25/rv K-State at 7/6 Texas
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Kickoff: 11 a.m.
Location: Austin, Texas
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (100,119)
Series: Texas Leads, 13-10
TV: FOX (watch)
Gus Johnson (Play-by-Play)
Joel Klatt (Analyst)
Jenny Taft (Sidelines)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 109 or 200; SXM App 954
X Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Following two dominating home wins over TCU and Houston, Kansas State heads back out on the road as the 25th-ranked Wildcats travel to Austin, Texas, to square off against the seventh-ranked Longhorns. The game will kick at 11 a.m. and be televised nationally on FOX with Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst) and Jenny Taft (sidelines) calling the action.
2) The Cats are one of six Power 5 teams to rank in the top 15 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. They enter play this week ranked 13th by scoring 37.4 points per game. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 34.5 points per game, which includes five games this season of 40 or more points.
3) K-State’s ground game has led the way as it checks in at No. 5 in the country with 226.0 rushing yards per game. Senior Will Howard and freshman Avery Johnson have both directed a K-State offense over the last three weeks that has averaged 40 points and 472 yards per game. Howard has thrown for five touchdowns with no interceptions, while Johnson has five rushing touchdowns and two passing scores.
4) Last week against Houston, the Kansas State defense blanked the Cougars, 41-0, as the Wildcats have not given up a touchdown since the 7:31 mark of the third quarter in the Texas Tech game, yielding only three points during that stretch (142:31). Over the last two seasons, K-State has held 14 of its 15 Big 12 opponents under its season scoring averaging entering the game.
5) The K-State defense enters the week ranked in the top 25 nationally in third down defense (6th – 28.9%), scoring defense (14th – 15.9 ppg), pass efficiency defense (16th – 114.14) and rushing defense (23rd – 109.4 yds/gm). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season, K-State has allowed just 20.2 points per game to tie for 15th in the nation and first in the Big 12.
226.0 – Rushing yards per game this season by K-State, which ranks fifth nationally and second among Power 5 programs.
82.5 – Red-zone touchdown percentage by the Wildcats this season (33-of-40), which ranks second nationally (Rice – 83.3%).
75.5 – Career winning % by Chris Klieman, which ranks fourth nationally among FBS coaches with at least 10 years experience.
74.1 – Percentage of third downs converted by the Wildcat offense in the last two games (20-of-27).
3 – Number of total points given up by K-State in the last nine quarters (outscored opponents, 89-3)
- K-State dominated in all three phases in a 41-0 shutout win over Houston. Will Howard started the game 12-for-12 through the air and finished 15-of-17 for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while DJ Giddens rushed for 96 yards and two scores.
- Defensively, the Cats shut out the Cougars while forcing two turnovers. It was the first time a Houston team had been kept off the scoreboard since 2000. Houston had been averaging 28.9 points per game entering the contest.
- Prior to that, the Cats recorded a 41-3 win over TCU. Howard and Avery Johnson both engineered a Wildcat offense that generated 406 total yards in the first half and 587 for the game. The Cats ran for a season-high 343 yards on the ground as nine different Wildcats carried the ball, the most ball carriers since nine players also logged a rush at Kansas in 2021.
- Defensively, the Cats kept the Frogs out of the end zone for the first time this season and held them to three total points. TCU averaged more than 33 points per game entering the contest.
- In K-State’s last road game, the Wildcats earned a 38-21 victory at Texas Tech for their eighth-straight win in the series.
- K-State rushed for 272 yards and forced three Red Raider turnovers. Johnson ran for five scores, while running back Treshaun Ward had a big night with 118 yards on 15 carries.
- Defensively, Kobe Savage picked off two Tech passes en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
LAST NINE QUARTERS
- Kansas State has been dominant during its current three-game winning streak. Since Texas Tech took a 21-17 lead over the Cats with 7:31 left in the third quarter of the October 14 contest, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 103-3.
- Other notables from the last three games include: 40 points scored per game, 472.0 average total yards and perhaps most importantly, a plus-5 margin in turnovers.
TO’s MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
- 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 47th nationally with a +2 margin.
- In the last three contests, K-State has forced six turnovers while only committing one.
BIG 12 ROAD SUCCESS
- Kansas State has historically been one of the best teams in the Big 12 in road game success. Since the conference’s formation in 1996, the Wildcats rank third in Big 12 road wins with 57 victories, behind only Oklahoma (70) and Texas (67).
- On its way to a Big 12 Championship last season, K-State went 4-1 in road Big 12 games.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
- K-State has a total of 219 victories since 1996, which ranks 23rd nationally. Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (269), Texas (236), BYU (228) and TCU (228). Over the last 13 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 season, 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 were one of just 19 Power 5 teams to play in a bowl game 11 times in the previous 13 years.
A WINNING TRADITION
- Kansas State has been one of the best Big 12 teams since the inception of the conference in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 137 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 60.2% (68-45), trailing only Oklahoma (77.7%; 87-25) and Oklahoma State (65.5%; 74-39), and that trio of teams are the are the only ones with a league winning percentage greater than 60.0% over the last 13 years.
