Iowa State at 19/20 K-State
Date: Saturday, November 25, 2023
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
Series: Iowa State Leads, 52-50-4
TV: FOX (watch)
Tim Brando (Play-by-Play)
Spencer Tillman (Analyst)
Josh Sims (Sidelines)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 83; SXM App 83
X Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Following a 31-27 comeback win over in-state rival Kansas, No. 19 Kansas State closes out the regular season Saturday as Iowa State visits Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Senior Night. The game will kick at 7 p.m. and be shown on FOX with Tim Brando (play-by-play), Spencer Tillman (analyst) and Josh Sims (sidelines) on the call. The Cats are looking for a perfect 7-0 home record this season.
2) K-State is one of nine Power 5 teams to rank in the top 25 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wildcats enter play this week ranked 13th by scoring 37.9 points per game. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 35.1 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. 16 in the country (198.8 rushing yards per game), but it has been senior quarterback Will Howard that has had a resurgence over the last five weeks, throwing for 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions. His 7.00 TD-to-INT ratio ranks 11th nationally and leads the Big 12, more than double the player in second place (Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel – 3.67).
4) Over the last five weeks, K-State has outscored its opponents, 239-109, and has won the turnover battle with a plus-12 margin thanks to 10 interceptions, including a game-saving pick last week by Marques Sigle. Against Baylor, K-State scored two defensive touchdowns (Keenan Garber pick six and Desmond Purnell fumble return) for the first time since 2017.
5) The K-State defense enters the week ranked in the top 25 nationally in third down defense (5th – 28.0%), pass efficiency defense (14th – 115.1), scoring defense (22nd – 19.3 ppg) and defensive touchdowns (22nd – 2). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season (38 games), K-State has allowed just 20.8 points per game to rank 17th in the nation and second in the Big 12.
198.8 – Rushing yards per game this season by K-State, which ranks 16th nationally heading into this weekend.
81.5 – Red-zone touchdown percentage by the Wildcats this season (44-of-54), which ranks tops nationally.
28.0 – Total third down percentage allowed by K-State, ranking 5th nationally and standing as its best mark since 2019 (28%).
16 – Number of turnovers the Wildcat defense has forced over the last six games (5-1 record in those games).
5 – K-State’s defense has not allowed more than five third down conversions in a game over the last six weeks.
- The Cats rallied from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to knock off in-state rival Kansas last week, 31-27, which represented K-State’s 15th-straight win over the Jayhawks.
- Will Howard’s 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Marques Sigle’s late interception in the end zone capped the comeback.
- K-State trailed, 27-16, just 1:32 into the third quarter following a KU touchdown. Over the final 28:28 of the game, the Wildcats outscored the Jayhawks, 15-0, and held the ball for 16:30 of game time, including the final 5:33 of the game after Sigle’s interception in the end zone.
- In their last home game, two defensive touchdowns and four total scores from Howard propelled the Cats to a 59-25 win over Baylor. During the contest, Howard became K-State’s leader in career touchdown passes – a mark that now stands at 47 – passing former first-round NFL Draft pick Josh Freeman (44).
- 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.
- Saturday night’s contest against Iowa State will see 25 players be honored on Senior Night.
- The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 13 Senior Day games dating back to 2010 and are looking for consecutive Senior Day victories for the first time since 2018 and 2019.
HOME SWEET HOME
- Kansas State is 6-0 at home this season and has won seven-straight home games dating back to last year.
- The Wildcats are in search of their seventh undefeated home slate in school history and first since 2012. The other undefeated home ledgers include the 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998 and 1999 campaigns.
- K-State will also be looking to tie the school record for home victories in a season with seven, a feat that was also matched by the 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2012 squads.
- The Wildcats’ current seven-game home winning streak is its longest since winning 12-straight games over the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
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 11th nationally with a plus-9 margin and 16th nationally in turnovers gained (20).
- In the last six contests, K-State has forced a nation-leading 16 turnovers (10 interceptions, six fumbles) while only committing four (two fumbles, two interceptions).
OH, SO CLOSE
- 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. 10 – 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. 21. Then the Wildcats came away three points short in a 33-30 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
- K-State has 221 victories since 1996, which ranks 22nd nationally. Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (271), Texas (239), TCU (229) and BYU (228).
