AMES, Iowa (AP) – Jesse Ertz rushed for a career-high 106 yards on just nine carries and Kansas State held off host Iowa State 31-26 on Saturday for its third win in four games.
Ertz added 151 yards passing with a TD for the Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 Big 12), who beat the struggling Cyclones (1-7, 0-5) for the ninth year in a row.
Iowa State pulled to within 17-10 early in the third quarter, but K-State answered with two long scoring drives that put it ahead by 21.
Deshaunte Jones had a 5-yard TD catch with 51 seconds left for Iowa State. But the Cyclones failed to execute the ensuing onside kick, touching the ball before it went 10 yards.
Alex Barnes, Winston Dimel and Justin Silmon all had short rushing TDs for the Wildcats, who ran for 247 yards.
Backup Jacob Park had 301 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Cyclones. But he missed David Montgomery on a wide-open pass on fourth-and-1 at the K-State 1 with seven minutes left.
Kansas State: The Wildcats are now just a win shy of bowl eligibility. With a home date against woeful Kansas looming, that seems imminent. What kind of bowl Kansas State gets invited to remains up in the air, with tough games against Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU remaining.
Iowa State: The Cyclones had some promising moments on offense in the second half, outgaining K-State 493-398. But Kansas State converted eight of 12 third downs and scored on all five of its trips to the red zone. The Cyclones have let up at least 27 points in all five of their league games.
Kansas State hosts Oklahoma State on Nov. 5. The Cowboys toppled previously-unbeaten West Virginia on Saturday.
Iowa State has Oklahoma coming in on Thursday. The Cyclones haven’t beaten the Sooners in Ames since 1963.