Big second half propels K-State to 31-10 win

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- James Johnson had 115 yards rushing and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 32-yard run late in the third quarter, as Kansas State scored 31 straight points to beat Iowa State 31-10 on Saturday.


Linebacker Brandon Archer recovered a muffed punt and a fumble for Kansas State (5-4, 2-3 Big 12), which broke a two-game losing streak and needs just one victory in its last three games to become bowl eligible in Ron Prince's first year as coach.


The Cyclones (3-6, 0-5) lost their fifth straight, had a two-game winning streak against the Wildcats snapped and have not beaten a Division I-A team since a 16-10 victory over UNLV on Sept. 30. One more loss will keep them out of the postseason for only the second time in seven years.


After Johnson's run put the Wildcats up 17-10 in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Kansas State sealed the victory with two touchdowns a minute apart in the fourth.


First, Leon Patton -- who had just four yards on his first four carries -- ran 37 yards around left end for a 24-10 lead with 4:06 to go. Then, Devin Anderson intercepted Bret Meyer's pass and returned it 30 yards to close the scoring with 3:06 remaining.


Iowa State scored on both of its first-quarter possessions, going up 10-0 on Jason Scales' 6-yard TD run and Bret Culbertson's 48-yard field goal. However, Kansas State tied it at 10 in the second quarter on Jeff Snodgrass' 19-yard field goal and Josh Freeman's 2-yard touchdown pass to John McCardle.


It was the first scoring throw in four career starts for Freeman, a freshman who replaced senior Dylan Meier after a 17-3 loss at Baylor on Sept. 30. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 161 yards with one interception against the Cyclones.


And after giving up those 10 early points, Kansas State's defense -- which lost big-play safety Marcus Watts to season-ending hand surgery earlier this week -- didn't break again. The Wildcats gave up 384 total yards but also sacked Meyer six times and kept him from tying the Cyclones' career record for touchdown passes.


Meyer remained at 39, one short of Todd Bandhauer's record set from 1995-98. He was 23-for-41 for 280 yards with one interception against Kansas State.


A series of mishaps on a punt return play set up Freeman's game-tying pass.


First, Kansas State's Yamon Figurs drove a blocker into Ryan Baum, who was waiting to make a fair catch. The ball rolled away, and the Cyclones' Chris Singleton tried to pick it up. He succeeded only in kicking it backward, and Archer recovered for Kansas State at the Cyclones 15.


Archer made another key recovery in the closing seconds of the half, falling on Marquis Hamilton's fumble after a 15-yard completion to the Wildcats 3.


Snodgrass was wide left from 43 yards on Kansas State's opening possession, and Culbertson missed from 40 yards in the third quarter.