WACO, Texas - Kansas State decided to go with a hurry-up offense Saturday night in Waco in its Big 12 Conference opener against Baylor, but all that did was get the Wildcats nowhere in a hurry. The Bears improved to 2-4 with a 17-3 win over K-State (3-2) in front of 30,752 fans in attendance at Floyd Casey Stadium behind quarterback Shawn Bell, who threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. The win was Baylor's first in school history against the Wildcats.
Baylor drew first blood with less than three minutes left to play in the first quarter when Shawn Bell hooked up with wide receiver Trent Shelton for a 75-yard touchdown pass, the longest scoring toss of Bell's career. The Bears' first touchdown drive was set up by a Thomas Clayton fumble at the BU 10-yard line after K-State had put together a solid offensive possession. Just five plays after the turnover Shelton beat K-State cornerback Justin McKinney down the left sideline to give his team a 7-0 lead it would never relinquish.
For the second time in the first half K-State took over in great field position after Baylor lost a muffed a punt for the second time - this time the Baylor 41-yard line - and the Wildcats were able to take advantage to the tune of a 41-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal to draw within 7-3. A 15-yard completion to Jordy Nelson helped move the Wildcats into Snodgrass' range before the drive stalled out on another unsuccessful third-down conversion attempt, which made K-State 1-of-10 on third down tries to that point.
K-State finished just 3-of-19 on third down conversions for the game.
K-State started the second half with true freshman Josh Freeman at quarterback in place of an ineffective Dylan Meier, but the Wildcats went three-and-out. A 47-yard punt return by Baylor's Queito Teasley set the Bears up at K-State's 33-yard line, and Baylor cashed in on its good field position with Bell's second touchdown toss of the game. On a 2nd-and-12 from the 12-yard line Bell hooked up with Dominique Zeigler, who made a fantastic catch about 5 yards deep into the end zone, to make it 14-3 with 10:13 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats appeared poised to get back into the contest when Freeman hit Yamon Figurs streaking down the left sideline for what ended up being a 68-yard gain, but Figurs was stripped from behind inside the 10-yard line. The Bears recovered the fumble and returned it out to the 16-yard line, and a personal foul on the Wildcats at the end of the play set Baylor up at its own 31.
The Bears offense couldn't capitalize on the turnover, but it didn't take long to get the ball back. Sophomore free safety Dwain Crawford intercepted Freeman to give Baylor possession at the Wildcats' 21-yard line. K-State's defense kept Baylor out of the end zone, but a 22-yard Ryan Havens field goal made it 17-3 with just more than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
K-State could never get any closer behind Freeman in the second half, who finished 11-of-33 for 196 yards with three interceptions. K-State head coach Ron Prince named Freeman the starter for the, "foreseeable future," after the contest.
The Wildcats will try to avoid falling to .500 and suffering their third straight loss when Oklahoma State visits Manhattan next Saturday.