KSU wins 4OT thriller

12 Nov

Against both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Wildcats overcame 14-point deficits only to come away with a loss. Saturday would not follow that pattern.

In a scintillating four-overtime game, Kansas State defeated Texas A&M 53-50 in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It snapped the team’s 2-game losing streak and kept the Aggies a win away from bowl eligibility.

Collin Klein passed for 281 yards, rushed for 103 and scored six touchdowns in the game. Chris Harper had a huge game as well; his four catches went for 134 yards.

“There are no words to explain Collin,” said wide receiver Tramaine Thompson. “He is our team leader and is very tough. He had some pain, as did the rest of us, but he sure he did a lot of treatment so that he would be well for the game. He was able to be a leader the whole game.”

Both Kansas State and Texas A&M started slowly, with only 105 yards of offense in the first quarter between the two teams. After the initial 15 minutes, the action got more interesting.

Just a minute and a half into the second quarter, the Aggies scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Ryan Swope. Kansas State running back Angelo Pease fumbled on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession. That set up a short drive for the Aggies.

In two minutes, the Wildcats went from being in a 0-0 tie to being down 14-0 for the third week in a row.

The catalyst for Kansas State was a not-so-surprising interception by Nigel Malone – the seventh of the season for the cornerback. It took the Wildcats over five minutes, but they ground out the 33 yards between them and the end zone to get on the board with 3:45 to play in the first half.

Collin Klein scored on a 2-yard run, and a few minutes later the next Kansas State drive culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by him. Just like that, the Wildcats were tied with the Aggies again.

The third quarter proceeded, like the first, in a fairly uninteresting manner. The tide began to turn when Texas A&M went for it on fourth down and could not convert. The Wildcats got the ball on their 43-yard line – and promptly false started. Several plays later, Klein threw an interception.

A 57-yard interception return by cornerback Terrence Frederick positioned the Aggies for a quick 10-yard touchdown run to go up 21-14 on the Wildcats.

Kansas State continued to battle. They moved up the field on the strength of a 46-yard pass from Klein to Chris Harper and a 19-yard run by Klein, the Wildcats tied it up at 21 within the first minute of the fourth quarter.

On its next possession, though, the Wildcats fumbled for the second time in the game. Texas A&M recovered and had possession on the Wildcats’ 29-yard line. A short run by running back Cyrus Gray put the Aggies up 28-21 after quarterback Tannehill set up that play with a 20-yard scramble on the previous one.

A field goal increased the Aggies’ lead to 10 with 6:38 to play.

It wouldn’t be enough.

With a 53-yard touchdown pass by Harper and a 44-yard field goal by Anthony Cantele, the Wildcats knelt to send the game into overtime.

From there, the teams traded touchdowns, then traded field goals. At the start of the third overtime, the Wildcats scored but failed to get the two-point conversion. The Aggies did likewise.

On fourth-and-one in the fourth overtime, Texas A&M chose to kick a field goal rather than go for the touchdown. It would be the difference in the game.

A penalty gave the Wildcats first-and-goal from the two-yard line, and that was that.

“It feels good to get our rhythm back so that everyone knows it is not a fluke,” Thompson said. “We really do have this kind of record, and we can do great things.”

Before Saturday, the Kansas State football program had only seen one overtime game. That one also came against Texas A&M, for the 1998 Big 12 Championship, but the Wildcats lost in double overtime.

Fittingly, the Wildcats evened the score in the last game the teams will play against each other in the foreseeable future, since the Aggies are moving to the SEC. Even without that added significance, though, it was a colossal game.

“You are so locked in you do not realize what you are a part of at the time being,” said wide receiver Curry Sexton. “Tomorrow it will set in, maybe when the adrenaline slows down, but it is surreal.”

 

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