Neither rain nor a hostile homecoming crowd could derail the unbeaten Kansas State express. Now the Wildcats head into their showdown next week with No. 14 Nebraska.
Michael Bishop threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score and David Allen tied an NCAA season record with his fourth punt-return touchdown Saturday to carry No. 4 Kansas State to a 49-6 victory over Baylor.
The Wildcats (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) won their 17th consecutive game and gave coach Bill Snyder his 75th victory at Kansas State. No Wildcats team had ever won its first nine games although Kansas State did win 13 in a row from 1909 to 1910.
"Mike played pretty well," Snyder said. "When you get into this kind of weather, tough quarterbacks come to the front. He managed the game well."
Still, Snyder was hardly overjoyed.
"I'm not pleased with the way we played after the first two touchdowns," Snyder said. "We really struggled. We gave up some big plays and didn't play (on defense) like we are capable of playing."
Kansas State, a 30-point favorite, took advantage of two Baylor miscues to take a 21-0 halftime lead over the Bears (2-7, 1-5) on a rainy homecoming before 38,217 soaked fans.
The Wildcats defense, ranked No. 1 in the nation in five categories, struck quickly as linebacker Travis Litton forced quarterback Jermaine Alfred to fumble. Tackle Damion McIntosh returned the ball three yards to the Baylor 11. Two plays later Eric Hickson scored on a 7-yard run just 1:59 into the game.
Linebacker Mark Simoneau intercepted Alfred's pass at the Kansas State 48 and three plays later Bishop whipped a 37-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Locktt as the Wildcats led 14-0 with only 3:16 gone.
Kansas State's third touchdown came on a sustained 84-yard march highlighted by a 36-yard pass from Bishop to fullback Brian Goolsby to the Baylor 6. After an incomplete pass, Bishop hit Darnell McDonald for the touchdown.
| Baylor QB Jermaine Alfred coughs up the ball after a hit by Kansas State's Travis Litton. (AP) |
Goolsby scored on a 24-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap a 67-yard drive by the Wildcats. Bishop, 20-1 as at starter at Kansas State and 44-1 overall including two years at Blinn Junior College, also ran a yard for a touchdown.
Bishop had 262 yards passing but was held to no yards rushing. Allen had no comment after the game as has become his custom.
Allen's 77-yard punt return for a touchdown came after Baylor's Martin Dossett bumped into him before he could field the ball. Dossett was flagged but while the Baylor team stood around Dossett picked up the ball and ran for the score with 5:28 left. It tied a one-season mark held by five others.
Kansas State, with the Baylor crowd booing, scored on the last play of the game on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Adam Helm.
Snyder said he told Baylor coach Dave Roberts after the game he tried to call timeout.
"It was a bad choice," Snyder said.
Roberts said, "Bill told me he wished it hadn't happened."
"Kansas State is an excellent team but heck we even made them punt today," Roberts said.
Baylor had 273 yards total offense. The Wildcats are tops in the nation allowing an average of only 213.
Kansas State safety Jarrod Cooper said, "Our effort today ranks last in the country, in the first half anyway. We did OK in the second half."
Wildcats offensive players weren't happy, either.
"This is a wakeup call for us," Hickson said.
The biggest shocker of the day for the Wildcats was a missed 25-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter by Martin Gramatica, the 1997 Lou Groza award winner who has connected on 15-of-20 attempts this season. It was the shortest miss of the senior's career.
Baylor averted a shutout when Matt Bryant kicked a 26-yard field goal after a 42-yard run by quarterback Odell James in the third period. Bryant also connected on 45-yarder in the fourth quarter.
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