K-State Heads to Lawrence for Dillons Sunflower Showdown

Game 11
23/24 K-State at rv/rv Kansas

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2023

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

Location: Lawrence, Kan.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium (47,233)

Series: Kansas Leads, 64-51-5

TV: FS1 (watch)

Alex Faust (Play-by-Play)

Petros Papadakis (Analyst)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; k-statesports.com (Listen)

            Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)

            Stan Weber (Analyst)

            Matt Walters (Sidelines)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 132 or 200; SXM App 954

X Updates: @KStateFB

 Following dominating 59-25 home victory over Baylor in which it scored its most points in a Big 12 game since 2011, No. 23 Kansas State goes back on the road for the final time in the regular season when it heads east on I-70 to face in-state rival Kansas in Lawrence on Saturday night. The game will kick at 6 p.m. and be shown on FS1 with Alex Faust (play-by-play) and Petros Papadakis (analyst) on the call.

2) The Cats are one of seven Power 5 teams to rank in the top 25 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. They enter play this week ranked 12th by scoring 38.8 points per game. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 35.3 points per game, which includes hitting the 40-point mark in six games this season.

3) K-State’s ground game has led the way as it checks in at No. 14 in the country with 202.1 rushing yards per game. Senior quarterback Will Howard has had a resurgence over the last four weeks, throwing for 12 touchdowns with just one interception. In the last four games, he has tied a school record for passing touchdowns in a game (4) and also became the school’s career leader in touchdown passes (45).

4) Over the last three weeks, K-State has outscored its opponents, 171-61, and has won the turnover battle with a plus-10 margin thanks to eight interceptions, including a pick-six last week by Keenan Garber. Garber’s score was one of two by the defense against Baylor as Desmond Purnell returned a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time K-State had two defensive scores in a game since 2017.

5) The K-State defense enters the week ranked in the top 25 nationally in third down defense (3rd – 26.7%), pass efficiency defense (14th – 113.6), defensive touchdowns (18th – 2) and scoring defense (21st – 18.5 ppg). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season (37 games), K-State has allowed just 20.6 points per game to tie for 16th in the nation and second in the Big 12.

 – Rushing yards per game this season by K-State, which ranks 14th nationally heading into this weekend.

80.0 – Red-zone touchdown percentage by the Wildcats this season (40-of-50), which ranks fourth nationally.

26.7 – Third down percentage allowed by K-State, ranking third nationally and standing as its best mark since 1999 (22%).

13 – Number of turnovers the Wildcat defense has forced over the last five games (4-1 record in those games).

2 – Defensive touchdowns last week by K-State, its most in a Big 12 game since 2002 vs. Iowa State.


  • Two defensive touchdowns and four total scores from quarterback Will Howard propelled the Cats to a 59-25 win over Baylor last week. During the contest, Howard became K-State’s leader in career touchdown passes with 45, passing the mark of former first-round NFL Draft pick Josh Freeman.
  • K-State scored two defensive touchdowns in the game, the first time doing so since 2017 (Charlotte) and the first in a Big 12 game since Bobby Walker had two interception-return touchdowns against Iowa State in 2002.
  • In their last road game at No. 7 Texas, the Wildcats were down 27-7 in the third quarter before battling back to force overtime thanks in part to a blitz of 20 points over a span of 2 minutes, 42 seconds, but K-State eventually fell, 33-30, in overtime. The defense held the Horns to 171 yards in the second half, special teams blocked a punt, and Howard finished with a career high in passing yards (327) and tied his career highs in completions (26) and touchdown passes (4).


  • Saturday’s contest marks the 113th-consecutive year that K-State and Kansas will meet on the gridiron. It is the fourth-longest uninterrupted series in the FBS and will become the third-longest next year as Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are not scheduled to play.
  • In addition to the streak, this will be the 121st all-time meeting between the two schools, making it the ninth most-played rivalry in FBS history.


  • Kansas State has been on a solid streak over the past four-plus games. Since Texas Tech took a 21-17 lead over the Cats with 7:31 left in the third quarter of the October 14 contest, K-State has outscored its opponents, 192-61.
  • Other notables from the last five games include: 41.8 points per game – which ranks eighth nationally and fourth among Power 5 teams – 445.4 yards per game, and, perhaps most importantly, a plus-10 margin in turnovers.


  • Prior to the Texas Tech game, K-State ranked 105th nationally in turnover margin (minus-3) but has since flipped that script as it currently ranks 17th nationally with a plus-7 margin.
  • In the last five contests, K-State has forced 13 turnovers (eight interceptions, five fumbles) while only committing three (two fumbles, one interception).


