K-State’s defense held Texas Tech under 600 yards for the first time all season, held them under 50 points for the first time all season, and kept the Red Raiders out of the end zone for an entire quarter for the first time all season. And in the end, it was Charmeachealle Moore hitting Pat Mahomes on his final pass attempt of the night which salvaged a 44-38 Wildcat Victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Continuing the diary from the first half:
K-State seven: Three-and-out. Welp.
Tech seven: First pass batted straight up, and Charmeachealle Moore almost picked it off. Next play, Mahomes went deep for Devin Lauderdale, and Reed broke it up after the catch. But Tech once again converted on third down against a Wildcat blitz. A few plays later, Reggie Walker batted down a pass to force another third down; while in the hands of seemingly a dozen blitzing Wildcats, Mahomes converted. Three plays later, Mahomes hit Dylan Cantrell, but Cantrell had pushed off Duke Shelley and a flag flew. Short of the first down after a completion to Cameron Batson, Tech went for it; Mahomes slipped, threw up a prayer, and Cantrell appeared to have caught it, but it was then ruled incomplete when the ball came loose as Cantrell hit the ground. The Wildcats took over on downs.
K-State eight: Tech bit on a great fake, and Ertz barreled out of the shadow of his own goal posts for two consecutive first-down runs. After a couple of incompletions, Ertz ran for miles, but a holding call wiped it out. Ertz then overthrew Zuber, and K-State had to punt again.
Tech eight: Not a great punt, but great coverage. Tech again marched into K-State territory, but the Wildcats got a third-down stop and forced a 34-yard field goal attempt. Clayton Hatfield split the uprights; 31-31.
K-State nine: A Warmack run, a bad fake by Ertz, and a drop by Zuber equalled a three-and-out. And for the first time all game, K-State's kick coverage blew a chance to make a great play.
Tech nine: Demarcus Felton broke free for a huge gain, part of which was retracted due to a hold on Cantrell. A completion to Batson right at the sticks saved the drive for Tech after a couple of good defensive plays. A couple of plays later, Mahomes went for it all but Duke Shelley was all over Reginald Davis, legally; Shelley also had Cantrell under control the next play, forcing fourth and six. And Reggie Walker made Kliff Kingsbury pay for going for it, sacking Mahomes for a massive flip of field position. The Cats took over at midfield.
K-State ten: Charles Jones took over. Runs of 6, 4, and 12 got the Cats to the 25, but he got stuffed for a loss to end the third quarter -- the first quarter all season in which Texas Tech failed to score a touchdown. On the first play of the fourth, Ertz went for it all, and Heath caught it... out of bounds. He went back to Heath on third down, and picked up the first, but there was a flag. Fortunately, it was on Tech. Jones took it the rest of the way, giving the Wildcats a touchdown lead once again.
Tech ten: On third down, Elijah Lee absolutely brutalized Demarcus Felton, and Kingsbury opted to punt. And Tech had to call a timeout to cope with it, leaving Tech with only one for the final 12:44. Of course, K-State couldn't let an entire game go by without a stupid timeout, so they called one immediately afterward because they had too many men on the field. Finally, the punt actually happened, and Heath let it roll.
K-State eleven: Ertz to Heath for 10. Jones for 6 and 3. And then, boom. K-State had to burn its final timeout. Ertz did pick up the first down afterward, however. After getting stuffed for no gain, Jones broke through the line and rambled for 31 yards. Ertz hit Zuber for 16 to set up first and goal. A couple of tries for Warmack left third down at the three, and then a false start derailed what looked like a well-called quarterback run. Incomplete to Zuber after a check at the line, and McCrane came on to try a 25-yarder. It was good, and K-State had its biggest lead of the night.
Tech eleven: After a couple of fruitless plays, Mahomes was forced to slide a yard short of the sticks, and then had to call their final timeout to set up the third-and-two play. It didn't work. Dante Barnett destroyed Justin Stockton on a pitch, and on fourth-and-10 Mahomes threw the ball absolutely nowhere, giving K-State the ball on downs a foot outside the red zone.
K-State twelve: The Cats did nothing, just wasting time with Tech out of timeouts. McCrane came on, deliberately took a delay penalty, and then slotted a 42-yarder, his first 40-plus kick of the season, to give the Cats a 13-point lead with two minutes to go.
Tech twelve: The Wildcat defense was all over Mahomes, and only a pass interference penalty on Reed, on third down and long no less, kept their final drive alive. It ended with a Mahomes touchdown pass to Batson, and Tech was, technically, still breathing.
Tech thirteen: Yes, Tech, as they recovered the onside kick. But, as mentioned, Moore drilled Mahomes just as he was winding up for the hail mary with five seconds to play, and that was that.
Ertz was... well. He was 10/20 for only 104 yards in the air against a really awful defense. He did run 83 yards on 10 carries, so there’s that. Jones had 128 yards on the night, and both had a touchdown. And that was really all the offensive production: 335 yards resulted in only 30 points for the offense.
Mahomes threw for a completely unacceptable 504 yards, and Cameron Batson added a 25-yard completion for a total of 529. But Tech only ran for 63 yards, 66 of which were courtesy of Felton, and yes you read that right.
So, what did we learn?
Absolutely nothing we didn't already know.
Next week, it's off to Norman, where K-State hasn't lost this decade and where the home team looks pretty awful this year. Oklahoma will be the critical test of the season.