K-State at Texas Tech
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Stadium: Jones AT&T Stadium (56,200)
Series: K-State Leads, 14-9
TV: FS1 (watch)
Alex Faust (Play-by-Play)
Petros Papadakis (Analyst)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 382
X Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Kansas State heads back out on the road in Big 12 play for the second straight week and will look to bounce back from a 29-21 loss to Oklahoma State, as the Wildcats face Texas Tech on Saturday. The game will kick at 6 p.m. from inside Jones AT&T Stadium and be televised nationally on FS1 with Alex Faust (play-by-play) and Petros Papadakis (analyst) calling the action.
2) The Cats currently rank 26th nationally and third in the Big 12 with 35.8 points per game while also checking in at No. 19 in rushing at 202.8 yards per game. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 33.7 points per game on offense. Last week’s 21 points at Oklahoma State snapped a three-game Big 12 streak of scoring 40 or more points.
3) Senior quarterback Will Howard threw for at least 250 yards in the first four games, the longest streak ever by a Wildcat. Running back DJ Giddens stole the show against UCF, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns en route to Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He produced the first 200-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance in school history.
4) The K-State defense enters the week ranked in the top 20 nationally in tackles for loss (7th – 8.6 TFLs per game) rushing defense (14th – 93.4 yds/gm) and first down defense (17th – 87). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season, K-State has allowed just 21.3 points per game to rank 22nd in the nation and second in the Big 12 (Iowa State – 20.6).
5) Senior linebacker Austin Moore leads the team with 30 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss to enter the week ranked 12th in the nation. Defensive end Khalid Duke – who has moved from linebacker back to his natural home at defensive end – has 4.0 sacks over the first five games to rank 21st in the nation, while Jacob Parrish ranks seventh in the country in passes defended with 1.5 per game.
207 – Rushing yards by DJ Giddens vs. UCF, the first Wildcat to rush for over 200 yards since Alex Barnes at Baylor in 2018.
134 – Number of Big 12 wins for K-State since the league was formed, which ranks third behind Texas and Oklahoma.
93.4 – Rushing yards per game given up by K-State this season, which ranks 14th nationally and is first in the Big 12.
75.0 – Career winning % by Chris Klieman, which ranks fourth nationally among FBS coaches with at least 10 years experience.
43 – Tackles for loss in the first five games this year, as K-State ranks seventh nationally in tackles for loss per game (8.6).
- In K-State’s last home game, the Wildcats used a strong running attack from DJ Giddens to rush past UCF, 44-30, to open Big 12 play with a win and move to 3-1 on the year.
- Giddens’ 207 yards and four touchdowns earned him Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
- K-State registered 536 yards of total offense against UCF, the second time this season the Wildcats eclipsed the 500-yard mark (588 yards vs. SEMO), and it marked the first time K-State had two 500-yard games in the same season since 2019.
- Following a bye week, the Wildcats suffered a 29-21 loss at Oklahoma State last Friday despite allowing just one offensive touchdown. The Cowboys had a pick-six and five field goals as K-State held OSU to just one touchdown on six red zone appearances.
BIG 12 ROAD TESTS
- K-State had success in Big 12 road games last season as it went 4-1 away from home in league play en route to a Big 12 Championship.
- This week marks the second-straight road game and third overall for K-State as it seeks its first victory away from home this season.
- Last year K-State also had consecutive road games on two occasions as it won at Iowa State and lost at TCU in October before earning back-to-back wins at Baylor and West Virginia in November.
- Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, K-State has 55 league road wins to rank third in the conference behind Oklahoma (73) and Texas (64).
LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK
- The Wildcats have already bounced back from a road loss at Missouri earlier this year with a convincing win over UCF the next week. K-State will be looking to do the same thing after an eight-point loss last Friday at Oklahoma State.
- Last year, K-State followed each of its three regular-season losses with wins, including two road victories. After a setback at home to Tulane, K-State earned a 41-34 victory at Oklahoma, while it bounced back from a home loss to Texas with a 31-3 win at Baylor.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
- K-State has a total of 216 victories since 1996, which ranks 23rd nationally and 16th among current Power 5 programs.
- Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (268), Texas (234), BYU (227) and TCU (227).
- 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, having advanced to a bowl game 23 times since 1993, including 11 times in the last 13 years.
- K-State’s 23 bowl trips since 1993 are 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 last 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 134 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 59.1% (65-45), trailing only Oklahoma (78.2%; 86-24) and Oklahoma State (64.5%; 71-39).
- During that stretch, the Wildcats are 36-19 (65.5%) at home in Big 12 play and 29-26 (52.7%) on the road.
TAKING DOWN TOP 10s
- K-State picked up three victories over AP top-10 teams in 2022, which culminated with a 31-28 overtime win over No. 3 TCU in the Big 12 Championship. It was the first time in school history the Cats took down multiple AP top-10 teams in one season.
