LUBBOCK, Texas — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder needs his team to start faster, a failing that ailed his team again Saturday as the Wildcats lost their sixth straight, falling to Texas Tech 59-44.
"I mean, it's that simple," he said. "You go back and take a look at ... the past five, six ball games and we've just not been able to be functional in the first five real series. That puts you behind."
Tech's Patrick Mahomes threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Justin Stockton, and DeAndre Washington rushed for three more.
The win snapped a three-game skid and made the Red Raiders bowl eligible.
The loss extended the Wildcats winless streak to six, a first since 1989.
Mahomes completed 33 of 42 passes and rushed for a touchdown for Texas Tech (6-5, 3-5 Big 12).
"He was very accurate," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Mahomes' poise. "I thought he played an efficient game, had a couple of throws we would like back, we had some things that he wanted back, but for the most part, I thought he stayed within himself and that's something we've been working on."
Stockton's touchdowns were for 17 and 20 yards. He also rushed for a 7-yard score. Mahomes' other touchdown pass was a 19-yarder to Devin Lauderdale.
Washington scored from 80 yards, a career-long, 5 yards and 12 yards and finished with a career-high 248 yards.
Kansas State (3-6, 0-6) quarterback Joe Hubener rushed for three 1-yard touchdowns and threw for two more. Morgan Burns added a TD on a 93-yard kickoff return.
Hubener threw both his touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats tried for a second comeback. He found Dominique Heath for a 6-yard score and a 33-yard touchdown to Kyle Klein. An onside kick kept the Wildcats in it, but trailing 52-41 they needed a touchdown. They settled for a 43-yard field goal to whittle the deficit to 52-44.
In order for Kansas State to go to a bowl this year the Wildcats need to win their remaining games against Iowa State, Kansas and West Virginia.
"Now it's crunch time," Hubener said. "We have to win out. We have to win these next three. That one would have given us some cushion, unfortunately it didn't turn out that way in the end, but I think our guys are still positive."
Washington's rushing yardage was the first time since 1999 that Texas Tech has had a 200-plus-yard game when Shaud Williams had 230 against Colorado.
Texas Tech let a 21-point lead dwindle to 7 points early in the third quarter after Hubener scored his third touchdown. The 1-yard score came after Washington fumbled deep in Texas Tech territory.
A turnover by the Wildcats turned into a touchdown for the Red Raiders in the first quarter. Zach Reuter fumbled after catching a 10-yard pass from Hubener and JahShawn Johnson recovered. Four plays later Stockton scooted around end for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 28-7 late in the first quarter.
Both teams had big plays in the first half. Kansas State's Burns got his third career kickoff return for a touchdown on a 93-yarder and his second this season. The first play of the season Burns returned a kickoff 100 yards.
Washington's 80-yard scamper for score was a career long for him and was the team's longest run of the season.
The Red Raiders scored on five of their first seven possessions and the Wildcats, who got touchdowns on three of their first seven possessions, struggled to keep pace.