On a day in which upsets filled college football conversation, K-State senior quarterback Jake Waters led the Wildcats to a comfortable 45-13 victory over Texas Tech at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The senior signal-caller passed for 290 yards and rushed for 105 more, while his counterpart for Texas Tech, sophomore quarterback David Webb, threw four interceptions on a rather disappointing night for the high-powered Red Raider offense.
“It was really fun,” Waters said. “It seems like we were clicking so well on offense — running, passing, seeing open holes develop. I want to get like that every game, but it was definitely clicking tonight. It’s a special feeling when you get that going.”
Senior wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton were dominant in the passing game for K-State. Lockett totaled 125 yards and two touchdowns on 12 receptions. Sexton finished the night with 128 yards and two touchdowns himself, including a phenomenal one-handed catch in the fourth quarter to stretch the Wildcat lead.
Defensively, juniors Morgan Burns and Travis Green led the way with two interceptions each, as the Wildcats held Texas Tech to under 400 yards of total offense for just the second time this season.
“I think we’re making some headway — some progress — but it’s pretty easy to see that we left a little on the table,” head coach Bill Snyder said. “We’re still a work in progress, yes, but we’re better off today than we were way back.”
K-State (4-1, 2-0) remains undefeated in Big 12 play with a critical conference matchup against Oklahoma in Norman looming. The Wildcats will be idle next weekend, while the Sooners battle in-state rival Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Texas Tech (2-3, 0-2) has lost three-straight games dating back to Sept. 6. The Red Raiders will look to right their ship next weekend at home against the a surging West Virginia squad.
“We’re practicing hard, they’re working hard to get better, but when we get out to games, it’s not connecting,” Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “That’s on me as a coach. I’ve got to find that disconnect. When we have guys open we have to hit them and when we do hit them they’ve got to catch it. That’s on coaching and that’s on me.”
The Red Raiders had their feet taken out from under them after a promising opening drive to start the game. Webb led the Red Raiders 58 yards down to the K-State seven-yard line before Burns intercepted Webb inside the end zone for a touchback.
“I was just making sure he didn’t get the inside route,” Burns said. “I turned around and the ball was coming towards me and in my hands, it happened so fast I couldn’t even tell you exactly what happened — it was just discipline. Coach Hayes has been harping on my eyes and discipline to be in the right place and that’s what happened.”
K-State used the momentum to go 80 yards on eight plays for the game’s opening score. Sexton capped off the drive with a 48-yard touchdown reception, tiptoeing his way down the sideline and inside the pylon for his second-career touchdown catch.
Waters added to the lead early in the second quarter with a four-yard scamper around the right side, and the K-State defense, which has been stellar for three-straight weeks, forced Webb into his second pick on the night.
After a Matthew McCrane field goal to make it 17-0 K-State, the Red Raiders answered back with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Webb to wide receiver Jakeem Grant. However, that left enough time on the clock for the K-State offense to drive 59 yards for a late touchdown from Waters to Lockett.
“We had the ball back and we’re going into our two-minute drill, but then there is a three-and-out and we miss a guy who’s open,” Kingsbury said. “They get it and it’s 24-7 and by the time we get it back it’s 31-7. Just not getting it done, not calling good plays and not executing them when we have good plays called.”
The duo connected for a second time midway through the third quarter for a 14-yard touchdown grab. Lockett surpassed former K-State great Jordy Nelson on the play for third all-time in total touchdowns with 20. He also eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the 11th time in his career — a new K-State record.
“I’ve been saying it all along, they (Lockett and Sexton) make me look so much better,” Waters said. “To have those guys and then Deante Burton and Kody Cook, they don’t much notoriety or anything, but they’re always there in the right place. It definitely helps having those guys.”
A Sexton three-yard grab and DeMarcus Robinson two-yard scamper in the fourth quarter capped off the scoring for the Wildcats and an enthusiastic night for the 52,726 purple and white faithful in attendance.