WACO, Texas -- A year after RG3 swooped in and won the Heisman Trophy with a brilliant November, Baylor once again found some late-season magic to impact the national college football landscape.
Baylor piled up 584 yards on Kansas State, the Bears' last-ranked defense played infinitely better than that and Baylor quarterback Nick Florence looked more like the Heisman candidate than the Wildcats' Collin Klein as the Bears destroyed top-ranked Kansas State 52-24 on Saturday evening at Floyd Casey Stadium.
The Wildcats (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) came into the game looking to keep their national championship hopes rolling and Klein on his way to the Heisman ceremony. But both aspirations took a serious hit as they could never match Baylor's intensity.
Klein passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but gave up three interceptions.
Meanwhile, the Bears (5-5, 2-5) moved a huge step closer to becoming bowl eligible for the third consecutive season, which would be a first in school history.
Kansas State's Randall Evans intercepted a pass by Florence at the Baylor 1 and Klein converted it into a touchdown on the next play less than three minutes into the third quarter, cutting Baylor's lead to 11. But not even that could shift momentum away from the Bears.
Baylor responded by driving for Aaron Jones' 50-yard field goal then pushed Kansas State backward for a three-and-out and tacked on another touchdown for a 21-point margin.
Baylor running back Glasco Martin scampered 16 yards for the score that put the Bears ahead 45-24 with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Given Kansas State's meager offensive success to that point, Martin's touchdown effectively put the game out of reach.
By the time Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk raced 80 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter, Kansas State was flat on the mat. Seastrunk, playing this season for the Bears after transferring from Oregon, and Martin combined for 298 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Baylor electrified the home crowd in the first half by showing far more energy and more precise execution in racing past Kansas State, grabbing a 28-7 lead with 2:54 remaining.
The Bears scored the first points on Florence's 38-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Reese on their game-opening offensive series. Baylor cut through the defense by going 82 yards in six plays to set the tone for the first half.
Florence added a 12-yard touchdown run and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and running back Glasco Martin contributed a 2-yard touchdown run that boosted the Bears' lead to 28-7 near the end of the second quarter.
Kansas State matched Baylor's first score after a short kick and a penalty against Baylor started the Wildcats at the Bears' 38. Given the short field, Kansas State tied it at 7 on Collin Klein's 8-yard touchdown pass to Torell Miller.
But then came the Baylor offensive deluge, which Kansas State struggled to answer for much of the half.
Trailing 28-7, Kansas State finally punched back with a 63-yard touchdown drive. Klein tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Harper with 1:04 left in the first half.
Then Kansas State raced into easy field goal position with another 63-yard drive, capped by Anthony Cantele's 23-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. That cut Baylor's lead to 28-17 at halftime.
NOTES: Baylor became the first team to lead Kansas State by 14 points all season and the first to score more than 17 points against the Wildcats in the first half. ... Baylor gained 313 yards in the first half, more than Kansas State gave up in entire games against Miami, West Virginia and TCU.