MANHATTAN — The Kansas State Wildcats were not about to let a blown lead blow their regular-season finale on senior night.
Not even on a night when an 18 mph cross-wind was a major factor.
After squandering a two-touchdown advantage and allowing Iowa State to take its only lead midway through the third quarter, the Wildcats regrouped to score the final 13 points and knock off the Cyclones, 27-17, Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
With the victory, the Wildcats finished their first regular season under coach Chris Klieman at 8-4 with a 5-4 Big 12 record. That left them in a four-way tie for third in the league with Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State (7-5, 5-4).
And the Wildcats beat the elements — including the Cyclones — by leaning on a stout running game, their harbinger for success all season. Of their 288 yards total offense, 231 came on the ground.
Iowa State, on the other hand, was limited to 236 total yards and just 57 rushing.
"Without question, we played an excellent football game," Klieman said. "Was it perfect? No, but the conditions weren't perfect, either.
"I told the guys, 'You can't control the conditions, you've just got to fight through and play through the conditions,' and it was obviously very, very windy out there. It affected a lot of plays, it affected a lot of balls."
With starter James Gilbert continuing to battle injuries, the Wildcats turned to their other graduate transfer, Jordon Brown, and true freshman Jacardia Wright to carry the load in the running game. A 93-yard touchdown return from Joshua Youngblood on the game's opening kickoff didn't hurt, either.
"It just felt good to be out there, feeling like myself again," said Brown, who finished with 91 yards on 19 carries, including a 15-yard touchdown with 10:24 left that put K-State in front for good.
Wright, playing in just his second game and available for the upcoming bowl game without burning his redshirt year, had 60 yards on six carries with a 12-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
The Wildcats also didn't flinch after Iowa State took advantage of a second straight Skylar Thompson turnover — a fumble and interception — to lead for the first time on Connor Assalley's 36-yard field goal with 6:49 left in the third quarter. Instead they immediately put together a drive of their own to tie it on Blake Lynch's 43-yard field goal with 1:31 left in the period.
They then put the game out of reach with a 10-point fourth period.
Thompson credited the defense for allowing K-State to right the ship.
"That's huge, especially on turnovers when the momentum seems to be shifting," said Thompson, who completed just 5 of 12 passes for 57 yards — including several drops by his receivers. "For our defense to hold up and stick their feet in the ground and get them into a field goal is huge.
"Our defense really takes pride in bending, but (not) breaking, and getting down in the red zone they really want to get them to kick field goals rather than score touchdowns. That's just a prime example of that, and our defense played great today."
A pair of fourth-down conversions led to both of Iowa State's first-half touchdowns — the game was tied 14-14 at the break — but the Cyclones were just 1 of 13 on third down.
"The defense was dynamite," Klieman said. "They were one of 13 on third down and I liked Coach Haze's (defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton) plan coming into it. I thought our coverage was really good.
"We were sloppy in the first half tackling, but it never really hurt us that bad. And then I thought the defensive line really got after 'em all day."
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy completed 15 of 30 passes for 185 yards and while he was sacked just once, the Wildcats were credited with six hurries, including three by Wyatt Hubert.
K-State used an eight-play, 53-yard drive to go in front to stay following a short Iowa State punt with Brown picking up the last 15 yards. Thompson also had a 12-yard run on third down to extend the drive.
Iowa State scored twice in the last six minutes of the half, tying it at 14 on Breece Hall's 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 42 seconds left.
Tarique Milton's 60-yard catch and run set up the score on a five-play, 80-yard drive.
Milton also facilitated the Cyclones' first touchdown with a 36-yard punt return to the K-State 43-yard line. Iowa State also converted a fourth-and-13 with a 13-yard pass from Brock Purdy to La'Michael Pettway to keep the drive alive before Purdy found Sean Shaw on a 15-yarder for the score with 5:59 left in the half.
K-State built a 14-0 lead with one quick strike and a meticulous 98-yard drive. The first came on Youngblood's kickoff return, but the other took 6 minutes, 53 seconds and 13 plays before Wright scored from the 12.
K-State now will wait until next Sunday to learn its bowl destination.