K-State falls short against Oklahoma State, 20-18

Arne Green
agreen@saina.com
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) is hit by Kansas State defensive end Bronson Massie (90) as he throws a pass during Saturday's game at Bill Snyder Family  Stadium.

MANHATTAN — So close.

After a nearly flawless first half, Kansas State was undone by a lost third quarter and two killer mistakes in the fourth as No. 14-ranked Oklahoma State rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to edge the Wildcats, 20-18, Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

With its second straight loss, K-State fell to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12. Oklahoma State improved to 5-1 with a 4-1 league record.

Despite a miserable third quarter in which Oklahoma State rallied from a 12-0 halftime deficit to go up 13-12, K-State had one chance to take the lead and another to tie in the fourth period.

The first came after a 58-yard completion from Will Howard to Sammy Wheeler put the ball at the OSU 27-yard line. Three plays later, Howard appeared to pick up a first down, only to fumble it away, with Jason Taylor scooping it up and returning it 85 yards for a touchdown.

The Wildcats answered with a 60-yard scoring drive to cut it to two on Howard's 2-yard touchdown run, but he fumbled on the two-point conversion attempt. Even so, the defense held and K-State got the ball back at its 24 with 1:47 left.

But Tre Sterling intercepted on the next play for Oklahoma State and the Cowboys ran out the clock.

K-State outgained Oklahoma State 370 yards to just 256, but for the second straight week lost the turnover battle, this time 2-0.

Howard completed 10 of 21 passes for 143 yards and rushed for 125 yards on 14 carries. The Wildcats had 227 yards rushing, with Harry Trotter adding 43 and Deuce Vaughn 40.

For Oklahoma State, LD Brown had 110 of the Cowboys' 148 rushing yards. Spencer Sanders was 14 for 23 passing for 108 yards.

Oklahoma State, after going nowhere in the first half, took control in the third quarter with two field goals and a touchdown to go up 13-12 on Alex Hale's 33-yard field goal with 58 seconds on the clock. The Cowboys, who were limited to 83 yards total offense in the first half, had 157 in the third quarter alone, while holding K-State to 25.

The, who trailed 12-0 at the break, drove 56 yards on their first possession of the third quarter before Hale kicked a 35-yard field goal. Brennan Presley then got the Cowboys' first touchdown at the 7:30 mark on a sweep around right end on third and goal from the K-State 9.

K-State turned in a dominating first-half defensive performance, and after settling for field goals on their first two trips to the red zone, the Wildcats finally broke through with a touchdown 37 seconds before intermission.

On third down and goal from the Oklahoma State 4-yard line, Howard found Phillip Brooks in the back of the end zone to make it 12-0. A two-point conversion pass toward Brooks was incomplete.

Oklahoma State was without Tylan Wallace, the Big 12's leading receiver, but K-State held the Cowboys in check both against the pass and run, allowing just 83 yards total offense in the half.

Sanders completed 9 of 14 passes for 74 yards, but the Cowboys managed just 9 yards on the ground. K-State held Chuba Hubbard to 11 yards on three carries and sacked Sanders once.

For K-State, Howard had 101 rushing yards on five carries in the half, including a 69-yarder to set up the touchdown. He also picked up a first down with a 4-yarder to the Cowboy 4 on the drive.

The Wildcats got on the board first with 4:35 left in the first quarter on a 30-yard Blake Lynch field goal after an 11-play, 56-yard drive stalled at the Oklahoma State 12-yard line. A similar 11-play drive in the second quarter ended with a 29-yard field goal by Lynch with 8:58 left in the half.

Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles (4) runs with the ball while Oklahoma State  cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse (24) gives chase Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.