Kliff Kingsbury thought his Texas Tech offense needed igniting after the No. 25 Red Raider fell behind early to Kansas on Saturday.
So he substituted freshman quarterback Davis Webb for another freshman, Baker Mayfield. Webb had started the previous four games after Mayfield injured his left knee.
"I thought we needed a little spark," said Kingsbury, who doesn't allow freshman to speak to with media. "Baker got in there, moved around and did some good things, but I need to watch some film and really evaluate it."
The Red Raiders, who gave up more than 277 yards on the ground for a third straight game, need to find a way to stop the run next weekend when they travel to Dallas to take on No. 5 Baylor.
"We're playing another great rushing team next week, so we've got to come up with some answers," Kingsbury said.
Jake Waters and Daniel Sams each ran for two touchdowns and Waters passed for another score to lead Kansas State over Texas Tech 49-26.
Sams' TDs came on a 1-yard rush and a 5-yarder, and Waters scored from 1 yard and 13 yards.
Waters threw a 20-yard touchdown to Tramaine Thompson. John Hubert, who scored on a 63-yard run early in the game, finished with 157 yards on 23 carries to lead the Wildcats.
Ty Zimmerman scored a 43-yard touchdown after intercepting a pass from Texas Tech backup quarterback Baker Mayfield early in the fourth quarter.
The win was the third in a row for the Wildcats (5-4, 3-3 Big 12), while the Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3) dropped their third straight game.
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder was impressed with the Red Raiders.
"This is going to be a very, very fine football team down here," said Snyder, who got his 175th victory on Saturday. "They've got some youth to them."
Mayfield, who came in for starter Webb late in the second quarter, was 34 for 44 for 276 yards and two interceptions.
Waters was six of nine for 65 yards passing. He rushed for 38 yards on eight carries. Sams finished with 81 yards on 11 carries.
The Wildcats put the game out of reach when Mayfield was intercepted for the first time at Texas Tech's 43-yard line and Zimmerman returned it for a score less than a minute after a previous Kansas State touchdown.
Texas Tech slowed Kansas State's rushing game early in the third quarter. The Red Raiders, who were shut out in the second quarter, came away with points on each of their first two possessions of the second half. Mayfield ran for a 4-yard touchdown and Ryan Bustin kicked a 31-yard field goal to pull within 35-19.
Tyler Lockett led the Wildcats in receptions, getting 44 yards on four receptions.
The Wildcats got just 48 yards rushing in the third quarter and the bulk of those came on a key third-and-5 at the Red Raiders 30-yard line following an unsuccessful onside kick by Texas Tech. Sams started right but juked back left and went for 27 yards and a first down. Two plays later, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Sams scored from a yard out to put the Wildcats up 42-19.
Kansas State scored touchdowns on all but one of the Wildcats' six first-half possessions — their lone unsuccessful one when they took over on downs with a second remaining.
On the Wildcats' second play from scrimmage, Hubert ran left and scampered untouched along the far sideline for his 63-yard touchdown.
Eric Ward led Texas Tech with 11 catches for 107 yards.
Red Raiders receiver Jace Amaro, the Big 12's leader in receptions, continued his streak of games with at least eight catches. He finished with nine for 67 yards.
Mayfield's interceptions was his sixth and seventh of the season and Waters converted the backup's fumble into a touchdown when he found Thompson in the end zone.
Starting Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb was 13 for 20 for 78 yards and a touchdown before going out.
Kansas State scored touchdowns on all but one of its six first-half possessions — their only unsuccessful one came when they took over on downs with a second remaining.