Blake Shapen was sharp in place of injured quarterback Gerry Bohanon, and Baylor's defense simply smothered Kansas State's offense, helping the No. 11 Bears beat the Wildcats 20-10 on Saturday night.
Shapen was 16 of 21 for 137 yards after Bohanon left shortly before halftime with a hamstring injury. The redshirt freshman got some help from Trestan Ebner, who ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, and Tyquan Thornton, who had five catches for 75 yards, as the Bears (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) won their fourth straight over Kansas State.
The Bears also got plenty of gifts. The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4) muffed a punt that led to the game's first points, and Chris Tennant missed a 39-yard field goal that would have made it a one-possession game with 10 minutes to go.
Sixth-year senior Skylar Thompson was just 15 of 29 for 158 yards before leaving with an injury in the fourth quarter of his final home game. Deuce Vaughn had 128 yards rushing for the Wildcats, but most of it came on a 65-yard TD run.
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The game was a matchup of run-oriented teams that don't mind playing a little defense, and it took a special teams blunder -- Phillip Brooks fumbling a punt -- for anybody to reach the end zone. The miscue by Kansas State gave the Bears a short field, and Ebner scored a few plays later to stake them to a 7-0 lead.
It stayed that way until late in the second quarter, when Baylor converted a pair of third downs and a fourth during a 74-yard march that took 15 plays and gobbled up nearly 7 1/2 minutes. Bohanon did most of the work with his arm, so it was fitting that he capped the drive with a short toss to Drake Dabney for a 14-0 lead.
The Wildcats answered quickly when Vaughn shook loose for a 65-yard touchdown run. It came after the Bears had forced fourth-and-5 and Kansas State was punting and an offsides call on Byron Hanspard Jr. provided a free first down.
Baylor managed to add a field goal before halftime, but it came at a cost: Bohanon was scrambling out of bounds when he clutched his right hamstring. He pounded the ground with his left fist and it was clear he was done for the game.
Despite throwing just three passes all season, Bohanon's understudy was ready to go.
After the Wildcats kicked a field goal to get within 17-10 in the third quarter, Shapen led the Bears on an 82-yard drive that included a crucial third-down throw to Ebner for a first down. Isaiah Hankins capped it with another field goal to make it a two-possession game with 13 1/2 minutes left.
Baylor's defense showed up after holding Oklahoma to season lows in just about every meaningful statistical category in a 27-14 victory last week. The Bears held the Wildcats to 4 of 13 on third downs and 263 yards of total offense.
Kansas State struggled early this season when Thompson was hurt. And while the veteran played poorly under heavy pressure against Baylor, the Wildcats have proven to be better with him on the field. Jaren Lewis replaced him with a few minutes left Saturday night and threw an interception on his first pass.
The Wildcats visit Texas on Friday. Baylor welcomes Texas Tech to McLane Stadium on Saturday.
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