By Cody Soto
No. 6 Baylor football leads No. 9 Kansas State 24-14 at halftime at McLane Stadium in the Bears’ second-straight de facto Big 12 championship game.
Senior quarterback Bryce Petty was 24-for-30 for 257 yards and ran in for a touchdown in the half. Eight Baylor receivers caught a pass in the first 30 minutes of play led by senior receiver Levi Norwood with 57 yards.
Baylor opened up the game with a huge opening drive fueled by the wide receiver corps. Petty charged into the end zone to put the Bears up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Baylor’s defense swallowed up the Kansas State offense in their opening drive and limited the Wildcats to six plays for 17 yards, forcing them to punt. The Bears marched down the field similarly like the first drive, but Petty’s red zone throw was intercepted by KSU’s Randall Evans, and it was Kansas State ball.
A quick stop by the defense eliminated Kansas State’s chance to ride the momentum wave, and another punt was forced. After the ball was initially called at the half-yard line, Linwood powered through the Wildcat line for a one-yard touchdown run. Freshman kicker Chris Callahan hit the extra point attempt, and Baylor led 14-0.
A costly pass interference call on a third down play allowed Kansas State to continue their drive, and eventually score on a one-yard touchdown run by placekicker Matthew McCrane to cut the lead to seven.
The Baylor offense answered the drive with another quick march down the field. In the red zone, the Bears nearly turned the ball over for the second time in the half after Linwood lost the ball on the three-yard line. The fumble call was overturned and allowed freshman running back Johnny Jefferson to run in for a two-yard touchdown run.
Kansas State once again took advantage of a penalty by Baylor and used its wide receiver rotation to score on a 36-yard touchdown reception by Zach Trujillo.
Baylor was crippled by a special teams penalties and couldn’t push the ball to force a punt for the first time in the game. After the defense stopped Kansas State midfield, Callahan nailed a 46-yard field goal as time expired to put Baylor up by 10 at the half.
Kansas State will receive to start the second half.