LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury thought his offense needed to be ignited after the 25th-ranked Red Raiders fell behind early to Kansas State on Saturday.
So he substituted one freshman quarterback for another — Davis Webb for 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."
It wasn't the offense, however, as the Red Raiders gave up more than 277 yards rushing for a third straight game, falling 49-26 to the Wildcats.
They need to find a way to stop the run by next weekend when they travel to Dallas to face 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 both ran for two touchdowns and Waters passed for another score for Kansas State.
Sams' TDs came on runs of 1 and 5 yards, and Waters scored on runs of 1 and 13 yards.
Waters threw a 20-yard touchdown pass 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 intercepted Mayfield and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, less than a minute after another Kansas State touchdown.
The win was the third straight for the Wildcats (5-4, 3-3 Big 12), while the Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3) dropped their third straight.
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 Webb late in the second quarter, was 34 for 44 for 276 yards and two interceptions.
Waters was 6 of 9 for 65 yards. He rushed for 38 yards on eight carries. Sams finished with 81 yards on 11 carries.
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 of the Wildcats had 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 were 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.
Webb was 13 of 20 for 78 yards and a touchdown.