- During that stretch, the Wildcats are 38-19 (66.7%) at home in Big 12 play and 30-26 (53.6%) on the road.
A WINNING HISTORY
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 108-35 career record, as his 75.5% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons.
- Klieman, who is 36-22 since arriving at K-State prior to the 2019 season, is also one of just 15 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 wins.
- He also holds a 7-7 record against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 5-3 mark against top-10 teams.
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TDs
- K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 24 seasons as it has 129 since 1999, five more than the next closest team (Alabama – 124).
- Of the 129 non-offensive scores since 1999, 44 have been punt returns, 40 interception returns, 33 kickoff returns, 10 fumble returns and 2 missed/blocked field goal returns.
• K-State has scored at least 38 points in eight of its last 10 regular-season contests dating back to last season, its most in a 10-game stretch since doing so nine times over the 2002 and 2003 seasons
- Included in that stretch was a three-game streak of Big 12 regular-season games with at least 40 points, the longest by the Wildcats since 2012 when they had 55 points against both West Virginia and Texas Tech, and 44 points against Oklahoma State.
- Since Collin Klein started calling plays for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State’s offense has averaged 34.5 points per game.
- The Cats currently rank 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 37.4 points per game this season, a figure that ranks sixth in school history.
• K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in 13 of 14 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, the longest in school history.
- The 2023 opener against SEMO saw the Cats total 588 yards, the fifth-most in school history, most ever in a season opener.
- The Cats enter this week’s game ranked 15th nationally by averaging 464.6 yards per game, a mark that currently ranks second in school history. They also currently rank second in school history with 6.39 yards per play.
• 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.
- 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).
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
- K-State has steadily been one of the top rushing attacks in the country this season as it ranks fifth nationally and second among Power 5 programs with 226.0 rushing yards per game.
- The Wildcats are also tied for fifth nationally and rank first in the Big 12 with 23 rushing touchdowns.
- As of late, the Wildcats have rushed for 200 or more yards in four of the last five games, their most in a five-game Big 12 stretch since doing so in six-straight games in 2016.
RUSHING TO VICTORY
- A staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats rank second in the nation among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 174.
- That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 16 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 190).
- 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 42nd (+0.25 / game).
PUTTING IT WHERE ONLY OUR GUY CAN GET IT
• Since Collin Klein took over coaching the quarterbacks in 2017, K-State has only thrown 50 interceptions, equating to 0.60 per game.
- K-State’s 50 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons are the fewest in the Big 12 and tied for sixth in the nation.
PRODUCING A CLEAN POCKET
• K-State has excelled in pass blocking since offensive line coach Conor Riley arrived in 2019, as the Cats have allowed fewer than 2.0 sacks per game each of the last four seasons. It is the Wildcats’ first four-year stretch under 2.0 sacks allowed per game since 1997 to 2000.
- K-State is the only Big 12 program – including the four new programs in 2023 – to currently hold a streak of at least four years allowing less than 2.0 sacks per game each season, and the Wildcats are only one of 10 FBS programs to lay that claim.
- Midway through the 2023 season, K-State ranks 28th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 by allowing just 1.38 sacks per game.
KEEPING IT 100
• Those that produced the clean pocket for the Wildcats last year all return as K-State brought back 100% of its 70 starts along the offensive line from a year ago.
- To open the 2023 campaign, the Wildcats brought back a nation-leading 116 starts from their starting unit from last season. K-State also ranked 12th nationally in total returning games played among all offensive linemen with 204.
THIRD DOWN SUCCESS
• Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the nation in terms of converting on third down, as the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally with a 55.0% success rate. That figure includes a 74.1% mark the last two weeks, nearly 10% higher than any other team in the country.
- Through eight games, K-State has converted on 61-of-111 third downs, which included 10-of-13 conversions against TCU and 10-of-14 against Houston. It was the third time this season the Wildcats converted 10 third-down attempts (Troy).
- This 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 have not finished over 50% on third downs in a season since 1998 (50.6% – 84-of-166).
RED ZONE SUCCESS
• 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 second nationally by finding paydirt on 82.5% percent of their red-zone possessions (33-of-40). Rice leads the nation by converting on an 83.3% clip (25-of-30).
- K-State’s 33 red-zone touchdowns this year are second nationally to USC (34) and four more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma – 29).
- This year is a continuation of red-zone success under head coach Chris Klieman, as the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 by scoring on 91.2% of their overall red-zone trips since 2019. The only other team to go over 90.0% is Oklahoma (90.6%).
RANKING HIGH ON THE CHARTS
• Playing in 30 career games with 23 starts, Will Howard has started to enter career top-10 lists in K-State history.
- The Downingtown, Pennsylvania, native ranks fourth in school history in career passing touchdowns (38), while he is seventh in passing yards per game (159.0), completions (376) and passing efficiency (134.7), eighth in passing yards (4,771), total offense (5,654) and TDs responsible for (54), and tied for eighth in attempts (637).
- Howard has 14 passing touchdowns this season, three shy of entering the school’s single-season top-10 list.
THEY COME IN THREES
• Will Howard produced his third game this year with three touchdown passes when he hit the mark against TCU en route to being named the Senior Bowl Offensive Player of the Week.
