Kansas State Grinds Out Comeback Win Against Texas Tech in Front of Sparse Crowd
Even though the announced crowd was much more (47,631), Texas Tech (4-5, 1-5) and Kansas State (5-4, 3-3) battled in front of a half-filled Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
The Wildcats gave up a 10-point lead and then overcame an 11-point second half deficit to beat the Red Raiders 42-35 in overtime. Texas Tech is now in the midst of a four-game losing streak and may not reach bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.
After a sloppy first half, Texas Tech was only down three points, 17-14, at halftime. Both teams lost defensive players in the first half due to targeting personal foul penalties.
For the opening possession of the second half, Nic Shimonek marched his team down the field for a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Shimonek to Keke Coutee. It was Coutee's second touchdown reception of the game and it gave the Red Raiders a 21-17 lead.
Kansas State's next score came for their defense, as Duke Shelley intercepted a Shimonek pass and scampered 25 yards for a touchdown. With 11:32 left in the third quarter, Kansas State had a 24-21 lead.
The Red Raiders showed some resiliency by taking the lead back on their following possession. Shimonek lead his team on a 15-play, 75-yard drive, that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Cantrell in the middle of the field. After the Clayton Hatfield extra point, Texas Tech regained a four-point lead 28-24.
Then, on their next possession, following a K-State punt, the Red Raiders extended their lead. Shimonek found T.J. Vasher open for a 22-yard touchdown pass to make the score 35-24 Texas Tech.
K-State fought back on their next possession to stay in the game. Even though their 10-play drive stalled at the Texas Tech 13-yard line; Matthew McCrane's 30 yard field goal put points on the board for the Wildcats as they cut the deficit to 35-27.
Texas Tech had a chance to ice the game as the Red Raiders went to time consuming, ball-control offense. After 12 plays, their drive stalled on a 4th and 2 from the Kansas State 13. Hatfield came out to attempt his first non-extra point field goal of the game. The 31 yard kick sailed wide left and gave the Wildcats new life with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Starting from their 20 yard line, Skylar Thompson went to the air on the first play of the drive. Thompson connected with Dalton Schoen for a 54 yard reception along the near sideline. The play moved the ball all the way to the Texas Tech 26 yard line. Three plays later, a Texas Tech penalty extended the drive. With 3rd & 2 at the Texas Tech 18 yard line, Jaylon Lane was flagged for pass interference after grabbing Byron Pringle mid-route. The penalty moved the ball to the Texas Tech 8 yard line. Two plays later Thomspon plunged through the middle of the line for a one yard touchdown.
After the touchdown, Kansas State was down by two points, 35-33. The Wildcats lined up for the two point conversation and Texas Tech called two consecutive defensive timeouts after showing different formations. After the second timeout, Kansas State came out in a shotgun set with three wide receivers and the ball on the left hashmark. Thompson found Schoen open on an out route two yards deep into the end zone by the far sideline. With the two point conversion good, Kansas State tied the game at 35-35 with 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
On Texas Tech's ensuing possession, the offense ran the ball up the middle for a play to run out the clock to go to overtime. Texas Tech fans booed the decision to not push for a last-second field goal in regulation. After the game, Coach Kliff Kingsbury said his special teams coach (Joe Robinson) didn't have confidence in Hatfield to make a long field goal going into the wind at the south end of the stadium.
Kansas State opened up the overtime period on offense, going toward the north end zone. The Wildcats handed the ball off to Alex Barnes for three consecutive plays moving the ball to the Texas Tech 8 yard time. Then, Thompson found Pringle open in the end zone for an 8 yard touchdown reception. The extra point was good and Kansas State went up 42-35.
During Texas Tech's possession in overtime, Shimonek's first two passes were complete to move the ball just inside the 10 yard line for a 1st & Goal. Then, Shimonek's next two passes were incomplete. On 3rd & Goal, Shimonek connected with Vasher on a pass down the middle to move the ball to the 4 yard line. With 4th & Goal, from the 4, Shimonek attempted a fade pass to Cantrell in the back corner of the end zone, but the pass got caught in the wind and sailed out of bounds to end the game.
Next Saturday, Texas Tech plays Baylor in their annual game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The game will kickoff at 11am and Countdown to Kickoff will from 9am-11am on SportsRadio 1340 The Fan.