"Our coach says all the time you've just got to keep sawing wood and eventually you're going to get somewhere," said Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another as the surprising 17th-ranked Wildcats came from behind to beat Texas Tech 41-34 on Saturday night. "It makes it exciting because we're hanging together. That's the most important thing."
Klein ran for 110 yards on 23 carries, scoring on three short runs and hitting Chris Harper for a 3-yard TD pass on the Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) first drive of the third quarter.
Tyler Lockett returned a kickoff 100 yards early in the second quarter for the Wildcats, who are undefeated after six games for the first time since 2000.
Snyder turned once-lowly Kansas State into a national title contender in the 1990s and came out of retirement three years ago to rebuild the Wildcats again.
He said he saw the turnaround in his team's gumption after halftime.
"They play with determination, they play with mental toughness, they play with discipline that falters some times," he said. "But they are diligently trying.
Texas Tech (4-2, 1-2) was held to two field goals in the second half.
Red Raiders coach Tommy Tubereville said the Wildcats were true to form.
"They don't do anything special," he said. "They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn't take advantage of ours. We had too many missed opportunities."
Seth Doege had 461 yards and a touchdown on 43-of-63 passing, but had three of his four turnovers in consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. He also ran for a score. He had just one interception coming into the game.
"I want them all back," Doege said. "All of them were pretty stupid on my part. As a quarterback one of our jobs is to protect the ball and I did a poor job of that tonight."
After Texas Tech's field goal late in the game to pull within 41-34, the Red Raiders recovered an onside kick when Tremain Swindall fell on the ball at their own 47. But Doege and the offense seemed to rush and failed to get a first down after running four plays.
The Wildcats, who appeared flat in the first half, came out with more energy after halftime. On Kansas State's first possession Klein put together the Wildcats' longest drive of the game, capping it with a fade to the corner of the end zone to Harper to lead 28-27. The TD pass was set up after Klein scrambled out of the pocket for a 25-yard gain to the 3.
Kansas State held the ball for 33:33, while Tech's high-powered offense had it for 26:27.
Kansas State stayed close in the first half but only because of its defense and special teams. The offense mustered just 94 yards, less than half of those on the ground. Texas Tech's defense was tough against the Wildcats run, allowing Kansas State's 26th-ranked rushing offense just 45 yards on 18 carries in the first half.
The plan was to chew up the clock and not let Texas Tech's offense on the field. The Red Raiders, instead, had the ball 2 minutes longer in the first half.
Doege was hot in the first half. He completed 25 of 34 passes for 296 yards, his best first-half of the season.
After Lockett's kick return TD in the second quarter, Anthony Cantele missed the extra point to cut the deficit to 14-13. Lockett took the ball straight up the middle and into a pile of Red Raiders at about the 50. Suddenly, though, he was out front of the pile and outraced them all to the corner of the end zone.
The Wildcats blocked two field goals, setting up a touchdown with the second. Raphael Guidry blocked the kick and Nigel Malone picked it up and returned it 30 yards to the Texas Tech 46. Klein put Kansas State up 20-14 when he scored from a yard out.
The Wildcats State jumped to a 7-0 lead when Nigel Malone got his fourth interception of the season, picking off Doege's second pass of the game and ran it 24 yards for the score. He stepped in front of Bradley Marquis as if he'd read Doege's mind and scampered untouched into the end zone.
Doege quickly redeemed himself, finding Cornelius Douglas over the middle for a 40-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-7 midway through the first quarter.