WACO, Texas — For coach Bill Snyder and Kansas State, there was a clear path to the BCS championship game and a likely Heisman Trophy for Collin Klein.
That all changed after an unexpected blitz by Baylor, the team that a season after its Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III is still trying to get bowl eligible and had the nation’s worst-ranked defense.
A week after taking over the top spot in the BCS rankings, and getting so close to a chance to play for their first national championship, the Wildcats (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) trailed by three touchdowns before halftime and lost 52-24 at Baylor.
They tumbled five spots in both the latest Associated Press poll and new Bowl Championship Series standings.
“The really only failures in life are giving up and not trying and not caring,” coach Bill Snyder said. “I would like to think that none of the young people in that room fit that category. They’re going to be tremendously disappointed, and eventually, and the sooner the better, that will turn into anger and then it’s time to get it behind us and move on. They still have some opportunities to do some special things.”
The Wildcats can still get into a BCS game, and clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 title since 2003, by winning the regular-season finale Dec. 1 at home against 18th-ranked Texas — after a week off for a devastating loss to simmer.
But there will almost certainly be no national title chance, and maybe no Heisman for the quarterback who had been the front-running candidate. Klein was blitzed and harassed all night by the Bears team that was last among FBS teams allowing 520 total yards, and giving up more than 39 points a game.
“It’s why you play the game,” Klein said. “We knew they were a better defensive ball club than what showed on paper and we just didn’t get it done.”