MANHATTAN, Kan. –Missouri State (1-1) rolled up 447 total yards and scored three times in the second half, including 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, in a 48-24 road loss to Kansas State (2-0) here on Saturday in non-conference play.
The Bears fell behind 41-10 in the third quarter but cut the deficit to 17 after quarterback Cody Kirby connected with an 11-yard touchdown strike to Trevor Wooden on a fourth-and-goal play with 3:17 to go in the game. The touchdown pass capped what was essentially a 99 ½ yard touchdown drive that started at the Missouri State one and was moved half the distance to the goal on a false start penalty before the first snap. The drive took 18 plays.
Kirby finished with 281 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jermaine Saffold was his top target with a game-high eight catches for 113 yards, his second career 100-yard game.
Missouri State dug a 20-0 hole in the early going before Kirby and Saffold connected on a 66-yard touchdown strike with 1:22 to go in the first half. The 80-yard touchdown drive took just three plays and less than a minute.
The longest play of Saffold's career perhaps left too much time on the clock as K-State rallied 68 yards on four plays to close out the half with Carson Coffman's second touchdown pass of the period to make it 27-7 at the break.
The announced attendance of 48,672 marked the fourth-largest crowd ever for a Missouri State game.
Kansas State added to its lead early in the second half, going 80 yards on seven plays with Coffman's third touchdown pass of the game, connecting with Brodrick Smith for a second time, this time from seven yards out to make it 34-7 with 8:25 left in the third.
Missouri State answered with a 22-yard field goal by Jordan Chiles at the 4:18 mark of the third to make it 34-10. The impressive drive covered 58 yards in 13 plays and consumed 4:07.
As it did all night, Kansas State found an answer on the ensuing drive, converting a third-and-20 on the way to an 8-play, 56-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 21-yard scoring run by Daniel Thomas. Thomas finished with a game-high 137 yards on 21 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Bears made it 41-17 on a one-yard touchdown run by Chris Douglas. Douglas appeared to be stopped in his tracks at the three, but spun away from a defender to cap a 74-yard scoring drive that took 100 seconds and five plays.
Douglas finished with 12 carries for 49 yards, just behind Kirby who had 10 carries for 52 yards -- his best rushing effort in seven games. Kirby's 333 yards of total offense was the second-highest total of his career as the senior signal caller made his 32nd straight start. He was sacked just once on the night and did not throw an interception.
The 99-yard touchdown drive with 3:17 left in the game made it a respectable 41-24 and was Wooden's first touchdown reception.
The Wildcats closed out the night with a 39-yard touchdown run by William Powell after the Bears' attempt at an on-sides kick failed and gave K-State a short field. Two plays later, Powell broke free around the left side and found paydirt to make it a 48-24 final.
Missouri State will have a week off before beginning Missouri Valley Conference play on Sept. 25 at Illinois State (1-1).
The Bears dropped to 1-25 all-time against teams from the the other Division I football classification, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which allows for 22 more scholarships than the 63 in Division I FCS.