MANHATTAN, Kan. – Connor Martin’s 29-yard field goal with 8 seconds left helped lift Baylor to a 37-34 victory at McLane Stadium on Saturday, spoiling a career-day by Kansas State junior running back Alex Barnes, who rushed for 250 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns.
Barnes became just the fifth Wildcat running back to rush for 250 yards in a game and the first since Daniel Thomas had 269 yards against North Texas on November 27, 2010. It was the most rushing yards by a Wildcat in a conference game since Darren Sproles totaled 273 against Missouri on November 22, 2003. Overall, it was the fifth-most rushing yards by a back in school history behind Sproles (292 vs. Louisiana in 2004 and 273 vs. Missouri in 2003), Thomas (269 vs. North Texas in 2010) and Mike Lawrence (252 vs. Iowa State in 1996).
K-State (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) registered a season-high 468 yards on offense, including 319 rushing yards, which was the most rushing yards since the Wildcats tallied 344 yards against UCLA in the 2017 Cactus Bowl.
Baylor (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) had 557 yards of total offense, including 296 yards through the air, as three different Baylor receivers caught receiving touchdowns. The K-State defense forced two takeaways in the game, including interceptions from senior defensive backs Duke Shelley and Kendall Adams.
HOW IT HAPPENED
For the first time this season, K-State put points on the board in its opening drive, as running back Alex Barnes burst through the Baylor defense and sprinted down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown rush, marking his second of the season as the Wildcats took the lead at 7-3 with 9:04 remaining.
Leading 7-3 through the first quarter, the Bears responded in the second by connecting on their second field goal of the game, before adding a 3-yard touchdown from quarterback Charlie Brewer to make the score 12-7 with 9:47 remaining in the half.
The Wildcats responded after an interception by senior defensive back Duke Shelley, as Barnes found another gap through the Baylor defense, breaking through for a 34-yard rushing touchdown to bring the score to 14-12 with 5:50 remaining in the half.
Just before the half with the Bears threatening, senior defensive back Kendall Adams intercepted Trestan Ebner on a half back pass in the end zone to hold the Bears out of scoring territory. The explosive half from Barnes and two defensive takeaways gave the Wildcats the lead at the half, 14-12.
In the second half, Baylor took over on possession after a fumble on the K-State kick return, leading to a 1-yard touchdown rush from wide receiver Jalen Hurd. The two-point conversion gave Baylor the lead, 20-14 with 14:48 left in the third quarter.
Barnes kept the momentum on the ground into the fourth quarter, marking his third touchdown rush of 30 or more yards by breaking through the Baylor defense for his third rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 48 yards out. After a missed extra point, the score was tied 20-20 at 14:51 left in the game.
On the next Wildcat possession, K-State kept the ball on the ground as sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson found a crease up the middle and split the Baylor defenders for a career-long 52-yard touchdown rush to bring the score to 27-20 with 10:38 left in the game. Thompson’s touchdown marked the fourth touchdown on the ground for the Wildcats.
Baylor responded with a touchdown of its own on the subsequent possession, going through the air from Brewer to junior wide receiver Denzel Mims for a 21-yard strike to tie the score at 27-27 with 8:32 left on the clock. After an interception by Thompson, the Bears would go on to strike again to take over the lead, 34-27 with 6:41 remaining.
Despite trailing, the Wildcats continued the scoring with a five play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to senior running back Dalvin Warmack. The touchdown marked the first of the season for Warmack and brought the score to 34-apiece with 4:26 remaining.
On the game-winning drive, Baylor marched down the field on a 12-play, 76-yard drive, which led to a 29-yard field goal from kicker Connor Martin, which was the game winner with 8 seconds remaining in the game.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Alex Barnes – The Wildcat junior rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday, marking the fifth-most rushing yards in a game in K-State history, and the most rushing yards since Daniel Thomas rushed for 269 yards against North Texas in 2010. Barnes’ 250-yards were the most of his career, topping his previous career high of 129 yards set against Baylor in 2016.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Duke Shelley – Forced Baylor into their first turnover of the game in the second quarter, intercepting Brewer by diving in front of the receiver. The interception marked Shelley’s first of the season and sixth of his career.
Kendall Adams – Secured an interception late in the first half on a half back pass to the end zone, holding Baylor to a red zone stop. The interception is Adams’ first of the season and first since he recorded an interception against Oklahoma State in 2017.
STAT OF THE GAME
250 – The 250 yards on the ground from Barnes was the fifth-most yards rushing in a game in K-State history, and the most since 2013 when John Hubert rushed for 220 yards against Kansas.