And so it ends

17 Nov

Kansas State’s undefeated streak came to a screeching halt on Saturday night in Waco, Texas, of all places.

Going into the game, Baylor had a losing record (4-5) and just one win in conference play. Nevertheless, the Bears executed well enough to beat the Wildcats 52-24, dealing Kansas State its first loss of the season in compelling fashion.

Linebacker Tre Walker had sustained season-ending injury a couple games earlier. Last week Kansas State lost wide receiver Curry Sexton and safety Ty Zimmerman as well. The Wildcats could hardly use wide receiver and kick returner Tyler Lockett at all against the Bears. Linebacker Jarell Childs and defensive ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis all came out of the game at different points in Saturday’s game after being checked by trainers.

In one fell swoop, the dreams of a team, community and fan base fell flat. The expectation is that this single loss has killed Kansas State’s chances to play for a national championship as well as quarterback Collin Klein’s bid for the Heisman Trophy.

The Wildcats, who are all about avoiding mistakes, particularly turnovers and penalties, made uncharacteristic errors on Saturday night.

Klein threw three interceptions, as many as he had in the previous 10 games combined. The Wildcats racked up 60 yards in penalties, when their average during the season had been 25.1. 

Of course, credit goes to the Bears as well. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said during the week that Baylor actually had a very balanced offense, despite how many passing yards it had recorded. He said the disparity in their rushing versus passing numbers was due to the fact that the Bears had often been in situations where they were playing from behind and thus throwing the ball more than running it.

Snyder was right.

Baylor amassed 580 yards of offense, including 342 on the ground. Lache Seastrunk rushed for 185 yards, and Giasco Martin added 118.

The Bears’ defense also had a stellar performance, guided by coordinator Phil Bennett, who coached in the same position under Snyder from 1999-2001. Clearly, whatever plan he put in place worked wonderfully.

The Wildcats only gained 76 yards on the ground, including just 43 from John Hubert and 39 from Klein. Though Kansas State got 286 yards through the air, it took 51 pass attempts, an almost unbelievable number by what is usually a more run-heavy attack.

On Dec. 1 the Wildcats will play their final game of the regular season at home against Texas.

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