An opportunity to move on from heartbreak arrives Saturday for both No. 25 Kansas State and visiting Baylor, when the Big 12 teams meet at Manhattan, Kan.
Kansas State showed its quality at No. 7 Texas last week but absorbed the sting of a 33-30 overtime defeat. Baylor also went to overtime last week, falling 25-24 to host Houston.
Kansas State (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) fell out of the Associated Press poll but remained in the final spot of the College Football Playoff rankings. “The biggest thing for us now is we’ve got to move forward,” Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said Tuesday. “We’re always talking about how you respond. This is a little bit different. We had a top five team — in my opinion — on the ropes. They made some plays down the stretch and found a way to win. “Now we’ve got to be able to move on. We’ve got so much story to write in the season and so many more things to accomplish. I’m confident the guys are going to come back and respond.” Entering Saturday’s game, Kansas State is fifth in total offense in the Big 12 with 452.7 yards per game, while Baylor is third from the bottom in points allowed per game at 29.4. K-State is third in total defense with 358.7 yards allowed, while Baylor (3-6, 2-4) is 11th in total offense (391.2 yards).
Baylor (3-6, 2-4 Big 12) is undefeated on the road at 2-0, while Kansas State is undefeated at home at 5-0. Baylor tied its game against Houston with 29 seconds left in regulation when quarterback Blake Shapen hit tight end Hawkins Polley for a 1-yard score to cap an 11-play drive in 2 minutes, 22 seconds. The Bears then scored a touchdown on their first drive in overtime but yielded a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to walk away with the defeat. Baylor owned the stat sheet, outgaining the Cougars on the ground and through the air. The Bears were more successful on third down and even converted on fourth-and-17 during the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter. But in OT, they couldn’t stop Houston QB Donovan Smith from 1-yard out or on the conversion. “I felt like that was a game we should have won,” Baylor head coach Dave Aranda said Monday. “That just hurts that much more. “I’m looking forward to getting the blood flowing again today (at practice) and getting ready for a really good Kansas State team. It’s going to be a physical game in a great atmosphere. We welcome the challenge.” Kansas State fell behind 17-0 in the first half at Texas and trailed 27-7 late in the third quarter. But the Wildcats scored a touchdown with less than a minute left in the third quarter and two more TDs in the fourth to tie the score. After Texas took a late 30-27 lead, Chris Tennant kicked a 45-yard field goal with one second on the clock to send the game into overtime. The Wildcats held Texas to a field goal on its possession in overtime, setting them up to earn their first victory over the Longhorns since 2016. On the first play, the Wildcats gained 19 yards, setting up first and goal from the 6-yard line. But the next two plays netted just 2 yards and on fourth down, with Klieman electing to to go for the win instead of a game-tying field goal. Will Howard lost his footing for a sack to end the game.