MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State finally learned what it’s like to play from ahead.
It’s not any easier.
Collin Klein had three touchdowns rushing for the No. 20 Wildcats, who nearly blew a big second-half lead against Missouri before holding on for a 24-17 victory and their first 5-0 start since 2000.
Klein finished with 157 yards of total offense and John Hubert added 126 yards on the ground for the Wildcats, who had lost the last five matchups between the Big 12 rivals.
James Franklin was 19 of 35 for 214 yards passing for the Tigers (2-3), who came into the game averaging more than 500 yards of total offense. They only managed 326 against the Wildcats, most of that coming on a pair of long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
The first was 79-yard drive that Henry Josey finished with a 2-yard run to get the Tigers within 24-10. The Wildcats promptly went three-and-out, and Franklin led Missouri on a 74-yard drive that he finished off with a plunge from a yard out with 5:02 left in the game.
Tight end Michael Egnew fumbled after a catch on the drive, but a video review gave the ball back to Missouri. It was one of four calls by the officiating crew that were overturned.
Missouri never got another chance with the ball.
Playing from the lead was something new for the Wildcats.
Klein bailed them out with a long touchdown pass in the closing minutes against Eastern Kentucky, the defense delivered a goal line stand to beat Miami, and last week Kansas State scored 10 unanswered points in the final 5 1/2 minutes to stun then-No. 15 Baylor.
Kansas State’s defense set the tone on the first offensive play against Missouri.
Franklin dropped back to pass, looked over the middle and threw right to Wildcat defensive back Ty Zimmerman, who had deftly stepped in front of the intended receiver. The interception ended a stretch of 108 consecutive passes without throwing a pick for the sophomore quarterback.
It took Kansas State six plays to punch it into the end zone.
Franklin was sacked for a 13-yard loss on Missouri’s ensuing possession, and the Wildcats went 51 yards in 12 plays before Anthony Cantele’s field goal made it 10-0.
By the time the first quarter drew to a close, the Tigers had exactly zero yards of total offense – 20 yards through the air and minus-20 on the ground.
Henry Josey finally got things rolling for Missouri in the second quarter, using his quick feet to spring for a couple of long runs. But a false start inside the 10-yard line on second down pushed the Tigers back and they had to settle for Grant Ressel’s 32-yard field goal.
Ressel had a chance to get Missouri within 10-6 at the break, but he pushed a 43-yard attempt wide right on the final play of the half as rain started to fall.
The Wildcats’ only big mistake all game happened early in the third quarter, when Klein was picked off by Kip Edwards. But their defense held and Ressel’s 36-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
Missouri cost itself later in the quarter when Darvin Ruise was called for roughing the kicker after the Tigers had forced Kansas State to punt. The penalty gave Kansas State the ball back and Hubert went to work. After taking a handoff deep in the backfield, he did his best Darren Sproles imitation and spun away from a defender, taking the ball all the way down to the 3.
Klein scored seconds later for a 17-3 lead.
Klein added a short TD plunge on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, and although Missouri managed to make the game close with a couple late touchdowns, the lead was too much to overcome.
Copyright Associated Press