MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State cornerback Keenan Garber was honored for his momentum-changing play in Kansas State’s 31-27 victory Saturday at Kansas as he was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday.
It is the first weekly conference honor in Garber’s career, while he is the fourth Wildcat this season to be honored by the conference this season. DJ Giddens was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after the UCF game, and both Kobe Savage (Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week) and Avery Johnson (Big 12 Newcomer of the Week) were honored after the Texas Tech contest.
Following a KU touchdown with 10:55 remaining in the second quarter to give the Jayhawks a 13-7 lead, Garber scooped up an extra point that was blocked by defensive end Nate Matlack and raced 91 yards for a defensive extra point. It was a three-point swing in the Wildcats’ favor as it made the score 13-9. K-State also scored a two-point conversion later in the game and held on for a four-point victory, the 15th-straight victory by the Wildcats over the Jayhawks.
Garber’s return was just the fifth defensive extra point in school history and the first since Nigel Malone returned one 68 yards against Arkansas in the 2012 (post-2011 season) Cotton Bowl. 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 – while it was the longest overall since a 98-yard interception return by Chris Canty against Oklahoma in 1994.
A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Garber’s score was his second in as many games as he returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown the previous game against Baylor. He has 20 tackles, a tackle for loss and five total pass breakups this season, his first full season on defense after switching to cornerback the week of the 2022 Big 12 Championship Game.
No. 19 Kansas State hosts Iowa State on Saturday inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Senior Night contest will kick at 7 p.m., and be televised by FOX.