After so many easy victories, No. 6 Kansas State got what it probably needed most the week before Nebraska a big scare.
For worried players and white-knuckled fans, Saturday's 20-14 victory over Colorado brought back haunting memories of last year's double-overtime 36-33 loss to Texas A&M, when K-State wasted a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Big 12 title game and lost a shot at the national championship.
"It was starting to get pretty scary," said defensive back Lamar Chapman, whose second interception set up what turned out to be the game-winning field goal for the Wildcats (9-0 overall, 6-0 Big 12).
After a Kansas State punt, Moschetti hit Green on the left sideline and the 6-foot-2 junior broke several tackles during a 70-yard scoring play.
All of a sudden, it was 20-14 with 4:12 left.
And, in another eerie reminder of that crushing loss to Texas A&M, the crowd had been cheering just a few minutes earlier at the news of Minnesota's upset of No. 2 Penn State.
In the Big 12 title game, Texas A&M's rally had coincided almost exactly with the announcement that UCLA had lost to Miami, leaving the Wildcats a clear path to the national championship game had they beaten the Aggies.
"You're 20 years old now. You ought to be able to handle that stuff," said coach Bill Snyder, clearly unhappy with the play of his offense.
Finally, on fourth-and-6 from their 38, the Colorado comeback ended when Moschetti's pass fell incomplete with 1:36 to go
"We needed a game like this when we hold onto a lead in the last minutes," Beisel said. "Hopefully, we can build on that going to Nebraska.
Colorado (5-4, 4-2) had won three of its last four and could have won the Big 12 North title in coach Gary Barnett's first year by winning this game and following with victories over Baylor and Nebraska.
"I thought our defense was wonderful," Barnett said. "What we said couldn't happen happened. We turned the ball over. You can't do that and win. Their defense was pretty dominant."
Snyder, who rarely ladles out praise, admitted that except for the two long scoring plays to Green, his defense had played as well as it had all year.
Moschetti, who threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 38-24 victory over Oklahoma, had hit only 7-of-17 for 44 yards and three interceptions before freshman Zac Colvin replaced him late in the third quarter.
After returning with about 11 minutes left in the game, Moschetti wound up 11-of-25 for 187 yards, 134 coming on the two late scoring plays to Green.
"We had a game plan for the first half and the second half," Green said. "K-State was not as potent as they used to be. But they played very well today."
Kansas State's struggling offense had only one first down when Quincy Morgan got 10 yards behind cornerback Damen Wheeler and teamed with Jonathan Beasley on a 68-yard touchdown pass play on third-and-11 with 1:53 left in the first quarter.
After Moschetti was sacked for a 9-yard loss in the final minutes of the first half, Adrian Beard blew in and blocked Nick Pietsch's punt. Jon McGraw picked up the ball and returned it 10 yards to the 12.
Beasley went nine yards on a quarterback draw and Joe Hall bulled into the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 37 seconds left in the half.
Chapman intercepted Moschetti's pass midway through the third quarter and ran 21 yards until Moschetti made a touchdown-saving tackle on the 30.
"I should have scored," Chapman said. "I thought he was going to come down on me high but he hit me low."
Adam Helm replaced Beasley at quarterback and guided the Wildcats to a first down at the 8. Four plays later, Rheem came in to kick a 20-yarder, setting the Kansas State record with his 14th straight successful kick.
Rheem made it 20-0 with 4:48 left in the third with a 42-yarder.
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