K-State football heads into bye week with plenty to work on

The Wildcats run onto the field through the smoke to start the game against Baylor. The Wildcats lost 31-12. (Dalton Wainscott | Collegian Media Group)

The Wildcats dropped game two of Big 12 play in a 31-12 loss at home to Baylor on Saturday in a game where the offense struggled to gain early momentum.

“Consistency — that’s the bottom line we just gotta be more consistent on offense,” head coach Chris Klieman said.

The Kansas State offense managed to finish the game with 341 yards despite finishing the first half with only 118 yards, 29 of which were passing.

Inconsistency was the theme of the post-game press conference after the loss. The Wildcats now hold a record of 3-2 and 0-2 in the conference.

K-State also struggled to keep the ball moving consistently on offense throughout the game.

“You look offensively, you’ve gotta be able to sustain drives. We had some good plays, but not enough sustained drives together and defensively we gotta tackle better,” Klieman said.

The defense has kept K-State in games, but the momentum on the offensive side comes a little too late. The defense held Baylor to only ten points in the first half, but the offense could not capitalize on those defensive stops. The Baylor offense erupted in the second half, scoring 21 points.

“Fourteen of those points came in the fourth quarter so it’s just something we’ve got to buckle down, just finishing the game, playing all four quarters, not three quarters or three and a half quarters,” sophomore defensive lineman Wyatt Hubert said.

Senior wide receiver Dalton Schoen was the key player on offense with six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, but one facet of the offense is not going to sustain the offense.

“We got to be able to run the ball and throw the ball because when we can’t do one. It just throws us out of our rhythm, and like we said, we made some good plays, but not all the time and had trouble stringing drives together so that’s just inconsistency,” Schoen said

The Wildcats were forced to rely on the passing game in order to gain any momentum.

K-State finally gained momentum in the third quarter with their rush offense headed by senior running back James Gilbert and play-calling similar to what fans saw in the first two games of the year.

K-State settled for a field goal on a fourth and four at the Baylor 11 yard line just like in the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State last week.

“When you’re fourth and three, fourth and four, and you’re not running the football exceptionally well. We wanted to keep the game as close as we could to give us a chance in the fourth quarter,” Klieman said.

The K-State offense woke up late in the game with a nine-play, 67-yard touchdown drive with six minutes remaining, but missed the two-point conversion to leave the score at 24-12.

Although the Wildcats struggled to score, junior quarterback Skylar Thompson went 22-34 for a career-high 218 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

On a positive note for K-State, they have another bye week to fix the inconsistencies on the field, but will have a long stretch ahead for the remainder of the season.

K-State faces TCU at home on Sept. 19. The game time and TV station will be announced Monday.