K-State rallies to beat Texas Tech, end Big 12 losing streak
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Skylar Thompson passed for 296 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and Kansas State came up with sacks on Texas Tech’s final two plays to take a 25-24 victory Saturday.
Thompson’s TD pass to Deuce Vaughn with just over six minutes left helped the Wildcats snap an eight-game Big 12 Conference losing streak going back to last year. It was K-State’s longest since joining the Big 12 in 1996.
The Red Raiders (5-3, 2-3) were driving into field-goal range with two first downs, reaching K-State’s 46-yard-line with three minutes to go. But the Wildcats’ defense came up big when Felix Anudike-Uzomah sacked Texas Tech quarterback Henry Colombi for a 6-yard loss and Nate Matlack dropped him for a 1-yard loss.
“We didn’t change that many calls; we just played them better,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said.
“It was a very simple game plan. We told the guys we were going to keep the game plan really simple so they could play fast. In the first half we played fast and made mistakes … and in the second half we kept it pretty simple, played faster and made plays.”
K-State (4-3, 1-3) fought back to take the 25-24 lead with a drive aided when Texas Tech’s Devin Drew was flagged for a hands-to-the-face penalty on a play that would have ended with the Wildcats facing fourth-and-16.
Instead, K-State got an automatic first down and Thompson threw four consecutive completions, the last to Vaughn for a 22-yard touchdown.
“The thing that hurt us as late in the game when we got the untimely penalties,” Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said. “The hands-to-the face – that’s the one that really hurt.”
The Red Raiders were also flagged for holding infractions on each of their final two series.
Kansas State climbed back into the game with a third-quarter safety and touchdown following the free kick.
Anudike-Uzomah stuffed SaRodorick Thompson for a 4-yard loss in the end zone to close a two-touchdown halftime deficit to 24-12. Malik Knowles had a 31-yard return on the free kick and the Wildcats drove 69 yards to pull within 24-19 on Vaughn’s 2-yard burst on fourth-and-1.
Tech Tech stunned the Wildcats early, scoring after just two offensive snaps — both running plays by receivers — and recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
Erik Ezukanma put the Red Raiders up when he took a jet sweep handoff and dashed 45 yards. Tyrique Matthews smothered Malik Knowles’ fumble on the kickoff and Texas Tech took possession at the 23-yard-line.
Sticking mostly to the ground, the Red Raiders drove the short distance and made it 14-0 when Thompson ducked into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard-line.
“We did what we wanted: Got right out of the gate and started fast,” Wells said. “We played good ball the rest of the half.”
That wasn’t the case in the second half when the Wildcats outgained Texas Tech 220-102 in total yards and did not allow the Red Raiders to convert a third down. K-State’s three final offensive series covered 69 yards (TD), 71 yards (lost fumble) and 66 yards (TD).
“We sort of just settled in on defense, and that was important because you can’t play defense frantically,” Klieman said. “We settled in and played good team defense, and that’s what you have to do.”
Kansas State ended a long stretch of Big 12 futility by beating the Red Raiders for the sixth consecutive time and the 10th time in the last 11 meetings.
Texas Tech’s first chance at gaining bowl eligibility this season ended in frustrating fashion despite allowing only 22 rushing yards.
TCU at Kansas State next Saturday.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma next Saturday.
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