WACO, Texas (AP)Will Howard threw for three touchdowns after Adrian Martinez exited with an injury, and No. 23 Kansas State buoyed its Big 12 title hopes with a 31-3 rout of Baylor on Saturday night.
The defending conference champion Bears (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) will need help to get back to the championship game after a three-game winning streak had put them back in contention.
The Wildcats (7-3, 5-2) went into the game in a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 with Baylor and No. 18 Texas, which played undefeated and fourth-ranked TCU later.
Howard came on after Martinez appeared to injure his lower body getting a first down on a quarterback sneak in the first quarter.
The junior who threw four TD passes in a 48-0 victory over then-No. 9 Oklahoma State two weeks ago put the Wildcats ahead 7-0 on the same drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to Ben Sinnott.
Howard has thrown seven TD passes without an interception in three-plus quarters filling in for Martinez, who was on the sideline with his helmet on after getting checked by the medical staff.
Martinez returned last week against Texas and threw for 326 yards, but had an interception that was turned into a touchdown and lost a fumble that clinched the victory for the Longhorns.
Blake Shapen threw two interceptions in the Bears’ worst offensive showing in a Big 12 game this season as a four-game winning streak in the series ended.
Deuce Vaughn had a 20-yard touchdown catch and 104 yards rushing, making him the third Kansas State running back with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1,079 yards this season).
Howard was 18 of 26 for 186 yards, and Sinnott had another TD from 19 yards while finishing with seven catches for 89 yards.
Kansas State: The Wildcats wasted little time showing faith in Howard. On his first drive, they ran a reverse flea-flicker, and he completed a 23-yard pass to Sinnott. The TD toss to Sinnott came two plays later.
Baylor: Coach Dave Aranda tried to spark a struggling offense late in the third quarter by going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Baylor 19-yard line. Monaray Baldwin’s catch gained just 1 yard, and DJ Giddens sent many fans to the exits on a 1-yard TD for a 31-3 Kansas State lead early in the fourth.
Kansas State: At West Virginia next Saturday with the Mountaineers coming off a 23-20 home victory over Oklahoma on a game-ending field goal. The Wildcats ended a five-game losing streak in the series with a 34-17 victory at home last year.
Baylor: No. 4 TCU visits McLane Stadium next Saturday. The Horned Frogs have won six of seven in the series since the Bears’ 61-58 home victory in McLane’s debut season in 2014. That was the year both teams had one loss and were left out of the first four-team playoff.
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