As they did two years ago, Baylor fans flooded the field, rushing past visibly distraught K-State players in celebration.
The scene, though comparable to the one in 2012, was for a much grander occasion this time around.
No. 5 Baylor captured its second-consecutive Big 12 trophy in decisive fashion Saturday, leaving only their fate for the College Football Selection committee to decide.
“As the Big 12 conference states, there’s one true champion and that’s the Baylor Bears,” Baylor head coach Art Briles shouted at the podium in front of a sea of green and gold after the game.
The 38-27 win was the third-straight victory over K-State and the fourth in a row over the Wildcats in Waco, Texas.
No. 9 K-State needed a win to capture a share of the conference title — the third in program history — but had too few answers for Baylor’s high-octane offense.
“We were just poorly prepared, it’s just that simple,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said after the game. “We just didn’t do a good job in our preparation. There was a lot of other things that are easy to slough off on and say ‘we didn’t tackle well and all that stuff, but we just didn’t prepare well.”
K-State (9-3, 7-2) is now 0-11 all-time against AP Top-10 teams under Snyder.
Baylor (11-1, 8-1) kept the Wildcats at arms length the entire game. But unlike what transpired in 2012’s 52-24 blowout, K-State made things interesting late.
Trailing 38-20 with 12:41 to play, Jake Waters connected with Tyler Lockett in the back of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown. The defense then stuffed a run and sacked Bryce Petty twice on Baylor’s next drive to force a punt.
K-State took over and marched down to the Baylor 34-yard line, but Waters was intercepted, leaving Petty and the Baylor offense to run down the clock.
“It’s extremely heartbreaking,” cornerback Morgan Burns said. “After the game, just looking at the seniors — the guys who really care — I don’t doubt the effort that we fielded tonight. We just didn’t execute or prepare the best. It’s extremely hard, we wanted to win and be conference champions but it didn’t play out that way. We still have a lot to play for though. We can still be a 10-win team, so that’s a great accomplishment.”
Waters finished the game 22 of 27 passing for 300 yards, two touchdowns and the unfortunate pick late. His go-to target, Lockett, broke another school record with his 27th-career touchdown, passing his father Kevin on the all-time list.
Lockett finished the night with 158 yards on 14 receptions and a touchdown. Tight end Zach Trujillo also had a touchdown on three receptions for 88 yards.
For Baylor, Petty surpassed the 400-yard passing mark in a single game for the third time this season. He finished 34 of 40 passing with two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing) and an interception.
“He’s a heck of a player, first-class guy,” Ryan Mueller said of Petty and his performance.
Shock Linwood gashed the Wildcats on the ground, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts. Antwan Goodley was equally impressive through the air, hauling in nine receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Baylor’s offense worked like clockwork from the opening possession. Petty led the Bears down the field in 1:35 to give the home team a quick 7-0 advantage. The lead doubled later in the first quarter on a Linwood one-yard touchdown run.
K-State responded with a 10-play drive that lasted more than five minutes, capped off by a two-yard Charles Jones touchdown out of the wildcat formation.
The two teams traded touchdowns to make it 21-14. Baylor added a field goal with seconds remaining before halftime to stretch the lead heading into the break. The Bears finished the first half with 379 total yards and 23 first downs.
K-State pulled within seven points twice in the second half, but Baylor’s big play ability doomed K-State too many times for a possible upset.
“We just couldn’t keep them from advancing the course of the field,” Snyder said.