Wildcats rally past Cowboys, 31-27

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Freshman quarterback Josh Freeman got rolling late in his first start, running for a 21-yard touchdown with 1:11 left to help Kansas State rally for a 31-27 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

 

Leon Patton, another freshman making his first start for the Wildcats, ran for 151 yards and one touchdown and returned a kickoff 95 yards for another score.

 

Safety Marcus Watts also had a huge game for the Wildcats (4-2, 1-1 Big 12), who trailed 27-17 with just over three minutes left before coming back to beat the Cowboys (3-2, 0-1) for the sixth straight time in Manhattan and the 10th time in their last 11 meetings.

 

Watts blocked a punt that Daniel Gonzalez returned 21 yards for Kansas State's first score. In the closing seconds, Watts broke up what would have been a game-winning catch by D'Juan Woods then intercepted Bobby Reid's tipped pass in the end zone as time ran out.

 

Freeman, the first freshman to start for the Wildcats since Duane Howard in 1976, was sacked four times and had just six passing attempts going into the fourth quarter.

 

But in the last four minutes, he was spectacular.

 

His 43-yard completion to Jermaine Moreira set up Patton's 1-yard TD run with 3:04 left.

 

That score, which broke a seven-quarter stretch without an offensive touchdown, got the Wildcats within 27-24. Oklahoma State couldn't muster a clock-killing drive in response, and Freeman needed only three plays to give Kansas State the lead.

 

He threw to Gonzalez for 20 yards and Yamon Figurs for 17, then went the rest of the way on his own after his protection broke down and the middle of the field opened up. He finished the day 10-for-15 for 177 yards and did not throw an interception.

 

Reid threw two short scoring passes and Keith Toston ran for 109 yards and one touchdown for Oklahoma State. Toston's 11-yard TD carry, on the first snap after Perrish Cox's 89-yard kickoff return, was the third score in a 53-second span in the third quarter.

 

The Cowboys went up 13-10 on Reid's 2-yard pass to Brandon Pettigrew with 5:36 left in the third. But on the ensuing kickoff, Patton's 95-yard return gave the Wildcats a 17-13 lead.

 

Cox responded with his own big return, and Toston's burst up the middle put Oklahoma State ahead 20-17 with 4:43 left in the third. Reid's second TD pass, a 1-yard toss to John Johnson, made it 27-17 early in the fourth quarter before Freeman led Kansas State's comeback.

 

The Wildcats threatened to break their offensive drought in the first quarter, when Patton broke a 40-yard sweep to the Cowboys' 5-yard line. But on fourth-and-goal from the 1, linebacker Chris Collins stuffed Patton for a 2-yard loss.

 

The Wildcats went up 7-0 early in the second quarter on Gonzalez's return of Watts' punt block.