WACO, Texas — Collin Klein and second-ranked Kansas State can still get to a BCS game. Getting to the BCS championship game is all but lost.
“Anger, frustration, obviously disappointment,” Wildcats tight end Travis Tannahill said as he described his feelings after a 52-24 loss at Baylor on Saturday night. “Confused. We just don’t know what went wrong. We had a good week of practice. We felt prepared, everything we’ve done the last 10 games.”
“It’s a hard one,” Klein said.
Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns, Lache Seastrunk had 185 yards rushing with an 80-yard score and the Bears again upset the BCS picture with a late-season victory.
A week after the Wildcats (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) took over the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings following defending national champion Alabama’s loss, it now looks like it’s going to somebody else’s turn at the top.
Maybe Notre Dame, which could get its championship shot after Kansas State and No. 1 Oregon both lost. And the Crimson Tide suddenly is back in the title picture, along with a couple of other SEC teams.
Also, K-State quarterback Klein may be a Heisman Trophy front-runner no more after throwing three interceptions and getting sacked twice while being pressured and harassed all night. He threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but had only 39 yards on 17 carries with a score.
On first-and-goal from the 6 in the fourth quarter, Klein had four straight carries and couldn’t score — twice trying from the 1.
“I don’t know if I would call it getting smacked in the mouth, but they took it to us,” coach Bill Snyder said. “I really thought we prepared well, but as we found out, we didn’t. I don’t think we handled the situation as well as we should have been able to.”
Nick Florence, Baylor’s successor to Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, completed 20 of 32 passes for 238 yards, and ran nine times for 47 yards. Both of his passing touchdowns came in the first half when the Bears (5-5, 2-5) jumped out to a 28-7 lead.
“All week we believed we were going to beat them and if we did we weren’t going to be surprised when it happened,” Florence said.
It was on the same weekend last November, on another Saturday night in Waco, when Griffin and Baylor upset then fifth-ranked Oklahoma after two teams ahead of the Sooners had already lost that day.
Kansas State has plenty of time for this loss to simmer. The Wildcats have Thanksgiving week off before playing their regular season finale Dec. 1 at home against No. 18 Texas.
If the Wildcats beat Texas, they will be guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 title and get the league’s automatic BCS spot.
That may be the only solace after such a crushing loss against Baylor, which still needs to win another game to be bowl eligible.
The Bears hadn’t beaten an opponent ranked so high since a 13-7 win over No. 2 Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day 1957. They tied No. 1 Texas during the 1941 season.
Students and fans dressed in gold swarmed the field to celebrate when Saturday night’s game ended.
Klein, who finished 27 of 50 passing, had thrown only three interceptions the first 10 games.
After Martin’s 2-yard TD put Baylor up 28-7 with 2:54 left in the first half, Kansas State scored 10 consecutive points before the break — and then got the ball to start the second half, only to have Klein throw his second interception.
Martin finished with 113 yards rushing.
There was a classic 13-yard run by Klein to start the second half, then two deep incompletions before he was picked off by Sam Holl, who returned it to the Kansas State 38. Four plays later, after a Florence 13-yard keeper, Martin scored on a 4-yard run to make it 35-17.
“We gained a little bit of momentum and we just couldn’t sustain anything consistently over time,” Klein said. “We definitely knew we were going to have to play well to win. They just played better than we did.”
The Wildcats then got a 50-yard kickoff return from Tramaine Thompson, but Klein had three consecutive incompletions leading to a punt that pinned Baylor at its 1.
Florence threw an interception, Randall Evans grabbing the ball at the 1 but immediately getting dragged down by intended receiver Terrance Williams. Klein plunged in from a yard out on the next play, but that would be the last score for the Wildcats.
On the first play after Klein was picked off by Joe Williams in the end zone late in the third quarter, Seastrunk took a handoff and raced 80 yards for the score.
Chris Harper had 11 catches for 123 yards for the Wildcats.
Baylor scored less than 2 minutes into the game on Florence’s 38-yard TD to Tevin Reese after completing passes to different receivers on each of the first four plays.
The Bears then tried a short kickoff that K-State recovered. To make it worse, a 15-yard penalty for interfering with the returner set the Wildcats up at the Baylor 38 and led to Klein’s 8-yard TD run.
A holding call wiped out a 95-yard return by Antwan Goodley on the ensuing kickoff, but the Bears regrouped to go 75 yards in 11 plays for Florence’s 12-yard TD run that made it 14-7.
Early in the second quarter, Klein was picked off by Williams on a deep throw.
K-State had a fumble recovery nullified by an offside call. The Wildcats jumped again on a third-and-9, and Florence took off running for a 10-yard gain, plus an additional 15 yards when Dante Barnett was flagged for unnecessary roughness for lowering his shoulder and a hard hit on the Baylor quarterback, who threw an interception two plays later.
About the only stretch that Klein really looked like himself was that closing 2 minutes of the first half.
On the first play after Martin’s score, Klein threw a 36-yard pass to Harper and 5 yards to Tyler Lockett. After a pass interference penalty against Baylor in the end zone put the ball at the 7, Klein threw a TD to Harper,
Baylor then went three-and-out, with Barnett preventing a first down with his open-field tackle of Reese on third down.
The Wildcats then had a 10-play drive in 51 seconds, capped by Anthony Cantele’s 23-yard field goal on the last play of the half, right after Thompson’s 22-yard reception.