MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Kansas State scored touchdowns on defense and special teams, shut down high-flying Texas Tech in the second half and held on for a 44-38 victory over the Red Raiders on Saturday night.
Jesse Ertz scored on the ground and through the air, Charles Jones ran for 128 yards and another touchdown, and Matt McCrane hit three field goals as the Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) beat the Red Raiders (3-2, 1-1) for the fifth time in their last six meetings.
Patrick Mahomes, despite an ailing shoulder, still threw for 504 yards and two touchdowns while running for three more scores. But the Red Raiders’ junior quarterback also threw a pick that was returned for seven and failed to convert three fourth downs in the second half.
The Wildcats’ Byron Pringle returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score with 1:31 remaining in the half, giving Kansas State a 31-28 advantage.
Two questionable decisions by Texas Tech to go for it on fourth down proved to be pivotal.
The first came inside the Kansas State 5 on the first possession of the second half, when a field goal would have tied the game. The second came later in the third quarter, when a sack gave the Wildcats the ball at the Texas Tech 47 – and set them up for a touchdown that made it 38-31.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders can score with anybody, but they also can allow anybody to score with them. Kansas State barely sniffed the end zone in a 17-16 loss to West Virginia last week, but managed to go toe-to-toe with the high-powered Red Raiders most of the night.
Kansas State: The Wildcats’ entered the game fourth nationally in total defense, and certainly looked like it in the second half. They gave up 363 yards and 28 points in the first half, but just 229 yards over the final 30 minutes.
Texas Tech: West Virginia visits Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday.
Kansas State: No. 20 Oklahoma awaits the Wildcats on Saturday.