defense continued its sudden and inexplicable slide. In the last three games, the Huskers have allowed an average of 447 yards per game.
"We prepared for (Webb) and the option game," Husker defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said. "I know, at times, it didn't look like it, but we practiced it a lot. It just comes down to execution, and they out-executed us."
Nebraska's offense also struggled, particularly on third down. The Huskers converted just 2 of 11 third-down chances, going 0-for-7 in the second half.
Nebraska's inability to move the chains became particularly costly in the third quarter, after the Huskers had pulled to 24-21 early in the period on Daniel Bullocks' 10-yard return of a snap that bounced off of the up back on a K-State punt attempt.
Nebraska forced K-State to punt on its next two possessions, but the Huskers' offense also went nowhere.
K-State took control of the game with three touchdowns in the final 20 minutes. Dailey helped set up the Wildcats' last two scores with an interception and a fumble, respectively, with both miscues deep occurring in Nebraska territory.
"We're capable of playing better," Callahan said. "I feel that. I believe that."