- Over the last 13 seasons, the Wildcats have won at least eight games 10 times. That is the second-most among current Big 12 teams (Oklahoma – 12).
- 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.
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 139 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 60.3% (70-46), trailing only Oklahoma (77.4%; 89-26) and Oklahoma State (65.5%; 76-40).
- During that stretch, the Wildcats are 39-19 (67.2%) at home in Big 12 play and 31-27 (53.4%) on the road.
A CULTURE OF WINNING
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 110-36 career record, as his 75.3% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons.
- Klieman, who is 38-23 since arriving at K-State prior to the 2019 season, is also one of just 13 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 110 career wins.
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 131 since 1999, six more than the next closest team (Alabama – 125).
- 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 in a game 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 13 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 35.1 points per game to tie for 16th nationally and second in the Big 12 (OU – 36.9).
- The Cats currently rank 13th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 37.9 points per game this season, a figure that ranks sixth in school history.
• K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in 14 of 17 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 23rd nationally by averaging 441.5 yards per game, a mark that currently ranks second in school history. They also currently rank seventh in school history with 6.18 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.
- 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).
RUSHING TO VICTORY
- K-State has steadily been one of the top rushing attacks in the country this season as it ranks 16th nationally with 198.8 rushing yards per game.
- The Wildcats are also tied for 15th nationally and rank second in the Big 12 with 27 rushing touchdowns.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
- A staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats rank third among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 177.
- That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 17 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 tied for 11th in the country and second in the Big 12 (+0.82 / 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 52 interceptions, equating to 0.60 per game.
- K-State’s 52 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons are tied for the fewest among returning Big 12 programs and sixth among Power 5 teams.
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 are 10th nationally and second in the Big 12 with a 49.7% (75-of-151) success rate. K-State’s 75 total third-down conversions are tied for seventh in the country and first 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).
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 nation by finding paydirt on 81.48 % percent of their red-zone possessions (44-of-54).
- K-State’s 44 red-zone touchdowns this year rank second nationally and are six more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma – 38).
- This year is a continuation of red-zone success under head coach Chris Klieman, as the Wildcats lead in the Big 12 by scoring on 90.8% (218-of-240) of their overall red-zone trips since 2019, just ahead of Oklahoma (90.7%).
THE ALL-TIME LEADER
• Playing in 33 career games with 26 starts, Will Howard has 47 career touchdown passes – including 23 this season – as he became the school’s career record holder during the 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 23 touchdown passes this year are tied for second in school history with Michael Bishop (1998), rank second in the Big 12 (Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel – 27) and are tied for 17th nationally.
THEY COME IN THREES
• Will Howard has five games this year with three or more passing touchdowns, which came against Troy, Missouri, TCU, Texas and Baylor. He had four scoring strikes at Texas, which tied the school record and his career high.
- 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).
RANKING HIGH ON THE CHARTS
• 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 fourth in school history in career touchdowns responsible for (65), fifth in career passing yards (5,498), completions (434), completion percentage (59.4), passing attempts (731) and total offense per game (193.1), and sixth in passing efficiency (137.2) and passing yards per game (166.6).
- In single-season categories, Howard is tied for second in passing touchdowns (23), ranks sixth in completions (195), tied for seventh in touchdowns responsible for (31) and ranks ninth in passing efficiency (145.9). He is also just outside the top 10 in passing yards (2,355), passing attempts (309) and total offense (2,660). A full list of records can be found on pages 62-64.
COMING ON STRONG
• Will Howard has had a resurgence over the last five games, leading the Wildcats to four 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 five contests, Howard is averaging 209.0 yards per game on 83-of-128 (64.8%) aim, but he has thrown for 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions.
- Since Week 8, Howard ranks second nationally in touchdown percentage (10.9% of his 128 pass attempts), eighth in passing efficiency (166.4) and 11th with a 7.00 TD-to-INT ratio. All three of those categories are tops in the Big 12.
GIDDENS GETTING IT DONE
• Sophomore running back DJ Giddens has rushed for 961 yards and eight touchdowns this year in addition to collecting 286 receiving yards and two touchdowns, as he is one seven Big 12 running backs over 1,000 scrimmage yards this season.
- He has been efficient when he touches the ball, ranking sixth among Big 12 backs with 6.8 yards per touch (min. 100 touches).