  • Kansas State has three losses this season – all on the road – by a combined 14 points to teams ranked in the top 25 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25.
  • The Wildcats suffered a 30-27 loss at Missouri – now ranked No. 11 – on a last-second, SEC-record 61-yard field goal. Two games later, K-State lost, 29-21, at Oklahoma State, which is now ranked No. 24. Then the Wildcats came away three points short in a 33-30 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas.


  • K-State has a total of 220 victories since 1996, which is tied for 22nd nationally. Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (270), Texas (238), BYU (228) and TCU (228). Over the last 14 seasons, the Wildcats have won at least seven games 11 times.


  • Kansas State has a strong history of being in the postseason, as the Cats will advance to their 24th bowl game since 1993 at the end of this season, including their 12th in the last 14 years.
  • Entering the 2023 campaign, K-State’s 23 bowl trips since 1993 were tied for fourth among current Big 12 teams.
  • In an era when over 80 teams play in a bowl game each year, the Cats are one of just 19 Power 5 teams to play in a bowl game 11 times in the previous 13 years.


  • Kansas State has been one of the best Big 12 teams since the inception of the conference in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 138 conference victories, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas.
  • The Wildcats are also third in the conference in winning percentage since non-divisional play began in 2011. They sit at 60.0% (69-46), trailing only Oklahoma (77.2%; 88-26) and Oklahoma State (65.2%; 75-40).
  • During that stretch, the Wildcats are 39-19 (67.2%) at home in Big 12 play and 30-27 (52.6%) on the road.


  • A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 109-36 career record, as his 75.2% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons.
  • Klieman, who is 37-23 since arriving at K-State prior to the 2019 season, is also one of just 16 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 wins.


  • K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 24 seasons as it has 131 since 1999, seven more than the next closest team (Alabama – 124).
  • K-State recorded its first two non-offensive scores of 2023 against Baylor when linebacker Desmond Purnell returned a fumble 15 yards for a score, while cornerback Keenan Garber returned an interception 45 yards to paydirt. It was the first time K-State had two defensive scores since 2017 (Charlotte), while it was the first for a Big 12 game since 2002 (Iowa State).
  • Of the 131 non-offensive scores since 1999, 44 have been punt returns, 41 interception returns, 33 kickoff returns, 11 fumble returns and 2 missed/blocked field goal returns.

• K-State has scored at least 38 points in nine of its last 12 regular-season contests dating back to last season.

  • Since Collin Klein started calling plays for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State’s offense has averaged 35.3 points per game.
  • The Cats currently rank 12th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 38.8 points per game this season, a figure that ranks sixth in school history.

    • K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in 14 of 16 games against Big 12 foes dating back to last season, including the Big 12 Championship. During that stretch, the Wildcats held a 10-game conference game streak with 375 or more yards, the longest in school history.

  • The Cats enter this week’s game ranked 20th nationally by averaging 452.5 yards per game, a mark that currently ranks second in school history. They also currently rank sixth in school history with 6.24 yards per play.

    500 CLUB
    • The latest 500-yard output for the Wildcats came against TCU, a 587-yard effort that included 406 yards in the first half, which was the most by K-State in a half since at least 1999.

  • It was the sixth-most yards in a game in school history but the most ever against a conference opponent.
  • K-State tallied 588 yards in the opener against SEMO, the fifth-most in school history and most ever in a season opener.
  • This is the first year K-State has at least three 500-yard games since 2003 (535 vs. California; 503 at Iowa State; 561 at Nebraska; 519 vs. Oklahoma) and the first time with at least two in Big 12 play since 2014 (505 vs. Kansas and 535 vs. Texas Tech).


  • K-State has steadily been one of the top rushing attacks in the country this season as it ranks 14th nationally with 202.1 rushing yards per game.
  • The Wildcats are also tied for 12th nationally and first in the Big 12 with 25 rushing touchdowns.


  • A staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats are tied for second among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 176.
  • That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 18 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 194).
  • The Wildcats finished the 2022 season tied for eighth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+0.86 / game) and head into this week’s game ranked 17th (+0.70 / game).

• Since Collin Klein took over coaching the quarterbacks in 2017, K-State has only thrown 51 interceptions, equating to 0.60 per game.

  • K-State’s 51 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons are the fewest in the Big 12 and tied for sixth among Power 5 teams.


• Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the nation in terms of converting on third down, as the Wildcats are 11th nationally and second in the Big 12 with a 49.3% (67-of-136) success rate. K-State’s 67 total third-down conversions are tied for eighth in the country and are tops in the Big 12.

  • The Cats hit on 74.1% of their third-down attempts over the TCU and Houston games, nearly 10% higher than any other team in the country over those two weeks. K-State went 10-of-13 vs. TCU and 10-of-14 vs. Houston, marking the third time this season they converted on 10 attempts (Troy). It is the first season K-State has been successful on at least 10 third-down attempts in three different games since at least 1999.
  • The Wildcats are looking to finish over 50% on third downs in a season for the first time since 1998 (50.6% – 84-of-166).

    • Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the nation in turning red-zone trips into touchdowns, as the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally by finding paydirt on 80% percent of their red-zone possessions (40-of-50).

  • K-State’s 40 red-zone touchdowns this year rank nationally and four more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma – 36).
  • This year is a continuation of red-zone success under head coach Chris Klieman, as the Wildcats rank second in the Big 12 by scoring on 90.7% (214-of-236) of their overall red-zone trips since 2019. Oklahoma ranks first at 90.9% (269-of-296).

    • Playing in 32 career games with 25 starts, Will Howard has 45 career touchdown passes – including 21 this season – as he became the school’s career record holder during last week’s victory over Baylor. Howard passed former first-round NFL Draft pick Josh Freeman, who had 44 in his career (2006-08).

  • A product of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Howard now has his sights set on the school’s single-season record of 24 touchdown passes, which is currently held by Ell Roberson (2003). Howard’s 21 touchdown passes this year currently rank fifth in school history, second in the Big 12 (Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel – 25) and 16th nationally.

    • Will Howard produced his fifth game this year with at least three touchdown passes last week against Baylor.

  • He also had three scoring strikes this season against Troy, Missouri and TCU, and a school-record and career-high tying four against Texas.
  • Howard is the first K-State signal caller with at least five games throwing three or more passing touchdowns since Josh Freeman did so in five games during the 2008 season, while he is the first with three such games against Big 12 opponents since Ell Roberson in 2003 (4 at Oklahoma State, 3 vs. Colorado and Baylor, 4 vs. Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship).

• In addition to his touchdown passes, Will Howard ranks highly on many other K-State career and single-season lists.

  • Howard enters this week ranked fifth in school history in career passing yards (5,333), completion percentage (59.3), passing attempts (707), touchdowns responsible for (62) and total offense per game (193.4), tied for fifth in completions (421), and ranks sixth in passing efficiency (137.4) and passing yards per game (166.7).
  • In single-season categories, Howard ranks fifth in passing touchdowns (21) and ninth in completions (182), TDs responsible for (28) and passing efficiency (147.1). He is also just outside the top 10 in passing yards (2,190) and attempts (285).

• Will Howard has had a resurgence over the last four games, leading the Wildcats to three victories and a narrow 33-30 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas.

  • Over his first six games of the year, Howard averaged 218.3 passing yards per game on 112-of-182 (61.5%) aim with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
  • Over the last four contests, Howard is averaging 220.0 yards per game on 70-of-104 (67.3%) aim with 12 touchdowns and one pick.

• True freshman quarterback Avery Johnson rushed for five touchdowns at Texas Tech to tie the school record with current K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein (2011 vs. Texas A&M) and Jonathan Beasley (2000 vs. North Texas).

  • It is the most rushing touchdowns nationally in a game this year, while it is the most by any true freshman since Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine had five against Kansas in 2014.
  • Johnson’s five rushing scores are also the most by any true freshman quarterback in the nation since at least 1995, which makes it the most by a true freshman quarterback in Big 12 history. It was also the first time any Big 12 player had at least five rushing touchdowns since 2016.


  • Avery Johnson has six rushing touchdowns this season, which is tied for third in school history among freshmen. He is two shy of the record held by then-redshirt freshman fullback Ayo Saba in 2002 and one shy of tying the school’s true freshman record held by running back Deuce Vaughn in 2020.
  • Johnson’s six rushing touchdowns this year are the third most nationally among true freshmen, just two behind UNLV running back Jai’Den Thomas and Louisiana Tech running back Keith Willis Jr.

• Sophomore running back DJ Giddens has rushed for 859 yards and seven touchdowns this year in addition to collecting 282 receiving yards and two touchdowns, as he is one of just seven Big 12 running back over 1,000 scrimmage yards this season.

  • He has been efficient when he touches the ball, ranking fourth among Big 12 backs with 6.8 yards per touch (minimum 100 touches).
  • Giddens enters this week tied for 11th nationally with 39 touches that have gone for at least 10 yards.
  • A native of Junction City, Kansas, Giddens’ 6.01 yards per rush this year currently ranks fourth in school history, while he has 5.94 yards per rush in his career to rank second behind Darren Sproles (6.11 yds/rush – 2001-04).
  • Giddens is on the verge of the 17th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history.

• Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season, and that has continued in 2023 as he ranks fifth nationally and first in the Big 12 among tight ends with 501 receiving yards.

