MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Will Howard became the all-time leader in touchdown passes in Kansas State history, leading the Wildcats past Baylor 59-25 on Saturday afternoon.
“It's an unbelievable honor,” he said. “If you would have told an 18-year-old Will Howard who threw three picks at West Virginia that he'd be standing here (in this position), he would have told you you were crazy.
"It still really hasn't sunk in yet. It's crazy to think about.”
Howard was 19-of-29 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. He moved past Josh Freeman with 45 career touchdown passes. It was Howard's fifth game this season with at least three TD passes, tying Freeman for the school record.
The fact that Howard is in this place is a testimony to perseverance. He was booed frequently early in his career when he backed up Skylar Thompson and Adrian Martinez. Now he's the unquestioned leader of the K-State offense.
“With all the stuff I've had to deal with here, I'm privileged to be in the position I'm in,” he said. “It means the world. I'm floored.”
Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) has scored at least 40 points in all six home games (6-0) this season.
“A great performance by our guys today,” coach Chris Klieman said. “Our guys came to play today.
"We had two defensive touchdowns. We had four stops on fourth down and four turnovers. When you have eight (takeaways) it's hard to beat you.”
Blake Shapen was 22-of-45 for 253 yards and four touchdowns for Baylor (3-7, 2-5 Big 12).
“I'm just way frustrated and upset,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “My comments to the team were, ‘This is bottom. You can’t get any worse than this, with the score and the feeling you have.”
K-State extended its 35-13 halftime lead early in the third quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Chris Tennant.
Shapen hit Drake Dabney for a 63-yard touchdown. After a pair of laterals, Shapen found Dabney, who eluded the K-State defense. The Wildcats responded with a nine-play, 73-yard touchdown drive, capped by Treshaun Ward's 4-yard run.
Keenan Garber then picked off Shapen and returned it 45 yards for a pick-6.
“I never would have thought my first one would come on defense,” said Garber, who began his career as a receiver but never scored a touchdown before Saturday. “Once I saw the quarterback come my way, I knew (the ball) was coming my way. I made a good read on it and followed through with the catch.”
K-State took the opening kickoff and scored on a 19-yard screen pass from Howard to DJ Giddens, capping a 12-play, 81-yard drive. But Baylor responded immediately with a five-play, 72-yard drive to tie it when Shapen found Dawson Pendergrass for a 13-yard touchdown.
Howard found Ben Sinnott in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown as the Wildcats regained the lead, 14-7.
Desmond Purnell scored a defensive touchdown to extend the lead to 21-7. Cody Stufflebean hit Shapen from behind, forcing a fumble that Purnell picked up and ran 15 yards untouched into the end zone.
“Coach (defensive coordinator Joe) Klanderman called a great blitz,” Stufflebean said. “For some reason they slid off of me and I came free on the edge and just got home.”
Howard then plunged in from the 1-yard line on fourth down early in the second quarter to add to the lead. Things only got worse for Baylor. Palmer Williams fumbled the snap on a punt and was tackled at the 2. Howard then found Christian Moore on a 2-yard pass for a 35-7 lead with 13:07 left in the half. Howard's third TD pass of the game gave him the career mark.
Baylor: The Bears will be looking toward next year. With seven losses, bowl eligibility is no longer and option.
Kansas State: The Wildcats still have a chance to defend their conference championship. If they win out, there are plenty of tiebreakers that could put them in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 2.
Baylor: The Bears hit the road for the final time this season with a game at TCU.
Kansas State: The Wildcats will face in-state rival Kansas in Lawrence..