ANALYSIS: K-State falters during fourth quarter shootout against Baylor

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Nov 28, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Wyatt Hubert (56) and defensive end Bronson Massie (90) celebrates during the first quarter against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State fell apart in the second half of their 32-31 loss to Baylor in Waco, Texas, Saturday night. It was the second time this year K-State had lost by just one point and the Wildcats’ fourth loss in a row.

“It’s a game that we should have won,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “We did some really good things but didn’t make some winning plays at the end.”

At halftime, K-State was up 17-6 and hadn’t allowed Baylor to score since the first drive of the game. The defense only allowed 88 yards and had sacked Baylor senior quarterback Charlie Brewer six times.

“They couldn’t run the ball and they couldn’t pass the ball in the first half,” junior defensive end Wyatt Hubert said. “Our defensive line was really active up front and making a lot of plays.”

A disastrous third quarter in which Baylor outgunned the Wildcats 152-27 and scored nine points spilled into a shootout in the fourth. K-State managed to hold onto the lead until the last second when Baylor scored a game winning field goal.

Brewer, who had found himself on the ground often earlier in the game, finished the game on a 15-15 tear that included a touchdown to get within two points and a series of long gains that put the Bears in position for a game-winning field goal.

“That’s really the tale of the fourth quarter: Charlie Brewer made plays,” Klieman said.

Instead of being corralled and sacked, Brewer found his way out of pressure. He extended plays with his legs and managed to gain yards on foot or find an open receiver.

“When the defensive line is very active offenses resort to play action passes, draws and screens, which in return makes the defensive line have to rush very conservative because we don’t want to open up gaps,” Hubert said. “In the second half, they started resorting to plays like that.”

K-State also struggled to bring down Baylor running backs and receivers in space, leading to big gains.

“We gotta come up and make tackles,” Klieman said. “We gotta tackle better on defense. I don’t know if we got tired or not, but we have to tackle better.”

For its part in that fourth quarter, the offense that looked mostly stagnant for weeks came alive. A 49-yard pass from freshman quarterback Will Howard to senior tight end Briley Moore helped spark a 2-play, 73-yard touchdown drive.

When they got the ball with 4 minutes left and a chance to run out the clock or at least extend their lead, K-State faltered. Two rushes of two yards and a dropped pass led to a punt, the Wildcats only burned one minute and 44 seconds off the clock.

“We have to find a way to get a first down with four minutes left on offense and we have to find a way to get a stop,” Klieman said.

The Wildcats have one more chance to right the ship. A Senior Day date with Texas in Manhattan on Saturday, Dec. 5.

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Hi! I'm Nathan Enserro, a graduate student from Olathe, Kansas, working on a Masters in Mass Communication. I graduated in spring 2020 with a Bachelor's of Science in strategic communications from K-State. This is my fourth year covering K-State sports for the Collegian.