  • A product of Waterloo, Iowa, Sinnott enters this week’s game ranked third in school history among tight ends in single-season receiving yards and receptions (35), while he is tied for second in receiving touchdowns (4).
  • Sinnott also ranks second in school history among tight ends with eight career receiving touchdowns in addition to ranking third in receptions (68) and fourth in yards (963).

• Ben Sinnott’s skill set allows him to line up in many different spots. Through 10 games this season, the Waterloo, Iowa, product has lined up 392 times as an inline tight end, 137 times in the slot, 74 times in the backfield and 19 times out wide.

• The K-State defense switched from a four-man front to a 3-3-5 alignment in 2021, and the change has paid off.

  • In the 37 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.6 points per game, which is tied for 16th in the nation and ranks second in the Big 12.
  • The Wildcats surrendered just 21.0 points per game in 2021 and 21.9 points per game last year. It marked the first time K-State allowed less than 22.0 points per game in consecutive seasons since going 13-straight years from 1991 to 2003.
  • K-State enters the week ranked 21st nationally and second in the Big 12 by allowing 18.5 points per game. The last time the Wildcats allowed under 20.0 points per game in a season was 2003 (16.3).
  • The Wildcats have only allowed 20 touchdowns from scrimmage this year, which is tied for ninth nationally.

• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and five seven this year – under its season averages. Oklahoma State went over its season scoring average this season, but did so with only one offensive score, a pick-six and five field goals. Baylor also went over its average on a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining of a 34-point K-State victory.

  • Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 34 of their 43 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.


  • The Wildcats have been able to shut down opponents’ running game this season as they rank 31st nationally and third in the Big 12 by allowing just 119.0 rushing yards per game.
  • K-State has allowed less than 125 yards five times this year, including four times limiting its opponent to under 100 yards.
  • Kansas State’s current average ranks just outside the school’s top 10 and would be the fewest since allowing 111.7 rushing yards per game in 2017.
  • K-State has also allowed just seven rushing touchdowns this year, which is tied for 11th in the nation.


  • The Wildcats have been stingy when opponents enter the red zone as they are allowing touchdowns just 37.04% of the time (10-of-27), the fourth-best mark in the nation. The 10 touchdowns allowed are also tied for the third fewest in the nation.
  • It is a dramatic improvement from last season when K-State ranked 108th when 67.5% of opponents’ red-zone trips resulted in touchdowns.

• K-State has not allowed any of its 10 opponents this year to convert on greater than 42% of its third-down attempts, while the Wildcats have held opponents under 50% in 21 of 24 games dating back to the beginning of last season.

  • K-State enters this week ranked third nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 26.7 % of its third downs, its lowest rate since 1999 (22.3%).
  • The Wildcats have surrendered four or less third-down conversions each of the last five games against Texas Tech (4), TCU (2), Houston (3), Texas (2) and Baylor (4).

2 BY 2
• Two Kansas State secondary players – cornerback Jacob Parrish and safety Kobe Savage – have recorded two-interception games this season. Parrish’s came at Texas, while Savage snagged a pair at Texas Tech.

  • It is the first time since 2018 that K-State has two players with two-interception games. Additionally, Savage was the first K-State safety with two picks in a game since Travis Green against Texas Tech in 2014.
  • Parrish ranks sixth nationally in passes defended (1.3 per game).
  • Savage has five career picks to rank 11th nationally among active players in career interceptions per game (0.25).


  • K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore leads the team with 54 stops. However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss with 10.0 on the year, already equaling his total from last year.
  • A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least a half tackle for loss in 11 of his last 14 games dating back to last year, including a career-best 3.0 TFLs against SEMO.

• Since 2005 (18-plus seasons), K-State has a combined 60 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns, 21 more than second-place Alabama (39) and 26 more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma State – 34).

  • Of the 60 total returns, a nation-leading 31 are on kickoff returns. The next closest team is Houston with 21.
  • Entering 2023, K-State tallied a punt-return score in every season since 2014, as the nine-year stretch is the longest active streak in the nation.

• Special teams have been an area of emphasis under head coach Chris Klieman, and the stats back it up.

  • K-State is one of only two teams in the nation (Houston) with at least five kickoff-return touchdowns and five punt-return touchdowns since 2019.
  • On the flipside, K-State is one of just 10 returning FBS teams to not allow a kickoff- or punt-return touchdown since 2019, while the Wildcats are the only Big 12 team to lay that claim.

• K-State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 124 games and 411 returns without allowing opponents to find paydirt on a kickoff return.

  • The streak is the longest among the returning Big 12 teams.
  • Since K-State allowed its last kickoff-return touchdown, the Wildcats have scored 14 of their own.

• When sophomore Shane Porter blocked a punt in the second quarter at Texas, it not only provided the spark that K-State needed, but it also represented the sixth-straight season the Wildcats have blocked at least one punt.