WACO (AP) – Let everybody else be surprised at what happened to second-ranked Kansas State on its way to a chance to play for its first national championship.
Nick Florence and the Baylor Bears aren’t.
Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns, Lache Seastrunk had 185 yards rushing with an 80-yard score and the Bears again upset the BCS picture with a late-season victory, beat the Wildcats 52-24 on Saturday night.
“All week we believed we were going to beat them and if we did we weren’t going to be surprised when it happened,” said Florence, Baylor’s successor to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
Florence completed 20 of 32 passes for 238 yards, and ran nine times for 47 yards. Both of his passing touchdowns came in the first half when the Bears (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) jumped out to a 28-7 lead.
“I don’t know if I would call it getting smacked in the mouth, but they took it to us,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “I really thought we prepared well, but as we found out, we didn’t. I don’t think we handled the situation as well as we should have been able to.”
Collin Klein and the Wildcats (10-1, 7-1) can still get to a BCS game as the Big 12 champions. Getting to the BCS championship game is all but lost.
“Anger, frustration, obviously disappointment,” Wildcats tight end Travis Tannahill described his feelings. “Confused. We just don’t know what went wrong. We had a good week of practice. We felt prepared, everything we’ve done the last 10 games.”
It was on the same weekend last November, on another Saturday night in Waco, when Griffin and Baylor upset then fifth-ranked Oklahoma after two teams ahead of the Sooners had already lost that day.
The Bears hadn’t beaten an opponent ranked so high since a 13-7 win over No. 2 Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day 1957. They tied No. 1 Texas during the 1941 season.
Students and fans dressed in gold swarmed the field to celebrate when Saturday night’s game ended for a Baylor team that still needs another win to be bowl eligible for the third season in a row.
“We are becoming a better football team. We felt good about the way we progressed,” coach Art Briles said. “We are playing the best football of the season right now. We still have some road blocks ahead of us and the job’s not finished yet.”
The Bears play Texas Tech at Cowboys Stadium next weekend, and finish the season at home against Oklahoma State.
A week after the Wildcats took over the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings following defending national champion Alabama’s loss, it now looks like it’s going to somebody else’s turn at the top.
Probably Notre Dame, which could get its championship shot after Kansas State and No. 1 Oregon both lost. And the Crimson Tide suddenly is back in the title picture, along with a couple of other SEC teams.
Also, Klein may be a Heisman Trophy front-runner no more after throwing three interceptions and getting sacked twice while being pressured and harassed all night. He threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but had only 39 yards on 17 carries with a score.
On first-and-goal from the 6 in the fourth quarter, Klein had four straight carries and couldn’t score — twice trying from the 1.
Kansas State has plenty of time for this loss to simmer. The Wildcats have Thanksgiving week off before playing their regular season finale Dec. 1 at home against No. 18 Texas.
If the Wildcats beat Texas, they will be guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 title and get the league’s automatic BCS spot.
Klein, who finished 27 of 50 passing, had thrown only three interceptions the first 10 games.
After Martin’s 2-yard TD put Baylor up 28-7 with 2:54 left in the first half, Kansas State scored 10 consecutive points before the break — and then got the ball to start the second half, only to have Klein throw his second interception.
Martin finished with 113 yards rushing.
There was a classic 13-yard run by Klein to start the second half, then two deep incompletions before he was picked off by Sam Holl, who returned it to the Kansas State 38. Four plays later, after a Florence 13-yard keeper, Martin scored on a 4-yard run to make it 35-17.
“We gained a little bit of momentum and we just couldn’t sustain anything consistently over time,” Klein said. “We definitely knew we were going to have to play well to win. They just played better than we did.”
The Wildcats then got a 50-yard kickoff return from Tramaine Thompson, but Klein had three consecutive incompletions leading to a punt that pinned Baylor at its 1.
On the first play after Klein was picked off by Joe Williams in the end zone late in the third quarter, Seastrunk took a handoff and raced 80 yards for the score.
That made it 52-24 and all that was left for Baylor to do was celebrate.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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