Oklahoma State accepted the opening kickoff in Manhattan and moved 84 yards in eight plays, finding pay dirt with a two-yard touchdown run by Tyreek Hill.
And then Kansas State woke up.
The No. 11 Wildcats ran off 45 unanswered points over the visiting Cowboys, cruising to a 48-14 victory and setting up a date in Fort Worth next week against No. 10 TCU with major Big 12 and College Football Playoff implications.
Morgan Burns started the onslaught by returning a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7, and the Wildcats added two more touchdowns before half, a six-yard dash by Charles Jones and a 17-yard pass from Jake Waters to Curry Sexton. Waters pushed the score to 28-7 with a 20-yard strike to Tyler Lockett, and Jones’ second score pushed the lead to 38-7 with 13:28 to go.
Oklahoma State’s second touchdown came on a 38-yard interception return of a Joe Huebner pass by Ramon Richards.
Waters completed 19-of-28 passes for 223 yards and those two touchdowns, and added 34 yards on nine carries. Jones rushed 10 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
Daxx Garman struggled, again, completing 12-of-23 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions. Hill continues to be a bright spot in a lost season for Oklahoma State, leading the club in rushing (18 carries for 102 yards) and receiving (one grab for 34 yards.)
The loss drops Oklahoma State to an uncharacteristic 5-4 heading into an off week.
Kansas State, meanwhile, is 5-0 in Big 12 play for the second time in three seasons, with a winner-take-the-Playoff-driver’s-seat game against TCU waiting next weekend after the Frogs escaped Morgantown with a last-second 31-30 win.
The degree of difficulty rises significantly from here, as K-State closes at TCU, then at West Virginia on a Thursday night, and ends the season at Baylor on Dec. 6, with a home breather against Kansas mixed in on Nov. 29.