- Giddens enters this week tied for 15th nationally with 42 touches that have gone for at least 10 yards.
- A native of Junction City, Kansas, Giddens’ 5.86 yards per rush this year currently ranks fifth in school history, while he has 5.85 yards per rush in his career to rank second behind Darren Sproles (6.11 yds/rush – 2001-04).
ON THE VERGE OF 1,000
• DJ Giddens is 39 yards away from producing the 19th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history as he enters Saturday’s game with 961 yards.
- Giddens has 164 carries this season as he can become one of the top-10 fastest players in school history to 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
- With Deuce Vaughn going over 1,000 rushing yards in both 2021 (1,404) and 2022 (1,558), the Wildcats are looking to have a 1,000-yard rusher in three-straight seasons for the third time in school history. They also accomplished the feat from 2001 through 2004 in addition to the 2009 to 2011 seasons.
• Ben Sinnott went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark last week at Kansas as he enters this week’s game at 1,002 yards.
- Sinnott is the fourth tight end in school history with 1,000 career receiving yards. He also has the second-most career touchdowns in school history among tight ends with nine (Henry Childs, 10, 1971-73) in addition to the third-most receptions (72).
• Ben Sinnott, a semifinalist for the 2023 John Mackey Award, enters the final week of the regular season with 540 receiving yards to rank third nationally and second in school history among tight ends (Russ Campbell, 595 yards in 1991).
- A product of Waterloo, Iowa, Sinnott has 39 receptions this year – the most in school history among tight ends – and five touchdown receptions to tie for the most by a Wildcat at the position (Henry Childs, 1972).
SWISS ARMY KNIFE
• Ben Sinnott’s skill set allows him to line up in many different spots. Through 11 games this season, the Waterloo, Iowa, product has lined up 432 times as an inline tight end, 154 times in the slot, 79 times in the backfield and 22 times out wide.
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 tied for the third most nationally among true freshmen.
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 38 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.8 points per game, which ranks 17th in the nation and 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 22nd nationally and second in the Big 12 by allowing 19.3 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 23 touchdowns from scrimmage this year, which is tied for 17th nationally.
• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and six of eight this year – under its season averages. Oklahoma State went over its season scoring average this season, but did so with only one offensive touchdown, 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 35 of their 44 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.
DEFENSIVE RED ZONE SUCCESS
- The Wildcats have been stingy when opponents enter the red zone as they are allowing touchdowns just 41.94% of the time (13-of-31), the seventh-best mark in the nation. The 13 touchdowns allowed are also tied for the 12th 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 (27-of-40).
• K-State has not allowed any of its 11 opponents this year to convert on greater than 45% of its third-down attempts, while the Wildcats have held opponents under 50% in 22 of 25 games dating back to the beginning of last season.
- K-State enters this week ranked fifth nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 28.0% of its third downs, its lowest rate since 2019 (28.0%).
- The Wildcats have surrendered five or less third-down conversions each of the last six games against Texas Tech (4), TCU (2), Houston (3), Texas (2), Baylor (4) and Kansas (5).
BACK FOR MOORE
- K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore leads the team with 58 stops. However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss with 12.0 on the year, two more than his total over 14 games last season.
- A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least a half tackle for loss in 12 of his last 15 games dating back to last year, including a career-best 3.0 TFLs against SEMO.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• Since 2005 (18-plus seasons), K-State has a combined 60 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns, 20 more than second-place Alabama (40) 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 125 games and 412 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.
• K-State has totaled three blocked kicks this year, the second time under head coach Chris Klieman that the Wildcats had at least three blocks (4 in 2020).
- Nate Matlack blocked an extra point at Kansas, the first by a Wildcat since Jordan Willis at Oklahoma State in 2015.
- Shane Porter blocked a punt at Texas, marking the sixth-straight season the Cats have blocked at least one punt.
- Marques Sigle also blocked a field goal at Oklahoma State.
TO THE HOUSE
• Senior Keenan Garber picked up the blocked extra point at Kansas and returned it 91 yards for a defensive extra point, the fifth in school history and first since 2012 as he was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
- It was the longest defensive extra point return off a blocked kick in school history – one yard longer than Terence Newman’s 90-yard return against USC in 2002.