Baylor rode a 17-point fourth quarter to defeat Kansas State 32-31 in Waco, Texas, on Saturday night. The game-winning 30-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker John Mayers handed K-State their fourth-straight loss.
“We did some really good things but didn’t make some winning plays at the end,” head coach Chris Klieman said.
The Deuce was loose for the first time in three games — freshman running back Deuce Vaughn had 121 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Despite being down two starting offensive linemen, the line helped the ground game open up.
“I feel like the offensive line played amazing tonight,” Vaughn said. “They opened up big gaps and even when it wasn’t there were seams to get into, and I feel like I ran the ball really well today.”
The Texas native ran for 102 yards, which was his second 100+ yard game this season.
K-State’s defense was able to put pressure on senior quarterback Charlie Brewer in the first half with six sacks. The Wildcats finished with seven sacks on the night, but Baylor threw quick passes in the second half to limit the pressure in the backfield.
The Bears got fantastic field possession at the K-State nine-yard line following an interception by freshman quarterback Will Howard on the opening drive. It took just three plays for Baylor to take a 6-0 lead with a seven-yard run by Charlie Brewer. The Wildcats responded with a 75-yard touchdown run from sophomore wide receiver Malik Knowles to put K-State on top at 7-6. It was the longest touchdown play of the season.
The rainy weather was crucial for the Bears in the first half. The botched extra point attempt provided some hope for the Wildcats after the rough opening drive. K-State recovered a muffed punt that gave them the ball. The Wildcats capitalized on the field position with an eight-yard touchdown to Vaughn. Senior placekicker Blake Lynch extended the lead to 17-6 with a 20-yard field goal the following drive.
The Bears had 16 yards of total offense with just under nine minutes left in the half until an 42-yard drive that came to a halt on a failed fourth and 14. Baylor finished the half with only 88 yards of total offense.
It was a tale of two halves for the Baylor Bears, who scored 26 points in the second half. Brewer threw for 287 yards in the second half to lead the comeback. The Bears finished with 420 yards of total offense.
“They couldn’t run or pass at all in the first half,” junior defensive end Wyatt Hubert said. “When the defensive line is very active, offenses resort to play-action passes, draws and screens, which makes the defensive line have to rush very conservatively. … In the second half, they resorted to plays like that.”
On the first drive out of the half, Mayers put the Bears on the board for the first time since the first quarter with a 28-yard field goal to conclude an eight-play 64-yard drive that was comprised of big yardage on broken plays.
Baylor found the end zone on the ensuing drive that was led by junior wide receiver RJ Sneed to put the Bears down 17-15. Sneed was responsible for 58 of the 63 yards on the drive.
Senior tight end Briley Moore gave the Wildcat offense a spark with a 49-yard reception in the first play of the fourth quarter. Will Howard gave K-State a 24-15 lead with a 24-yard scamper, which was his third of the season.
The Bears marched down the field in three minutes to again trail by two at 24-22 with an eight-yard touchdown catch by senior running back Trestan Ebner.
Vaughn record his second touchdown of the night with a 38-yard touchdown run to once again put the Wildcats up by two possessions at 31-22.
The Bears pulled within two with a touchdown by Brewer to keep Baylor in reach at 31-29 with under five minutes remaining in the game.
“We have to find a way to get a first down with four minutes left, and we have to find a way to get a stop,” Klieman said.
After a disappointing three and out, K-State gave the red hot Baylor offense the ball with just over two minutes remaining and three timeouts. The Wildcats finished with 344 yards of total offense.
Mayers sealed the game for the Bears with a 30-yard game-winning field goal to defeat the Wildcats 32-31. It was the third win in a row for the Bears in the series and the second that was decided by a game-winning field goal in that span.
The Wildcats will finish out the season at home against Texas. Kickoff will be announced at the start of the week.