K-State holds off Baylor for 33-20 victory

MANHATTAN — Kansas State appeared well on its way to a comfortable victory. The defense was stifling Baylor’s offense and the Wildcat offense was doing just enough to build a 20-3 lead.


Baylor, however, showed its quick-strike offensive ability with a pair of second-half touchdowns — a 74-yard run and 70-yard pass — to pull within seven points twice.

In a snap, or two, the game changed in K-State’s favor.

The Bears lost a fumble on a high snap over quarterback Zach Smith’s head, and later punter Connor Martin fumbled a snap. The Wildcats converted those miscues into 10 points and held on for a 33-20 victory Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Bouncing back from their first loss at Vanderbilt two weeks ago and waiting out a bye week, the Wildcats (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) squeezed out a win in their conference opener with solid defense, spotty offense and some special teams mistakes.

It was a step forward, but not a big leap.

“It’s never big enough for me. I always want a little bit more than what we do,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “That’s one of my faults. There were a lot of things we did well and a lot of things we didn’t do well. That happens every week.

“We had a chance to open up the ballgame and make it a little bit easier toward the end but we just didn’t do it. We have to correct the mistakes.”

The K-State offense was outgained 375-344 in total yards by Baylor (0-5, 0-2), but Matthew McCrane came to the Wildcats’ rescue with four field goals covering 37, 21, 49 and 23 yards. The last two came in the final eight minutes to protect the lead.

“It always feels good when I do my job,” McCrane said. “The wind was tough today, but I hit the one from 49 yards pretty good.”

Still, the Wildcats couldn’t rest easy until safety Kendall Adams came up with an interception with 2:44 remaining.

K-State’s defense was dominant the first half, limiting the Bears to 80 yards on 27 plays with 10 rushing yards. But the Wildcats’ comfy lead disappeared when Baylor running back John Lovett broke a 74-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and Smith hit Denzel Mims for a 70-yard TD pass to close within 27-20 with 13:07 remaining.

“One of them, they ran a good play into a blitz,” said K-State defensive end Tanner Wood, who had six tackles and two pass breaks-ups. “They schemed it well and called the right play. The next one they had an open guy and he’s really fast and he ran a long ways. We weren’t in the right spot and he hit it and was gone.

“To blow the game open we had to keep them from making big plays and they got a couple, but other than that we did a pretty good job.”

Other than those two plays, it was another good performance by the Wildcat defense to back up their showing in the 14-7 loss at Vanderbilt.

“We had a good carryover from the last game for the defense as a whole,” said defensive tackle Will Geary, who had three tackles with two sacks. “You want to make teams one-dimensional and we pride ourselves in stopping the run and make them go to the air and I thought we did a good job with that. We had some good pressure and the (defensive backs) locked them up.”

K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz had a 16-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Zuber, Winston Dimel had 1-yard touchdown run and two McCrane field goals provided the 20-3 halftime lead. Ertz scored on a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter after the Bears’ fumble on the high snap over Smith.

Ertz ran for 95 yards and completed 7 of 17 passes for 119 yards, while Alex Barnes rushed for 80 yards in the Cats’ 225-yard ground game.

“Very, very inconsistent,” Snyder said of the offense. “We made a few plays and had a few big plays. We need to be more of a big-play offense, but that needs to be part of the balance we have and we don’t have enough of those.”

MOORE EJECTED — Wildcat defensive back Cre Moore was disqualified from the game on Baylor’s first possession when a video review charged him with a targeting violation.

“The play happened right in front of me and I just didn’t see him there,” Snyder said. “They looked at it on tape so they must have seen it. I didn’t see the play so there’s nothing I can say about it. I saw the play, but I didn’t see him make the contact. He (official) said when he went in his helmet went down. I just don’t know; I haven’t seen it.”

Moore will be able to start next week’s game at Texas since the penalty occurred in the first half and he sat out the second half Saturday.

Baylor (0-5, 0-2) … 3 … 0 … 10 … 7 – 20

Kansas State (3-1, 1-0) … 7 … 13 … 0 … 13 – 33


KSU — Zuber 16 pass from Ertz (McCrane kick), 13:17. Drive: 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:43 time of possession.

BU — Martin 38 field goal, 6:01. Drive: 13-53, 7:11.


KSU — McCrane 37 field goal, 14:13. Drive: 7-18, 3:24.

KSU — Dimel 1 run (McCrane kick), 6:35. Drive: 6-73, 3:20.

KSU — McCrane 21 field goal, 0:04. Drive: 14-61, 4:41.


BU — Martin 27 field goal, 7:45. Drive: 16-65, 7:15.

BU — Lovett 74 run (Martin kick), 3:31. Drive: 4-85, 1:04.


KSU — Ertz 15 run (McCrane kick), 14:52. Drive: 2-14, 0:41.

BU — Mims 70 pass from Smith (Martin kick), 13:07. Drive: 4-79, 1:38.

KSU — McCrane 49 field goal, 8:06. Drive: 9-41, 4:48.

KSU — McCrane 23 field goal, 4:57. Drive: 5-11, 2:13.

Attendance — 52,293.


… BU … KSU

First downs … 19 … 19

Rushes-yards … 27-84 … 43-225

Passing … 291 … 119

Comp-Att-Int … 26-44-1 … 7-17-0

Return Yards … 59 … 116

Punts-Avg. … 3-27.0 … 3-47.33

Fumbles-Lost … 1-1 … 2-1

Penalties-Yards … 10-60 … 6-45

Time of Possession … 30:53 … 29:07


RUSHING — Baylor, Lovett 7-95, T.Williams 11-27, Nicholson 2-6, Martin 2-5, Brewer 1-(minus 1), Z.Smith 3-(minus 19), (Team) 1-(minus 29). Kansas St., Ertz 12-95, Barnes 13-80, Delton 3-23, Silmon 6-16, Warmack 3-8, Dimel 4-8, (Team) 2-(minus 5).

PASSING — Baylor, Z.Smith 26-44-1-291. Kansas St., Ertz 7-17-0-119.

RECEIVING — Baylor, Stricklin 9-102, Mims 7-127, Nicholson 5-24, T.Williams 2-15, Ebner 2-10, Sneed 1-13. Kansas St., Zuber 4-79, Dimel 1-21, Schoen 1-10, Warmack 1-9.

MISSED FIELD GOALS — Baylor, Martin 44.

Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.



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