After riding high with three straight wins to open the season, the Kansas State Wildcats have come crashing back to earth with an 0-2 start in Big 12 Conference play.
The Wildcats never got their vaunted ground game on track and gave up numerous big plays defensively as Baylor took home a 31-12 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
K-State managed just 123 yards on 40 carries on the afternoon – just over three yards per attempt. They were minus-2 in the turnover department and just 6-for-17 on third down.
“It was a disappointing loss for us,” said K-State head coach Chris Klieman.
It was K-State who scored first, with a 31 yard field goal by Blake Lynch late in the first quarter staking the Cats to a 3-0 lead. But Baylor would control the second quarter. John Mayers knocked home a 36-yard field goal to tie the score, and then Tyquan Thornton caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Brewer with 6:38 to play in the half to make it 10-3, Bears. That play capped off a 98-yard drive that took only six plays to complete, featuring big plays through the air and on the ground that became a recurring theme of the day.
“We have to tackle better,” said Klieman. “It was an awful display of tackling downfield.”
John Lovett’s 13 yard run gave Baylor a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter as the Bears marched 91 yards in six plays after K-State went three-and-out to start the half. The Wildcats moved into Baylor territory on their next drive, but Skylar Thompson fumbled on a third-down scramble and Baylor recovered. K-State would get another Lynch field goal with 21 seconds to play in the third to trim the deficit to 17-6, but they would get no closer than that the rest of the game.
Grayland Arnold’s interception of a deflected Thompson pass near midfield set up another Baylor scoring drive, with backup quarterback Gerry Bohanon (in for an injured Brewer) running in from four yards out after Baylor converted a third-and-22 near midfield. The Wildcats managed a touchdown drive for the first time all day in response, with Thompson finding Dalton Schoen from five yards on fourth-and-goal, but K-State missed the two-point try and Baylor maintained a 12-point edge, 24-12, with 6:24 left. Just two plays into Baylor’s next drive, Lovett drove the final nail into the Wildcat coffin with a 46-yard run that concluded the scoring.
Thompson finished the game with a career high 218 passing yards on 22-of-34 passing, but did lose a fumble and throw an interception. Brewer threw for 230 yards before he left injured in the fourth quarter.
K-State is off next week before hosting TCU on October 19.
“We gotta fix some problems that have crept up the last couple weeks,” said Klieman after the game. “There’s tons to play for in front of us. One thing we have to do is stay together.”