MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Seth Doege was upstaged by Collin Klein in a matchup of Heisman Trophy contenders. And No. 15 Texas Tech went down, too.
Doege threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, but he also committed a costly fumble and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in a 55-24 loss to No. 4 Kansas State on Saturday.
The fumble was one of three turnovers for the Red Raiders. Two of the miscues helped fuel a 52-7 surge by Kansas State over a stretch of about 35 minutes.
“They do a good job of controlling the ball and don’t make a lot of mistakes,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We’d have had to play perfect to have won today, the way they played.”
Doege had jumped into Heisman contention by throwing 13 touchdown passes in wins over West Virginia and TCU the past two weeks, but the Kansas State defense made for a miserable afternoon.
The Wildcats had two sacks and four tackles for loss by halftime, both as many as the Red Raiders had allowed in any game this season. The pressure only intensified as the Wildcats put the game away with a big third-quarter surge.
“I felt like we were moving the ball well, we just needed to finish,” Doege said. “When it came down to making plays to finish, we just didn’t make them and they did.”
Klein was a big reason why the Wildcats were so productive. He was 19 of 26 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, and had 83 yards and two more scores on the ground, helping the Wildcats (5-0 Big 12) break open a 13-10 game and improve to 8-0 for the first time since 1999.
John Hubert added 64 yards and two rushing TDs, and Angelo Pease also scored for Kansas State, which came into the game trailing only Alabama and Florida in the BCS standings.
“We got some pretty short fields, which helps a lot,” Klein said. “It was just a great team effort, hanging in there when things weren’t going well early in the game.”
The Red Raiders’ second-half meltdown was similar to last year’s matchup in Lubbock, when they blew a 28-20 lead against Kansas State by turning it over three times in the fourth quarter.
“They got stronger as the game went on in terms of their offense,” Tuberville said. “We didn’t make them punt after the first quarter and that was key.”
Things started off well enough for Texas Tech.
Doege took advantage of soft coverage on the opening series of the game, completing six of his first eight passes. An encroachment penalty on third down kept the drive alive, and Doege finished it off with a 32-yard touchdown toss to Eric Ward — one of two he had in the game.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything going.
Klein was sacked to end their first series, and had a pass tipped on third down to end their second. By the end of the quarter, Kansas State had just 19 yards of offense.
The defense provided a jolt late in the quarter when Meshak Williams delivered a crushing blindside hit on Doege, popping the ball loose. Jarell Childs went the other way for what appeared to be a 74-yard TD return, but an illegal block brought the ball back to the Texas Tech 14.
Kansas State had to settle for Anthony Cantele’s 34-yard field goal.
Ryan Bustin matched it with a 37-yarder to cap the Red Raiders’ next possession, but Kansas State finally started humming. Hubert capped off its ensuing drive by winning a race to the pylon after getting stood up at the line of scrimmage to make it 10-all.
Bustin had a 50-yard field goal blocked on Texas Tech’s next series, and Kansas State’s quick-strike offense set up a 19-yarder by Cantele for the halftime lead.
It was a sign that everything was starting to go right for the Wildcats.
Four straight plays of 10-plus yards to start the second half led to a 21-yard TD toss from Klein to Tramaine Thompson. And after Ward fumbled on the Red Raiders’ first offensive play of the third quarter, Klein needed only two plays to scamper in for a 27-10 lead.
Sadale Foster’s touchdown run gave the Red Raiders a flicker of hope, but Klein added a 22-yard TD run, Hubert had a 15-yarder early in the fourth quarter, and Brown’s pick-six snuffed it out completely. Pease added his score midway through the quarter to cap the scoring binge.
“I would say they made adjustments, and maybe their adjustments were better than ours,” Texas Tech linebacker Terrance Bullitt said. “They knew what they were doing. The thing about Kansas State, they stayed persistent throughout the whole game. They were never too high, never too low.
“To be honest, they came out and they just beat us.”