Texas Tech found a number of ways to let No. 17 Kansas State leave Jones AT&T Stadium with only its second victory in Lubbock.
Three interceptions by quarterback Seth Doege, two blocked field goals and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown provided all the juice the Wildcats needed in a 41-34 victory against the Red Raiders, who have lost two in a row to ranked teams by an average of six points after starting 4-0.
“It’s frustrating as hell,” running back Aaron Crawford said. “Excuse my French, but it’s frustrating.”
Despite all the disastrous plays, Tech still had a chance to at least tie the game late after Tramain Swindall recovered an onside kick with 2:32 remaining in the game.
After kicking a field goal to go down a touchdown, Donnie Carona’s onside kick sailed toward K-State safety Tysyn Hartman. Alex Torres made a tremendous leap to bat the ball away and keep the play alive for Swindall to pounce on it at the Tech 47-yard line.
The Red Raiders (4-2, 1-2 in Big 12 Conference) advanced the ball six yards on the ensuing drive before a fourth down pass from Doege fell incomplete and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
“We put our defense in bad situations,” Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “We had opportunities to finish the game on that last drive and we didn’t do it. Plenty of blame to go around.”
The Red Raiders outgained the Wildcats by 241 yards and had 32 first downs to K-State’s 16. Tech led 28-20 at halftime and had held Kansas State to only 94 yards to that point.
“We led in every category and we lose by seven,” said Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, summing up the loss.
Tech took a 31-27 lead with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter but was outscored 14-3 the rest of the way.
Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) marched down the field for a go-ahead touchdown — a 2-yard run by quarterback Collin Klein — to close out the quarter.
The Red Raiders then turned the ball over on their next three possessions.
“You can’t overcome three straight turnovers,” Tuberville said. “We went back to our old ways on defense and put everything on our offense’s shoulders, and you can’t do that. This can’t be a one-sided team.”
After advancing 30 yards up the field on Tech’s first drive of the fourth quarter, K-State defensive end Meshak Williams ran around right tackle Mickey Okafor and stripped Doege of the ball, recovering it at the Tech 34-yard line.
Even after a stellar defensive stand by the Tech defense, though, Doege quickly threw an interception — his second — to Hartman.
Four plays later the Wildcats were back in the end zone with another Klein touchdown run, this time for 1 yard.
On the second play of the next series, Doege was intercepted by cornerback David Garrett.
Doege entered the game with one interception through the first five games of the season. His second interception of the season and first of the game came on the third play from scrimmage.
Doege targeted Bradley Marquez but Kansas State cornerback Nigel Malone picked off the pass and ran 24 yards for a quick touchdown, giving the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
Tech recovered with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius Douglas and a 7-yard scoring run by true freshman running back DeAndre Washington.
The 14-7 lead was short lived, though, because Tyler Lockett took the following kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
“We played horrible on special teams,” Tuberville said.
Kansas State defensive tackle Raphael Guidry blocked both of Carona’s first-half field goal attempts.
The second was returned by Malone to the Tech 46-yard line and set up the first of Klein’s three rushing touchdowns.
At halftime the Red Raiders had already amassed 387 yards on 53 plays. But Tech gained only 28 yards on the ground in the second half.
Doege finished the game with 461 passing yards — a career high — on 43 of 63 passing. Crawford ran the ball 21 times for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Like Texas A&M a week ago, Kansas State didn’t turn the ball over once. Tuberville noted there were opportunities to do so and Tech was unable to take advantage.
“We’ve got guys that have played in five or six games now and it’s time to grow up,” Tuberville said. “It’s time to grow up and do what you need to do to win games.”
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