Austen Arnaud returned from the locker room with his pads on and quickly got to warming up. With him came hopes of leading the offense on another drive to provide the game's seventh and final lead change, but Kansas State defensive end Brandon Harold ended those hopes by forcing a fumble.
Harold sacked Arnaud on a third-and-10 in Iowa State territory, his second sack of the season, and ended a drive by Arnaud that featured two fourth-down conversions to keep the game alive.
Kansas State added a field goal while the Cyclones burned their timeouts, and Iowa State's final drive reached Kansas State territory, but an Arnaud incompletion on fourth down ended a dramatic 27-20 Wildcats win.
Daniel Thomas finished with 181 yards on 34 carries.
Iowa State has to feel good about not losing its experienced quarterback for an extended period of time, but for a team hoping to surprise with a second consecutive bowl appearance, winnable games like today's are running thin. Iowa State still has games against Utah, Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma -- all top 15 opponents -- on its schedule, and at 1-2, it now must win its other five games or spring an upset to reach a bowl game.
Meanwhile, 3-0 Kansas State has yet to play a team that can slow Thomas, who now has 552 yards in just three games. (Perspective alert: That's the same number of yards as Texas' leading rusher in 2009, Tre Newton.) Nebraska has the best chance to do it in a Thursday night game in a little less than three weeks, but with UCF coming to town next week, the Wildcats should be 4-0 when they host the Huskers.
Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter needs 139 yards tonight against Tulsa to regain the Big 12's rushing lead.