Survive and advance.
When defensive stops seemed nearly impossible, a stout second-half defensive performance and strong senior leadership in quarterback Jake Waters came through with a shutout and three second half touchdowns.
Waters ran for a career-high 138 yards and scored two touchdowns and sparked a seven play, 80-yard touchdown drive to give No. 20 K-State (2-0, 1-0) an exciting, come from behind 32-28 victory.
The Wildcats will stay at home next Saturday and have 12 days off before Auburn, last season’s national runner-ups, come to town on Sept. 18.
Iowa State falls to 0-2 and 0-1 in conference play. The Cyclones will play against next Saturday against in-state rival Iowa.
Randall Evans wasn’t prepared to let K-State lose as the senior came through with a game-changing interception in the second half.
Down two with less than 10 minutes to play, Evans threw his left arm in to break up a Sam Richardson pass, only to come away with an improbable interception after an initial catch from Iowa State’s Jarvis West.
K-State took over and capitalized. Waters completed two passes for 35 yards down to the Iowa State four-yard line. Redshirt sophomore running back Charles Jones did the rest on the ensuing play, rushing ahead for the score.
Saturday’s frantic finish was a far cry from how the ballgame began.
K-State settled into a groove right from the kickoff. Waters connected with a wide-open Tyler Lockett for a 57-yard reception four plays into their opening drive. Charles Jones scored from four yards out a play later to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
The defense followed suit with two quick three-and-outs, which led to two K-State field goals and a comfortable 13-0 advantage.
K-State was cruising. Then the mistakes mounted.
Eight penalties and many more missed tackles later, K-State found itself playing from behind for the first time in 2014.
West helped the Cyclones storm back with four unanswered touchdowns to give the Cyclones a 28-13 lead two minutes before halftime.
West accounted for 21 of Iowa State’s 28 first-half points. The redshirt senior finished the first half with 153 all-purpose yards and touchdowns by way of receiving, punt returning, and passing.
The Wildcats helped their cause with 10 play, 84-yard scoring drive seconds moments before the halftime whistle to pull within eight points.
Waters found Lockett three times on the drive for 33 yards before capping off the drive himself with a one-yard touchdown run.
Waters engineered a late third-quarter drive all the way down to the Iowa State 31-yard line, but the Cyclones were able to stuff K-State on fourth-down-and-inches.