Roberson has had ups and downs since return

Updated: October 14, 2003, 7:42 PM ET

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Ell Roberson started the season in a heady swirl of Heisman Trophy buzz and high expectations for his team.

Now, the talk -- for Kansas State and its senior quarterback -- has turned to what went wrong.

"We're not winning. You have to adjust a lot of things," Roberson said Tuesday. "Nothing's changed -- we're still trying to work hard and get better every week -- but we just have to get better at it."

Roberson's return from an injury to his left, non-throwing wrist was supposed to spark the Wildcats to a Big 12 North title run. But Kansas State has lost twice since his return, and Roberson committed costly turnovers in both close defeats.

Going into Saturday's home game against Colorado, Kansas State is on a three-game losing streak that dropped the Wildcats out of the AP Top 25.

The Wildcats, who were ranked as high as No. 6 before their slide began and No. 22 before Saturday's 38-34 loss to Oklahoma State, didn't get a single vote in the latest poll. Roberson, hailed as a savior two weeks ago, is taking some of the heat for the tumble -- undeserved heat, one teammate said.

"It's always a quarterback's fault when you lose, and when you win everybody wants to put a quarterback up on Cloud Nine," cornerback Cedrick Williams said. "I don't think Ell has played that bad. Ask anyone coming off an injury -- for a while, you're not going to be who you were when you came off the field."

Still, Roberson said he deserves a share of the blame.

"We're not doing the things we need to do as an offensive unit, and the quarterback's looked at first," he said. "I need to get this team where it needs to be."

It isn't that Roberson has played badly in the Wildcats' Big 12 losses.

Against No. 23 Oklahoma State on Saturday, Roberson set school records with 20 completions, 34 attempts and 332 yards passing and tied a school single-game record with four TD throws.

But he also threw three interceptions, one of which the Cowboys' Darrent Williams returned 63 yards for a touchdown.

And the previous week against Texas, he ran for two touchdowns -- but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble that started the Longhorns' game-winning drive in their 24-20 victory.

"Is he a guy that tries to do more than he needs to on the field? In the last game, he may have," coach Bill Snyder said.

Roberson blamed part of his struggles on rust after a three-week layoff that included an open date.

"I'm trying to get a better feel for what I'm trying to do, not putting the receivers in bad situations with passes I throw," he said. "I just need to take what the defense gives me and not look to the receivers to bail me out of bad situations."

And while Roberson boasted before the Texas game that he wasn't afraid of being hurt again -- "Getting hit is second nature to me," he said at the time -- he acknowledged Tuesday he has been favoring the injured wrist.

"When I wanted to run, maybe I'd sit back in the pocket a little more and not want to risk somebody hitting it. I was kind of hesitant," he said. "It weighed on me far more than I expected it too, but I feel a lot better now."

Roberson has thrown for nine scores and rushed for six this year. He needs 61 yards of total offense to break Lynn Dickey's career record of 5,779 from 1968 to 1970.

"I'm not really worried about stats. I couldn't care less," Roberson said. "Our team needs wins, and that's what I'm trying to get for them."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index