- The Cats also defeated No. 6 Oklahoma, 41-34, in Norman, while they shut out No. 9 Oklahoma State, 48-0, at home.
- K-State was one of only two teams in the nation – along with Georgia – to post three wins over AP Top-10 teams.
- The Wildcats are now 6-3 in their last nine games against top-10 teams dating back to Nov. 18, 2017, a span that began with a 45-40 victory at No. 10 Oklahoma State. Prior to that, the Cats were just 1-15 in their previous 16 tries.
- Under head coach Chris Klieman, K-State has defeated five teams ranked in the top 10 by the Associated Press. No other current Big 12 team has more than three victories over AP Top 10 teams since 2019 (Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU all with three).
BIG 12 CHAMPS
- Kansas State earned its third Big 12 title with a 31-28 overtime victory over No. 3 TCU in the 2022 Big 12 Championship.
- It was the second for the Cats in a conference championship game as they took down No. 1 Oklahoma, 35-7, in 2003.
- Kansas State earned its first conference title since finishing with an 8-1 record in 2012 as there was no conference championship game conducted that year.
- The Wildcats are in search of winning a Big 12 title in consecutive years for the first time in school history. They are looking to become the second Big 12 program ever to defend its conference title (Oklahoma – 7 times).
TOUGH SLATE AHEAD
- In addition to having a target on their backs after winning the Big 12 in 2022 and entering the season ranked in the top 20, the Wildcats are facing a difficult schedule in 2023.
- The 12 opponents K-State will face during the regular season combined for a 60.8% winning clip in 2022, which is the 10th-highest percentage in the nation.
- K-State is one of just four teams in the nation to play 11 games in 2023 against teams that made the postseason in 2022. Two of the other three programs that will face 11 postseason teams from last year reside in the Big 12 in Iowa State and Texas, in addition to Ole Miss.
A WINNING HISTORY
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 104-35 career record, as his 75.0% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons. He is also one of just 14 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 victories.
- Klieman, who is 33-22 since arriving at K-State, is 7-7 in his career against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 with six of the victories coming at K-State.
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, six more than the next closest team (Alabama – 123).
- 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.
• Kansas State has scored at least 40 points in five of its last seven regular-season contests dating back to last season. Included in that stretch is three-straight Big 12 regular-season games, the longest streak 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 during the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State’s offense has averaged 33.7 points per game.
- The Cats currently rank 26th nationally and third in the Big 12 with 35.8 points per game this season.
• K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in 10 of 11 conference games dating back to last season – including the Big 12 Championship. The 10-game conference game streak, snapped last week after 372 yards, was the longest in school history.
- Overall, the 2023 opener saw the Wildcats total 588 yards, the fifth-most in school history, most ever in a season opener and the most since a school-record 658 yards in the 2005 North Texas game.
- K-State collected 408 yards at Missouri, 536 yards against UCF and enters this week’s game ranked 15th nationally and fifth in the Big 12 by averaging 482.3 yards per game.
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 in the nation among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 173.
- That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 13 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 186).
- The Wildcats finished the 2022 season tied for eighth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+0.86 / game) but head into this week’s game ranked 105th in turnover margin (-0.60 per 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 0.63 per game.
- K-State’s 50 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons are the second lowest in the Big 12 (Oklahoma is first with 49) and tied for 16th 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.
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.
RED ZONE SUCCESS
• Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the Big 12 in terms of scoring in the red zone since 2019, as the Wildcats rank second in the league at 90.5%.
- One of only two league teams to eclipse the 90% mark over the last four seasons, K-State is 191-for-211 with 138 touchdowns in the red zone during that span.
- This year, the Cats are 22-of-25 in the red zone with 20 touchdowns, the latter of which is tied for second in the Big 12.
RANKING HIGHLY ON THE CHARTS
• Playing in 27 career games with 20 starts, quarterback Will Howard has started to enter career top-10 lists in K-State history.
- The Downingtown, Pennsylvania, native currently ranks seventh in school history in career passing yards per game (161.7), and passing touchdowns (33), eighth in completions (345) and touchdowns responsible for (49) and ninth in total offense (5,164).
- Howard is also on the precipice of entering the top 10 in career passing attempts (595 – needs 9 to tie for 10th) and passing yards (4,367 – needs 34 to tie for 10th).
FOUR IN A ROW
• Will Howard opened the season with four-straight games of 250 or more passing yards, including a career-best 297 yards in the season opener against SEMO.
- It was the first time in school history a K-State quarterback had four-straight games with at least 250 passing yards during the course of a season.
- Doing so allowed Howard to produce the third 1,000-yard passing season of his career. He is one of just five players in school history with three 1,000-yard seasons, joining Lynn Dickey (1968-70), Carl Straw (1988-90), Josh Freeman (2006-08) and Skylar Thompson (2017-21).
