MANHATTAN, KS (KWTX) Zach Smith passed for 291 yards and a touchdown, but costly mistakes and red zone inefficiency led to the Baylor Bears' 33-20 loss to the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday afternoon.
Kansas State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) shellshocked Baylor (0-5, 0-2 Big 12) on the Wildcats' first drive, using a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jesse Ertz to Isaiah Zuber to cap off a 4-play, 75-yard drive just 1:43 into the game.
Baylor's following possession turned into the short-lived longest drive of the season. Despite holding onto the ball for 7:11, Baylor could only get a 38-yard field goal from Connor Martin.
The Bears struggled to move the football for the rest of the first half. Two drives ended in punts, and another started at the Kansas State 14-yard line because of a fumble, but ended with a blocked field goal.
Trailing 17-3 midway through the second quarter, Baylor true freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer made his collegiate debut, taking one snap and rushing for a one-yard loss before sophomore Zach Smith returned to the game.
Kansas State added a field goal before eventually taking a 20-3 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Bears picked up two third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion on a fake punt by Martin, who was forced into backup punting duties due to an injury to Drew Galitz.
After taking a hard hit to give his team the first down, Martin's 27-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 20-6 was the result of a new season-long drive that lasted 7:15.
John Lovett's 74-yard touchdown run was bookended by a couple of three-and-outs from Kansas State. But with Baylor facing 3rd and 1 at their own 43-yard line trailing 20-13, a high snap from Sam Tecklenburg resulted in a 29-yard loss and a fumble recovery by the Wildcats inside the red zone.
Two plays later, Jesse Ertz's 15-yard touchdown run gave Kansas State more breathing room, leading 27-13 with 14:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Minutes later, Denzel Mims' 70-yard touchdown catch pulled Baylor within seven points again, but the Bears were unable to complete the comeback. Mims finished the contest with seven receptions and a team-high 127 receiving yards.
Matthew McCrane, who kicked field goals of 37 and 21 yards in the second quarter, tacked on additional field goals of 49 and 23 yards in the fourth quarter to help Kansas State to the 33-20 victory.
The Bears have a bye week before returning to action October 14 at Oklahoma State.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said punter Drew Galitz could be out for the season with a knee injury. The junior was leading the Big 12 in yards per punt (45.2) heading into the weekend.
True freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer participated in two plays (one penalized) -- the first action of his NCAA career -- in the second quarter.
Kansas State tallied 225 rushing yards compared to Baylor's 84, which were inflated by Lovett's 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Baylor outgained Kansas State in total offensive yards 375-344, including a 291-119 advantage in the passing category.
Baylor made three trips to the red zone, kicking two field goals and having another one blocked. Kansas State came away with points after all six trips to the red zone, including three touchdowns and three field goals.