The intrigue only grows with Kansas State now in position to play for the championship Dec. 3 at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s a conversation that we had this week, and we told him we’re going to have one every week,” Klieman said. “Will’s in a good place right now. Adrian’s in a good place right now.”
Blake Shapen threw two interceptions in the Bears’ worst offensive showing in a Big 12 game this season as a four-game winning streak in the series ended.
“Obviously everybody knows what was on the line tonight, probably too much,” Baylor linebacker Dillon Doyle said. “You just box it and move on. It’s really hard to do, but it’s the same thing with life.”
Deuce Vaughn had a 20-yard touchdown catch and 106 yards rushing, making him the third Kansas State running back with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1,081 yards this season).
Howard was 19 of 27 for 196 yards, and Sinnott had another TD from 19 yards while finishing with seven catches for 89 yards.
The Wildcats were 8 of 13 on third down, which helped them keep possession for a season-best 37 minutes, 37 seconds. Kansas State also was opportunistic, getting four touchdowns and a field goal out of five trips inside the Baylor 20-yard line.
The Bears had a season-low 103 yards rushing a week after getting 281 with five touchdowns in a 38-35 victory over Oklahoma. Richard Reese needed 83 yards to break Shock Linwood’s nine-year-old school freshman record of 881 but finished with just 54. A week after getting a career-high 192 yards, Craig “Sqwirl” Williams had just 17.
Kansas State: The Wildcats wasted little time showing faith in Howard. On his first drive, they ran a reverse flea-flicker, and he completed a 23-yard pass to Sinnott. The first TD toss to Sinnott came two plays later.
Baylor: Coach Dave Aranda tried to spark a struggling offense late in the third quarter by going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Baylor. Monaray Baldwin’s catch gained just 1 yard, and DJ Giddens sent many fans to the exits on a 1-yard TD for the final margin early in the fourth.
Kansas State: At West Virginia next Saturday with the Mountaineers coming off a 23-20 home victory over Oklahoma on a game-ending field goal. The Wildcats ended a five-game losing streak in the series with a 34-17 victory at home last year.
Baylor: No. 4 TCU visits McLane Stadium next Saturday. The Horned Frogs have won six of seven in the series since the Bears’ 61-58 home victory in McLane’s debut season in 2014. That was the year both teams had one loss and were left out of the first four-team playoff.