LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson emerged from the shadows of Kansas State’s never-thought-much-about Plan C and threw the game-winning touchdown in a 42-35 overtime win over Texas Tech.
Thompson, a redshirt freshman and once a heralded recruit within the Midwest, also threw a tying two-point conversion to Dalton Schoen that tied the game with 42 seconds to play.
“I’m so glad we won,” Thompson said. “That’s all that matters to me is we won the game. I was ready when my number was called. I knew I needed come in and help us win the football game. I wasn’t expecting it to come down to something like that, but I was ready. I was confident and felt like everyone was confident in me.”
The Red Raiders (4-5, 1-5 Big 12) followed up Thompson’s overtime touchdown with a fourth-and-goal pass from the 4-yard line that quarterback Nic Shimonek threw out the back of the end zone.
Kansas State (5-4, 3-3) had trailed for the previous 19:18 after blowing a 24-21 advantage before Shoen pulled down the two-pointer in the front corner of the end zone.
The 2-point play was set up by Thompson’s 1-yard dive into the end zone on second-and-goal. The five-play, 80-yard drive started after Texas Tech kicker Clayton Hatfield missed a 31-yard field goal with 3:40 left in regulation.
The Red Raiders have missed at least one kick, whether an extra point or field goal and sometimes both, in each game of what is now a four-game losing streak.
“There’s something going on,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “There’s no question. To not be able to get this one done, we’ve got to play with more confidence late in games. We’ve got to be able to make kicks. It’s a number of things. Got to have stops. Got to have drives.”
Thompson, who replaced Alex Delton after a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the first half, played the final 30 minutes and finished 5 of 8 for 96 yards passing with the touchdown through the air. Delton started the prior three games for Jesse Ertz, who is sidelined with a knee injury.
Texas Tech defensive end Kolin Hill was ejected for targeting on the Delton hit, but he served his one-half suspension in the second half and will be eligible to play next week against Baylor.
Trailing 17-14 at halftime, Shimonek threw third-quarter scores to Keke Coutee and Dylan Cantrell of 34 yards and 1 yard, respectively, but he also threw a 25-yard pick-6 to cornerback Duke Shelley. Cantrell’s catch gave the Red Raiders a lead of 28-24 and came a split-second after Shimonek shook off blitzing defensive end Reggie Walker.
Texas Tech added a 22-yard touchdown reception from T.J. Vasher in the fourth quarter and Kansas State mustered a 30-yard field goal by Matthew McCrane ahead of tying the game.
Kansas State’s first-half lead could have been larger.
D.J. Reed’s punt return of more than 80 yards for a touchdown was initially negated by a holding call and, subsequently, Colby Moore’s targeting infraction on the play after video review.
Down 28-24 late in the third quarter, Thompson threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Zuber that was whistled back after Zuber drifted out of bounds before coming back in for the catch.
“To see the offense be down 10 points, come back, get the field goal, and then come back and get the touchdown and the 2-point conversion — I thought there was a lot of want-to,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “A lot of passion involved in that. A lot of confidence involved in it as well.”
Kansas State: Snyder’s squad took another blow at quarterback, but Skylar Thompson was serviceable against a program now on a four-game losing streak. The ante goes up next week when West Virginia visits.
Texas Tech: Kingsbury’s hot seat is sizzling. Saturday’s loss marked the Red Raiders’ fourth straight after a 4-1 start.
Kansas State: The Wildcats return home to host West Virginia, which is receiving votes in the AP poll.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders hit the road for a neutral-site game against Baylor at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
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