Wildcats beat the Bears in Big 12 home opener

Baylor sophomore linebacker Jordan Williams attempts to stop K-State junior running back Dalvin Warmack during the football game between K-State and Baylor on Sept. 30, 2017, at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Photo by George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State football team won Saturday’s home game against the Baylor Bears, 33-20. The Wildcats are now 3-1 for the season.

Bouncing back after a loss against Vanderbilt, K-State opened Big 12 conference play against Baylor with 12 first downs in the first half and 21 in the second, finishing with 33 first downs.

Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Zuber ran in the first K-State touchdown, where he received senior quarterback Jesse Ertz’s 16-yard pass. Following the touchdown, senior kicker Matthew McCrane kicked a perfect field goal, pushing the Wildcats’ point lead to 7-0.

On Baylor’s first offensive drive, senior defensive back Cre Moore was ejected from the game for targeting. Once he was ejected, sophomore Johnathan Durham took his place.

Before the first quarter ended, Baylor sophomore Connor Martin kicked a 38-yard field goal, scoring the Bears three points. The first quarter ended 7-3 in K-State’s favor.

In the second quarter, McCrane kicked a field goal for 37 yards, and brought K-State up to 10-3. Junior fullback Winston Dimel had a one-yard run for the Wildcats, and McCrane kicked the Wildcats into a 17-3 lead. Later, McCrane kicked another field goal, driving the Wildcats to 20-3.

In the third quarter, Martin kicked a 27-yard field goal for Baylor, moving them up to six points total. Later, Baylor freshman John Lovett would have a 74-yard run for the Bears, bringing the score to 20-13.

McCrane had two more fields goal in the last quarter, the first for 49 yards, the second for 23 yards. Ertz also ran in a touchdown during the fourth quarter for 15 yards, bringing the Wildcats’ final point total to 33.

For Baylor, sophomore Denzel Mims received a 70-yard pass from quarterback Zach Smith. Smith ended the game with 291 passing yards and three sacks.

Ertz ended the game with 119 passing yards and no sacks. Both Smith and Ertz threw for one touchdown.

During the post-game press conference, K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about the team’s offensive efforts.

“It was very, very inconsistent,” Snyder said. “We made a few big plays, but we need to be more of a big play offense. Not collectively a big play offense, but that needs to be part of the balance that we have and we do not have quite enough of those.

“In the second half, we were not a very good third-down football team, but a lot of that is Baylor,” Snyder continued. “Baylor has been very successful on some of the things that they have done on third downs, so my hat goes off to them. I think they played well, but nevertheless, it is not about them, it is about us. We just have to be better.”

McCrane was a key player for the Wildcats in Saturday’s victory against the Bears. After four games, McCrane has only missed two field goal attempts this season. McCrane is now at 234 career points, only one point away to make a tie for seventh place in K-State’s career scoring list.

Coach Snyder also talked about McCrane and his position on the team.

“Considering how difficult [kicking] is … as I have said so many times, that is probably – outside of snapping the ball – the hardest thing in the game of football itself, and he does it quite well,” Snyder said. “It takes a lot of focus and a great deal of discipline on his part. He works at it and it is important to him. He has done well with it.”

I'm DeAundra Allen, co-editor-in-chief and sports editor at the Collegian. I'm a junior in broadcast journalism and pre-law, with a minor in philosophy. I was born in Brighton, Colorado, home of La Placita and the Bulldogs. I moved to Kansas in 2010, and fell in love with press boxes at a young age. In my spare time, I talk about my pets, sports, and work towards going to law school.