Four takeaways from Kansas State's 20-10 loss to Baylor

Arne Green
Topeka Capital-Journal
Nov 20, 2021; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Baylor Bears running back Trestan Ebner (1) is pushed out of bounds by Kansas State Wildcats defensive back Ross Elder (19) during the first quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

MANHATTAN — Kansas State got off to a bad start with a muffed punt that led to a Baylor score and the Wildcats never fully recovered, falling 20-10 to the No. 13-ranked Bears, 20-10, Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The Wildcats fell to 7-4 overall, 4-4 in the Big 12, while Baylor improved to 9-2, 6-2.

Here are four takeaways from the game, which saw K-State's four-game winning streak come to an end:

No margin for error

With yards hard to come by, it made sense that mistakes were critical for both teams.

Baylor benefitted first when, after K-State's defense held to start the game Phillip Brooks muffed a punt and the Bears' AJ McCarty recovered at the Wildcat 24. From there, it took just five plays for Baylor to score on a Trestan Ebner 6-yard run.

Baylor returned the favor late in the half by jumping offside on a punt, giving the Wildcats a first down at their 35-yard line. On the next play, Deuce Vaughn raced 65 yards for a touchdown that cut the Bears' lead to 14-7.

Tough day for Skylar

Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson's final home game will not go down as one of his best. To add insult to injury, or vice versa, Thompson limped off the field with 4:04 left after going down awkwardly and Jaren Lewis promptly threw an interception.

Thompson was under duress much of the game and did not get the ball out fast enough, leading to a 15-for-29 passing performance and 158 yards. He was sacked three times.

When he had time to remain in the pocket, Thompson was fine, but that was rare.

As an offense, K-State struggled moving the ball consistently all day. The only real bright spot was Deuce Vaughn, who finished with 128 yards rushing on 11 carries, including a 65-yard touchdown run that got the Wildcats on the board late in the first half.

Validation for K-State defense

Although Baylor moved the ball effectively for much of the game, K-State was good in the red zone, twice forcing the Bears into field goals to keep the Wildcats within reach.

The defense also came up with a couple of big fourth-down stops in the second half, one by Ross Elder and another when Deuce Green threw running back Abram Smith for a 10-yard loss, giving the offense the ball at its 43-yard line with 5:44 left, trailing 20-10.

The defense was on the field for way too much of the game. Baylor, which racked up 402 yards total offense, finished with 83  snaps to 51 for the Wildcats.

Shapen up for Baylor

When Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon went down with an injury with less than a minute left in the first half, the Bears did not skip a beat. Redshirt freshman Blake Shapen, who had thrown three passes all season — all of them completions — stepped in to guide the offense, completing 16 of 21 passes for 137 yards and also rushed for 28.