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Postgame Report: K-State vs. Baylor

If only...

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Final - 10.12.2013 1 2 3 4 Total
Baylor Bears 7 14 0 14 35
Kansas St. Wildcats 0 10 15 0 25

If only...

We can't help it. We're smart. We know it doesn't matter. But it's there.

If only the 'Cats had found a way to get points on that first drive...

With Jake Waters at the helm, K-State drove the ball 60 yards to the Baylor nine yard line and fell one yard short of converting on fourth down. Any points at all would have been huge later in the game.

If only better decisions had been made with points after touchdowns in the third quarter...

The Wildcats left four points off the board by electing to go for two and failing after both of their touchdowns in the third frame. Four points that might have changed everything.

If only we hadn't wasted all three second half timeouts...

Clock management plagued K-State all day and they somehow managed to burn the games' last timeout with with just under twenty-two minutes still left on the game clock.

If only Jack Cantele hadn't missed that last field goal...

With the 'Cats trailing by three early in the final quarter, Cantele missed a 41 yarder wide left.

If only Daniel Sams hadn't thrown that interception...

Still trailing by three with just over four minutes left to play, K-State had the ball until Daniel Sams threw it right into the hands of Baylor's Ahmad Dixon on the second play of the drive. If only...

But let's remember. These thoughts wouldn't even be in our heads if not for the great play of the Wildcats defense. They gave up some big pass plays, but as Morse said in post-game, that's going to happen against Baylor. They held the unstoppable Lache Seastrunk under the century mark for the first time this season and ended his streak that started with the death of the 'Cats national championship hopes last season. In fact, this game was the first time Seastrunk has been held to under five yards a carry since becoming a feature back in the Bears offense against KU last season.

The entire Baylor team didn't even break 100 yards rushing until Glasco Martin busted through for 21 yards and the nail in the coffin score following the Dixon interception. The run was also the longest one the defense allowed all day. Adjusted for sack yardage, Baylor still only averaged three and a half yards per carry. They came into the game averaging 7.2 yards. And yes, that's also adjusted for sack yardage.

Bryce Petty completed 12 passes in the game, his fewest all year. His 21 attempts were the second lowest of the season. Even if you add the two pass plays where he was sacked, it's still the second lowest. That stat is even more significant when you consider that this is the first time all year Petty has seen the field in the fourth quarter and it's also the first game in which the Bears have trailed on the scoreboard. He completed only 57 percent of his passes after completing 73 percent before this game. Although I consider QBR to be a stupid stat, Petty finished with a 69.0 QBR against the Wildcats. His lowest before traveling to Manhattan was 93.1 in the first game of the year. It's also worth mentioning that in the last three weeks, his QBR has been 99.7, 98.5 and 97.1.

Tevin Reese is fast. He finished the game with five catches for 184 yards, all but 37 of which came on his two breakaway touchdown catches. Antwan Goodley added four catches for 129 yards. His 72 yard TD accounted for all but 57 of those.

Ryan Mueller was a beast all game. He sacked Bryce Petty twice, stripping him of the ball once. He also deflected Petty's first pass of the game, making it his third straight game with a pass deflection. After only registering one tackle in Stillwater last week, he had seven Saturday — his largest total since racking up eight against UL Lafayette in week two. That game was also the scene of his last sack before Baylor.

All in all, Baylor came into the game averaging a ridiculous 781.5 yards on around 80 plays per game and K-State held them to 446 yards on 58 plays.

The Wildcats offense appeared a little more consistent than it has all season.  They played QB roulette yet again with Sams and Waters, but still managed to gash the Bears for 445 yards which — if you're paying attention — was only one yard short of the Bears total. Keep in mind that Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson didn't play a single snap. That of course means that most of those yards came on the ground with the 'Cats rushing for 340 yards on 56 attempts. Daniel Sams finished with 199 yards and all three Wildcat touchdowns. John Hubert added 90 yards on 15 touches and — adjusted for sack yardage— Jake Waters finished with 56 yards on eight attempts. Waters will never be as effective as Sams on designed runs, but he's very effective when he's given room to pull the ball down and scramble.

The special teams also did great outside of Cantele's missed field goal as Stephen Johnson averaged more than 30 yards on two kick returns and Weston Hiebert had a huge play on a blocked punt.

Even with all this, it was still a loss. There is no trophy for moral victories. In each of their losses this season, K-State has appeared to be only a few metaphorical steps away from a win. If only some things had gone differently. If only a few plays in each of those games could be erased. If only I could smile while writing these posts. If only.

If only...