MANHATTAN, Kan. – Helping Kansas State earn an impressive 31-24 comeback victory at No. 23 Mississippi State last week, safety Denzel Goolsby and wide receiver/kick returner Malik Knowles have been named the Big 12 Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced Monday.
Both players earned weekly conference honors for the first time in their careers as they helped the Wildcats pick up their first road win over an SEC team who was in the conference at the time of the game. The duo has aided K-State to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2015 and into the polls for the first time in two years as the Wildcats are ranked No. 25 in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.
A senior from Wichita, Kansas, Goolsby carded 11 tackles – one shy of his career high – while he picked off his third-career pass and broke up another. His interception, which was returned 16 yards, came in the first quarter and led to K-State’s first points of the game. Goolsby helped the Wildcats limit a Mississippi State team to 24 points and 352 offensive yards after the Bulldogs averaged 38 points and 441.5 yards in their first two games.
Knowles, a product of Mansfield, Texas, swung the game into K-State’s favor early in the fourth quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, one that jumpstarted 14 unanswered points by the Wildcats after the Bulldogs had just rattled off 17-straight points of their own to take the lead. It was the seventh 100-yard kickoff return in school history, the first since Morgan Burns in 2015 (Iowa State) and just the third in a road game in school history.
Kansas State travels to face Oklahoma State next Saturday, September 28, for a 6 p.m., contest on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ for the Wildcats’ Big 12 opener inside Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Following the game against the Cowboys, K-State begins a three-game homestand on October 5 against Baylor. The Flex Mobile Pass is still available for just $199, which includes a ticket to all five Big 12 home games at less than $40 per game.