An unrelenting pass rush and lockdown coverage from No. 11 Baylor forced Kansas State into its worst offensive output of the season Saturday night in a 20-10 loss at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The 10 points were the fewest the Wildcats have had in a game since they were shutout, 45-0, last season at Iowa State. The Wildcats were held to less than 300 yards offense for just the third time this season (Oklahoma State and West Virginia), and they lost the time of possession battle by nearly 12 minutes.

The K-State offense struggled mightily versus a Baylor defense loaded with veteran talent that hit exactly the right buttons to utterly flummox a K-State offense that has been more than serviceable over the last month.

“We all need to, probably, play a little better on offense,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “We need to have a better plan on offense. I don’t think our plan was great for what Baylor was doing, and I don’t think we adjusted as well. But some of that is credit to Baylor. I thought they did a real nice job of mixing some things up and pressuring and playing some good, tight man coverage.”

Sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn had another stellar day, racking up 128 rushing yards on 11 carries, including a 65-yard score — K-State’s lone touchdown on the day. He also caught five passes for 37 yards.

Take Vaughn’s output away, and the Wildcats’ offense produced little.

At the half, the shifty sophomore had 139 yards from scrimmage. As a team, K-State also had accumulated 139 net yards, meaning the few contributions from other Wildcats on the team were wiped out because of negative-yardage plays, leaving Vaughn as the only consistent weapon.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s one of those things where you have to keep calm, because if you get frustrated throughout the game, especially being a running back, you’ll miss opportunities if you’re not even-keel and going with the ebbs and flows of the game,” Vaughn said. “You have to be at a 50% emotional level.”

Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson battled a never-ending pass rush from defensive guru and Baylor head coach Dave Aranda.

According to the stat sheet, the Bears managed to sack Thompson three times and hurried him just three more. But anyone who watched Saturday’s game, be it from the stands or from their couch at home, could see the Baylor pass rush affected far more than six K-State snaps throughout the game.

“They do a great job of coming hard at the quarterback, whether they’re rushing four or five or sometimes six,” Klieman said. “I thought they did a really good job of knocking Skylar off his spot and making him ad-lib either up in the pocket or outside. It was obviously a problem all day.”

Thompson ended the day 15-for-29 through the air for 158 yards while losing 24 yards on the ground on seven rushes. He left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter.

The Bears did not let up for 60 minutes, and forced the K-State offensive line to fold multiple times under the pressure.

“They’re relentless,” Klieman said. “They’re long. They’re athletic. They’re physical and they do a lot of stunts. There were times I felt like we protected really well but there was no one open, so you have to credit the secondary and the linebackers as well, because they had us on pretty tight coverage. I thought they played well in all three levels of their defense.”

As the game progressed, the emotional toll grew as well.

The baggage of senior day already loomed before kickoff, as the 30 Wildcat seniors, including Thompson and center Noah Johnson, were introduced prior to their final game in Manhattan. As the contest stretched into the second half, the frustrations of not finding an offensive rhythm started to show.

“It’s hard, even when you’re kind of rolling, to not let your emotions affect your focus or your attitude,” Johnson said. “We just have to continue to do our best and to not ride the wave of highs and lows and cut right through the wave and just be level throughout the game. Today, personally, I let the frustrations affect me a little too much.”

In the end, the K-State offensive line had to mark down Saturday as a learning experience and move on, something it must do expeditiously, as it has a short week ahead: the regular-season finale is 11 a.m. Friday against Texas.

“We just didn’t play up to our level, to our standard up front,” Johnson said. “We’re going to be better because of it. We’re never going to get today back. We’ll watch the film and we’ll learn from it and we will be better because of it.”

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