MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Oklahoma State University offense put the Cowboys behind the eight ball Saturday against second-ranked Kansas State University and ultimately the Wildcats pulled away early and held on for a 44-30 victory.
The Cowboys turned the ball over five times in the game — in which K-State converted into 21 points — while only managing just two scoring drives in the first half.
Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12 Conference) struck first with a 54-yard touchdown from freshman quarterback Wes Lunt to fellow freshman Austin Hays.
That would be the only real highlight of Lunt's night as the freshman from Rochester, Ill., threw three interceptions — including the second pick-six of his rookie campaign— on three consecutive drives that really put the game out of hand for OSU.
Lunt was replaced by junior Clint Chelf with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. The Enid native led OSU on three scoring drives to put together a late rally.
In Chelf's limited time, he completed 16 of his 27 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown — which was caught by Charlie Moore, for his fourth-straight game with a touchdown grab. His final pass of the game was intercepted with 2 minutes left to clinch the final score for K-State (9-0, 6-0).
With the troubles in the passing game and the Cowboys playing from behind, Oklahoma State's running game also took a hit. Joseph Randle, who came into the game averaging a conference-best 127.3 yards per contest, was held to just 43 yards rushing on 15 attempts — an average of 2.9 yards per carry.
Oklahoma State's inconsistent kickoff coverage reared its ugly head again, as Kansas State's electric returner Tyler Lockett went 100 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. The Cowboys answered, however, with Desmond Roland returning the next kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown — the last time Oklahoma State would be within a touchdown of the Wildcats. The kickoff coverage team later gave up a 60-yard return after OSU had cut the game to a two-possession deficit early in the fourth.
The Oklahoma State defense held Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein to just one touchdown in the game as the K-State quarterback finished with 64 yards rushing a 245 yards passing before going out with an injury late in the third quarter.
The Cowboys will return home Saturday for a contest with West Virginia at Boone Pickens Stadium.