2:10 PM ET, October 29, 2005
Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- With the wind at his back, all Mason Crosby wanted was a chance to put his strong right leg to work.
He just didn't expect that chance to come as quickly as it did.
"I was thinking probably overtime, but I was prepared," Crosby said Saturday after his 50-yard field goal with 6 seconds left lifted Colorado to a 23-20 victory over Kansas State and gave the Buffaloes sole possession of the Big 12 North lead.
Joel Klatt threw for 272 yards and one TD and became the career passing leader -- his 32nd school record -- for Colorado, the defending North champions. Missouri, next week's opponent for the Buffaloes, dropped a game off the lead with a 13-3 loss at Kansas.
Coach Gary Barnett wasn't thinking about the division race, though.
"I'm just so thankful to get out of here with a win," he said. "I'll think about that tomorrow."
The Buffaloes went three-and-out with just over a minute left, but Kansas State's Jermaine Moreira muffed John Torp's bouncing punt and Terry Washington recovered for Colorado at the Wildcats' 26 with 55 seconds remaining.
"I think I heard my heart crack," Kansas State defensive end Tearrius George said. "But we win as a team; we lose as a team. His mistake is my mistake. I can't single any one person out or any one play out."
It was even tougher for safety Marcus Watts to take. He made a diving grab for Klatt's pass on the play before the punt, but it was ruled incomplete.
"I felt like I intercepted that ball. I felt like it hit my hands before it hit the ground," Watts said. "I had my hands underneath it. It's a tough call for the officials, I understand that -- but it's tough when you've stopped them, they have to punt and it looks like it's going to go into overtime at the least."
Crosby's winning kick, pushed by a stiff south wind, was his third field goal of the game and his second from 50 yards or longer. He hit a 52-yarder in the second quarter for the Buffaloes (6-2, 4-1 Big 12), who won despite committing 116 yards in penalties.
Kansas State (4-4, 1-4) lost its third straight and dropped back-to-back home games for the first time since 1989, Bill Snyder's first season as coach. The Wildcats, whose last two losses came by a total of five points, must win two of their last three -- with two of those games on the road, at Nebraska and Iowa State -- to avoid sitting out consecutive bowl seasons for the first time since 1991-92.
The game was delayed 6 minutes after Washington's recovery because Moreira was injured in the scramble for the ball and had to be taken out of KSU Stadium by ambulance. His condition was not immediately available, but Snyder said Moreira was responsive before he left the field.
"I had a lot of time to think about it," Crosby said. "It seemed unreal, once it happened, because so much time went past."
When play resumed, Klatt took a knee twice -- losing a total of 7 yards -- before Crosby's game-winner.
"At that point, we knew we were in range, obviously, with Mason," Klatt said. "You guys have seen him kick all year. He was pretty confident. He just wanted the ball in the middle of the field, so that was what we were going to do. We thought we might as well take all the variables out of the equation."
The Wildcats had time for one more play, but a series of laterals and pitch-backs after Allan Evridge's pass to Davin Dennis resulted only in dropped balls and lost yardage.
The Buffaloes led 20-10 at the half, but the Wildcats tied it at 20 in the third quarter on Evridge's 3-yard keeper -- set up by backup tailback Carlos Alsup's twisting 23-yard carry to the Buffaloes' 3 -- and Jeff Snodgrass' 51-yard field goal.
Klatt broke Kordell Stewart's record of 6,481 career yards passing with a 20-yard completion to tight end Joe Klopfenstein in the second quarter. He finished with 6,579 career yards passing.
Klatt's 64-yard completion to Quinn Sypniewski -- against the wind, which gusted to 32 mph -- set up Lawrence Vickers' 1-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead just 86 seconds into the game. It was the only score at that end of the field.
Kansas State answered with Snodgrass' 48-yard field goal on its first possession and went up 10-7 on Thomas Clayton's 2-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, but Crosby's 52-yarder just over three minutes later tied it at 10 and started a 13-point surge for the Buffaloes.
Crosby added a 42-yarder midway through the second quarter after Clayton fumbled and Akarika Dawn recovered for Colorado. Klatt's 31-yard TD pass to Evan Judge less than two minutes later made it 20-10.
It was Klatt's 43rd career touchdown pass, extending his school record.
Kansas State's Jordy Nelson had his school-record streak of games with a touchdown catch broken at seven.