MANHATTAN, Kansas (Ticker) -- Bill Snyder need not fear these difficult non-conference games after all.
Quarterback Ell Roberson ran for one touchdown and threw for another as 11th-ranked Kansas State built a 21-point lead and held on for a 27-20 victory over No. 11 Southern California.
Snyder, the coach of Kansas State and one-time assistant at USC, traditionally plays easy non-conference games. Last week, the Wildcats defeated Eastern Illinois, 63-13.
Saturday was the Wildcats' first home game against a ranked non-conference opponent in his 14 years as coach. By rising to the challenge, Kansas State (4-0) and Snyder can look forward to moving up in the rankings.
Roberson scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to James Terry on the first play of the final period to give the Wildcats a 27-6 lead.
But USC (2-1), seeking back-to-back road wins against ranked foes for the first time in 16 years, did not go quietly.
Carson Palmer threw a five-yard TD pass to Keary Colbert with 10:04 remaining and Sultan McCullough scored on a 25-yard run to cut the lead to seven points midway through the fourth quarter.
Kansas State appeared to put away the game with a long drive, but Roberson fumbled inside the USC 10 and the Trojans recovered in the end zone.
The Trojans moved into Kansas State territory on their final possession before Palmer's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.