WACO, Texas -- For 10 games, the Kansas State Wildcats appeared to be on a collision course with the national championship game. Then they collided with the Baylor Bears.
Baylor used its high-powered offense and a surprising defense to dismantle the Wildcats on Saturday night at Floyd Casey Stadium, 52-24, and knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten.
K-State's usual mistake-free style was replaced by a team that committed costly penalties, seven of them, as quarterback Collin Klein threw as many interceptions in this game, three, as he had thrown the first 10 games of the season combined.
Baylor, meanwhile, operated at will against an injury-riddled K-State defense. The Bears amassed 580 yards of offense as the Baylor defense, which came into the game ranked dead last in the Football Bowl Subdivision, attacked Klein and the K-State offense with zeal.
"They took the fight to us and we weren't well enough prepared for it," K-State coach Bill Snyder said, "We struggled on both sides of the ball and I think we were just not prepared, and I take full control of that."
K-State, which came into the game ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, is now 10-1 and 7-1 in Big 12 play, while Baylor is 5-5 and 2-5 in the Big 12.
The loss puts the Wildcats in a position of possibly needing to win a game to capture the Big 12 championship in two weeks when it plays host to Texas on Dec. 1 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. K-State is currently one half game ahead of Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings, but both teams have one loss. Oklahoma still must play both Oklahoma State and TCU. Oklahoma State and Texas have two losses each. K-State holds the tiebreaker with both Oklahoma schools due to beating both teams.
"We are going to be tremendously disappointed, and the sooner the better that we turn that into anger, and then it will be time to put this behind us," Snyder said. "We still have some opportunities to do some special things."
Klein completed 27 of 50 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw three crippling interceptions as the Wildcats played without receiver Curry Sexton, who was injured in last week versus TCU, and with sophomore receiver Tyler Lockett gimpy with a high ankle sprain.
The real story was the Baylor defense playing its best game of the season, as it limited K-State to 362 yards of offense after surrendering an average of 519 per game so far this season.
"They just executed really well," Klein said. "We knew they were a very good ball club coming in. … It's why you play the games. We knew they were a better ball club than they had showed on paper. We just didn't get it done."
Baylor scored on its first possession of the game then built a 28-7 lead in the first half, and never looked back.
"They jumped on us quickly and we played from behind all night," senior tight end Travis Tannahill said.
K-State climbed back into the game with 10 points to end the first half trailing 28-17, and then started the second half with possession of the ball, but then the Wildcats misfired on that possession and Baylor scored another touchdown.
Klein snuck in from a yard out with 12:25 remaining to pull K-State within 11 again at 35-24, but quarterback Nick Florence and the Baylor offense scored the final 17 points of the game as the K-State offense floundered.
Florence completed 20 of 32 passes for 238 yards, but Baylor decimated the K-State defense with its running game, piling up a whopping 342 yards on 49 carries.
"It was the big guys up front," said Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk, who ran for 185 yards on 19 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. "They were amazing all game. ... They were the only reason I was able to do so well."