• K-State boasts two of only three players in the nation that have passed for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass this season in Will Howard and running back Treshaun Ward. The other is Penn State’s Trey Potts.
- Howard did all three in the season opener vs. SEMO, just the sixth Big 12 quarterback to accomplish the feat, while he was just the second to do all three in one quarter.
HAVE A GAME, DJ
• Sophomore running back DJ Giddens had a historic performance against UCF, as 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.
- His four rushing scores tied for third in a game in school history and were the most since Alex Barnes had four against Oklahoma State in 2018. It was also the first 200-yard rushing game by a Wildcat since Barnes went for 250 yards at Baylor in 2018.
• Not only did DJ Giddens rush for 207 yards against UCF, but he was also the team’s leading receiver with eight receptions for 86 yards.
- Giddens’ 293 yards from scrimmage were the second most in school history, while it was the most all-purpose yards by a Big 12 player this season.
• Tight end Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season, and that has continued in 2023 as he ranks fifth nationally among tight ends with 57.2 receiving yards per game.
- Included in that total is a career-high 100-yard effort in the season opener 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 53 career catches to rank fifth, while his 748 receiving yards ranks sixth and is 55 yards shy of tying for fifth.
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 210 times as an inline tight end, 76 times in the slot, 50 times in the backfield and 13 times as a true wide receiver.
A VERSATILE LINEMAN
• Preseason All-American offensive lineman Cooper Beebe has shown off his versatility this year as he has taken snaps at left guard and both tackle positions.
- Starting each game at left guard in which he has taken 243 snaps, Beebe has also produced over his 106 snaps at right tackle and 17 snaps at left tackle.
- According to Pro Football Focus, Beebe has not allowed a sack in his last 992 pass blocking snaps, dating back to the 2020 Iowa State game. He has also only been flagged for a post-snap penalty four times in his career.
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 33 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 21.3 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 22nd in the nation.
- 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 has held five teams without a touchdown since the beginning of the 2022 season, four of which came last year against South Dakota, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
- The last time K-State did not surrender a touchdown in four games overall in a season was 2002 (Western Kentucky, ULM, Kansas, Missouri), while the last time they did so in three Big 12 games was 2001 (Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri).
• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and the first in 2023 – under its season averages until last week. OSU did manage a pick-six in that game which served as the 7.0 difference in the stat.
- The most dramatic difference in 2022 came against Oklahoma State, as the Wildcats shut out an offense that was averaging 44.7 points per game at the time. The Wildcats also held Baylor to just a field goal as the Bears averaged 38.3 points per game.
- Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 31 of their 39 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.
LIVING IN THE BACKFIELD
• K-State has totaled 43 tackles for loss over the first five games to rank seventh in the nation and tops in the Big 12.
- It is the first time K-State has started a season with five-straight games of at least seven tackles for loss since doing so in every game during the 1997 season.
- K-State is also tied for 30th in the country and second in the Big 12 with 14 sacks.
LATE DOWN STOPS
• A year after ranking 78th nationally and sixth in the Big 12 by allowing a 35.4% conversion rate on third down, K-State finished the 2022 season ranking 27th in the country and third in the conference with a 34.0% rate.
- The Cats allowed their opponents to convert on third down under 50% of the time in 11 of 14 games, including the Big 12 Championship when TCU was just 2-of-15 on third downs.
- K-State enters this week ranked 23rd nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 32.4% of its third downs.
BACK FOR MOORE
• K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore leads the team with 30 tackles.
- However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss as he has 7.5 this year to rank 12th in the nation.
- A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least a half tackle for loss in eight of his last nine games dating back to last year, including a career-best 3.0 TFLs against SEMO.
DUKE BACK HOME AT DE
- Moving back to his natural position of defense end has paid off for Khalid Duke, who ranks 21st in the nation and fourth in the Big 12 with 0.80 sacks per game (4.0 total).;
- A linebacker each of the last two seasons, Duke is back at defense end, a spot he played in 2019 and 2020.
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 teams are Houston and San Diego State with 20.
- With two punt-return touchdowns in 2022, K-State has now 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 11 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
• Kansas State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 119 games and 392 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.
BROOKS IS BACK
• Taking advantage of a sixth year of eligibility, Phillip Brooks – one of the best punt returners in Big 12 history – is back.
- He is currently tied for sixth in Big 12 history with four career punt-return touchdowns, while he ranks in the top 10 in school history in punt-return touchdowns (second), yards (fifth; 709) attempts (tied for sixth; 51) and average (seventh; 13.9).
- Among active FBS players, the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, product ranks first in non-offensive touchdowns and punt-return touchdowns, third in punt-return average and punt-return yards, fifth in combined kickoff- and punt-return yards (1,556) and 20th in all-purpose yards (3,474). Additionally, he ranks sixth in career games played (58).