- Howard, who also had three passing touchdowns against Troy and Missouri, is the first K-State signal caller with at least three games throwing three or more passing touchdowns since Jake Waters against West Virginia, Oklahoma and Michigan in 2013.
FIVE FOR THE FRESHMAN
• 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.
- For his effort at Texas Tech, Johnson was named the National True Freshman of the Week by 247Sports and On3 in addition to being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
RUNNING TO PAYDIRT
- 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 second most nationally among true freshmen, just two behind UNLV running back Jai’Den Thomas.
GIDDENS GETTING IT DONE
• Sophomore running back DJ Giddens has rushed for 722 yards and seven touchdowns this year in addition to 240 receiving yards on 21 catches, as his 962 yards from scrimmage this year ranks fifth in the Big 12.
- He has been efficient when he touches the ball, ranking third in the Big 12 with 7.0 yards per touch (minimum 100 touches).
- Giddens enters this week tied for 10th nationally with 26 carries that have gone for at least 10 yards.
- A native of Junction City, Kansas, Giddens’ 6.22 yards per rush this year currently ranks third in school history, while he has 6.05 yards per rush in his career to rank second behind Darren Sproles (6.11 yds/rush – 2001-04).
HAVE A GAME, DJ
• DJ Giddens’ best game this year came against UCF when he produced the first 200-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance in school history en route to Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
- It is one of only three 200-yard, four-touchdown rushing performances in the nation this year and one of just 23 in the 28-year history of the Big 12.
• Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season, and that has continued in 2023 as he is tied for seventh nationally and ranks first in the Big 12 among tight ends with 45.5 receiving yards per game.
- Included in that total is a career-high 100-yard effort against SEMO, the first K-State tight end with a 100-yard receiving game since Jeron Mastrud at Kansas in 2006 (103 yards).
- Sinnott enters this week’s game with seven career receiving touchdowns to rank second in school history by a tight end (Henry Childs, 10, 1971-73). He also has 60 career catches and 826 career receiving yards to rank fourth in both categories.
SWISS ARMY KNIFE
• Ben Sinnott’s skill set allows him to line up in many different spots. Thus far in 2023, the Waterloo, Iowa, product has lined up 305 times as an inline tight end, 95 times in the slot, 68 times in the backfield and 17 times as a true wide receiver.
A BIG TURNAROUND
• 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 35 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.2 points per game, which ranks 15th in the nation and tops 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 14th nationally and first in the Big 12 by allowing 15.9 points per game. The last time the Wildcats allowed under 20.0 points per game in a season was 2003 (16.3).
• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and four of the first five in 2023 – 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.
- The most dramatic difference this season came when K-State surrendered just three points to a TCU team that was averaging 33.1 points per game entering the contest.
- Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 34 of their 42 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.
STOPPING THE RUN
- The Wildcats have been able to shut down opponents’ running game this season as they rank 23rd nationally and second in the Big 12 by allowing just 109.4 rushing yards per game.
- K-State has allowed less than 125 yards four times this year, including three times limiting its opponent to under 100 yards.
- Kansas State’s current average ranks seventh in school history and would be the best mark since allowing 105.4 rushing yards per game in 2009.
DEFENSIVE RED ZONE SUCCESS
- The Wildcats have been stingy when opponents enter the red zone as they are allowing touchdowns just 30.0% of the time (6-of-20), the third-best mark 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.
LIVING IN THE BACKFIELD
- K-State has totaled 53 tackles for loss over the first eight games to rank 28th in the nation and third in the Big 12.
- The Wildcats began the year with five-straight games of at least seven tackles for loss, their longest streak since carding at least five in every game during the 1997 season.
LATE DOWN STOPS
• K-State has not allowed any of its eight opponents this year to convert on greater than 42% of its third-down attempts, while the Wildcats have held opponents under 50% in 19 of 22 games dating back to the beginning of last season.
- K-State enters this week ranked sixth nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 28.9% of its third downs.
BACK FOR MOORE
• K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore is tied for team-high honors with 43 tackles.
- However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss with 9.0 on the year.
- A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least a half tackle for loss in 10 of his last 12 games dating back to last year, including a career-best 3.0 TFLs against SEMO.
SAVAGE SNAGS A PAIR
- Senior safety Kobe Savage, who is tied with Austin Moore for the team lead in tackles, hauled in two interceptions at Texas Tech. It was the first multi-interception game by a Wildcat since Kevion McGee had a pair in the 2018 finale at Iowa State.
- Savage became the first K-State safety with two picks in a game since Travis Green had two against Texas Tech in 2014.
- A product of Paris, Texas, Savage now has five career interceptions as he ranks eighth nationally among active players in career interceptions per game (0.28). Additionally, he ranks 17th nationally among active players with 4.11 solo tackles per game.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• One of the main reasons the Wildcats have been a successful program the last three decades is a knack for momentum-swinging plays in the return game.
- Since 2005 (18-plus seasons), the Wildcats have 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.
DEFENSE ON KICK RETURNS
• K-State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 122 games and 401 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.