STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State couldn't muster as much as a single first down in the second half Saturday. Not until the Cowboys had to, it seemed.
After falling behind with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys ripped off four straight first-down plays on their way to regaining the lead and eventually pushing past Kansas State 33-29 at Boone Pickens Stadium.
OSU's offense was inept for much of the day, and through much of the second half, before quarterback J.W. Walsh connected on pass plays covering 12, 26 and 15 yards and Jeremy Smith provided a 15-yard run as the Cowboys marched to the Wildcats 6. After an incompletion, Walsh hit Charlie Moore in the front corner of the end zone for the touchdown that put them ahead 30-29.
An OSU interception on Kansas State's next series led to a field goal and the final margin, and Daytawion Lowe's interception in the closing seconds clinched the win.
"It shows the maturity of our team," Walsh said. "Even with some young guys out there, we can face adversity and overcome some tough circumstances. To be able to come up with a big drive and a huge stop on defense was huge."
The Cowboys improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12. The Wildcats fell to 2-3 and 0-2.
Kansas State left Stillwater wondering "what if" after committing five turnovers and 12 penalties for 92 yards.
"It's difficult (to win), as it always would be," said Wildcats coach Bill Snyder. "In our history, we just have not been that kind of a football team. I mean, we haven't always been extremely good, but we haven't always turned the ball over and we haven't always been penalized.
"We had a chance to win even with it ... but it makes it a heck of a lot harder."
Daniel Sams didn't start but played much of the way at quarterback for K-State. He ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, but threw three interceptions and lost a fumble -- all in the second half. Starting quarterback Jake Waters lost a fumble in his limited action.
On an erratic afternoon, Sams led the Wildcats on a 79-yard touchdown drive to open the second half and send K-State in front 21-17. And he was the key on a 57-yard march to another go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, finishing it off with a 3-yard touchdown run.
"Well, the good things we all saw," Snyder said, "and the bad things we all saw. We started him because we were trying to do some things that we knew he could do and get him invested collectively in the ballgame.
"As you can see, he came in and threw the ball just fine. I certainly didn't like the interceptions."
Before its late touchdown, OSU used its defense to set up two Ben Grogan field goals for the Cowboys' only scoring of the second half.
Those kicks came after the defense set up the OSU offense with prime scoring chances, with a Caleb Lavey interception giving the Cowboys the ball at the K-State 22, then a Shaun Lewis recovery of Waters' fumble putting them at the 6.
Yet the offense went three-and-out, continuing a string of five second-half possessions without a first down.
Then came the clutch drive.
"Offensively, we always have confidence to make the plays to win," said Moore. "We know we can put together drives like that last touchdown every time we go out there. It was just a matter of pulling together and knowing that it could happen at any time."
The Cowboys led 17-14 at the half, going ahead with 50 seconds remaining on Walsh's 3-yard run.
That score capped a 64-yard drive that was aided by a pass interference penalty on K-State's Randall Evans on a third-and-6 play from the 14. And it marked the 22nd consecutive play that the Wildcats defense was on the field, after Kip Daily returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown.
Travis Britz blocked Ben Grogan's 43-yard field goal try, with Daily scooping up the bounding ball on the run and racing untouched for the score. That sent the Wildcats ahead 14-10.
K-State scored first when Sams connected with fullback Glenn Gronkowski for a 67-yard touchdown pass.
The Cowboys scored the next 10 points, getting a 2-yard touchdown run from Jeremy Smith and a 30-yard field goal from Grogan.
NOTES: Cowboys starting CB Justin Gilbert was suspended for the first half of Saturday's game as punishment for a late-game flagrant personal foul penalty he drew in last week's loss at West Virginia. ... When Daily returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, it marked Kansas State's first return of a field goal for a score since 2002. ... Wildcats WR Tyler Lockett, the Big 12 leader in all-purpose yards, was injured in the first half and did not return.