Courtesy of K-State Athletics
MANHATTAN, Kansas — K-State’s searching for consistency. The Wildcats could not find much of it in a 31-12 loss to Baylor on Saturday in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
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K-State (3-2, 0-2) forced Baylor (5-0, 2-0) into five three-and-outs and six punts, including three straight of the latter to open the game. The Bears, however, collected 295 yards (69 percent) of their 426 yards of total offense on their four touchdown drives.
“We need to get consistent in everything — our fits, our reads and, especially today, tackling. We can’t allow that to happen,” K-State senior defensive tackle Jordan Mittie said. “(Baylor’s) last touchdown was a misfit, and (those are) just things we have to clean up. It can’t keep happening if we want to go out and do something in this conference.”
Wildcat punter Devin Anctil twice pinned Baylor inside its on 10-yard line. The first time, the Bears responded with a six-play, 98-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter to go up 10-3. Early in the third, the Bears went 91 yards in six plays for a touchdown to go up 17-3.
“The (98-yard drive) was the big one because Devin does a great job of pinning them down in a field position game. It was 3-3 and both defenses were playing well,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “That hurt. Obviously, it was a poor job by us of not getting the critical stop, where it’s 10-3 rather than it’s 3-3 and, if they go three-and-out, five-and-out, we potentially get the ball at midfield, but we didn’t. That was a big drive, big series.”
K-State, offensively, struggled to replicate those types of series.
The Wildcats put together five drives of more than 35 yards for the game and entered Baylor territory five times in the second half. They failed to sustain enough offense for many of them to matter, however.
Two of K-State’s longest drives ended in Blake Lynch field goals (31 yards and 29) in the red zone. A lost fumble stopped one series. On another, with 6:24 to play and K-State down 24-6, Skylar Thompson found Dalton Schoen for a 5-yard touchdown. K-State’s last drive — of 10 plays, 43 yards — ended with a turnover on downs.
“Consistency. That’s the biggest thing,” Klieman said. “This year, we just have to be more consistent, especially in the red zone.”
K-State finished with 341 yards of offense, with Thompson connecting on 22-of-34 for 218 yards that included one touchdown and an interception that led to a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
James Gilbert carried the ball 18 times and accounted for 94 of K-State’s 123 rushing yards. Schoen set a new career high for catches with six that went for 69 yards, including his third touchdown reception of the season. Redshirt freshman Phillip Brooks notched career highs in receptions (seven) and yards (69).
“Offensively, we’ve got to be able to sustain drives,” Klieman said. “We have some good plays but not enough sustained drives together.”
K-State enters a bye week before hosting TCU on Saturday, October 19.
“We told the guys, ‘We’re going to be good, but we’ve got to fix some problems and some issues that have crept up the last couple of weeks.’ We have it in front of us. There’s ton to play for,'” Klieman said. “The one thing we have to do is stay together. We have a bunch of seniors I know want to be great. I’m going to challenge those guys to make sure we keep moving forward.”
SEASON RECORD UPDATE
K-State 3-2 (0-2, Big 12)
Baylor 5-0 (2-0, Big 12)
K-State will continue its three-game homestand as TCU (3-2, 1-1) comes to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on October 19. The game will also serve as Harley Day, which will be coordinated by the Ahearn Fund and has been an annual event since 1997.