No. 15 K-State Closes Non-Conference Play at Missouri

Game 3
15/15 K-State at nr/rv Missouri

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Kickoff: 11 a.m.

Location: Columbia, Mo.

Stadium: Memorial Stadium (62,621)

Series: Missouri Leads, 60-33-5

TV: SEC Network (watch)

Taylor Zarzour (Play-by-Play)

Matt Stinchcomb (Analyst)

Alyssa Lang (Sidelines)

Radio: K-State Sports Network; (Listen)

            Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)

            Stan Weber (Analyst)

            Matt Walters (Sidelines)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 83

X Updates: @KStateFB

 Following two home wins to start the season, including a 42-13 victory over Troy last week, 15th-ranked K-State will hit the road for the first time in 2023 when it travels east to face former conference foe Missouri. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 11 a.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network with Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb and Alyssa Lang on the call.

2) K-State has scored over 40 points in each of its first two games for a second time under head coach Chris Klieman (2019). The Cats have hit the 40-point mark in each of their last four regular-season games, their longest streak in regular-season contests since the middle of the 2002 season. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 34.2 points per game.

3) Senior quarterback Will Howard is coming off a five-touchdown performance against Troy as he threw for three scores and ran for two more. He enters the week tied for first nationally in points responsible for (27.0 pts/gm) and 11th in rushing touchdowns. Howard also now ranks ninth in school history with 29 career touchdown passes, while he is 23 completions away from entering the school’s top-10 list.

4) The K-State defense enters the week ranking in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense (1st – 38.0 yds/gm), tackles for loss (5th – 10.0 TFLs/gm), scoring defense (7th – 6.5 pts/gm) and sacks (9th – 4.0 sacks/gm). Since the Wildcats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season, K-State has allowed just 20.4 points per game to rank 18th in the nation and second in the Big 12 (Iowa State – 20.0).

5) Senior linebacker Austin Moore leads the team with 12 tackles, while he ranks fourth nationally with 5.0 tackles for loss. Defensive end Khalid Duke is moving from linebacker back to his natural home at defensive end, and he has 3.0 sacks over the first two weeks to tie for fifth in the nation. Duke also ranks eighth nationally with 4.0 tackles for loss.

 – Total career starts by K-State offensive linemen, including all 70 starts from a year ago.

87 – Total points scored in the first two games this season, as the Cats rank 19th nationally in scoring at 43.5 points per game.

76 – Total rushing yards given up through two games, as K-State leads the nation by allowing 38.0 rushing yards per game.

75.9 – Career winning % by Chris Klieman, which ranks fourth nationally among FBS coaches with at least 10 years experience.

20.4 – Points per game allowed by K-State since the start of 2021, ranking 18th nationally and second among returning Big 12 teams.


  • K-State won its second home game of the season, a 42-13 triumph over Troy to end the Trojans’ 12-game winning streak.
  • Will Howard threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more to lead a Wildcat offense that amassed 397 total yards, including a 5-play, 66-yard touchdown drive during the final minute of the first half to take a 21-10 lead.
  • K-State went on to out-score Troy, 21-3, in the second half, converting on 5-of-8 third-down attempts.
  • The defense held Troy to just 70 rushing yards on 28 attempts (2.5 yds/att) with 46 yards coming on one rush.
  • K-State, which  collected 9.0 tackles for loss with 4.0 sacks, did not allow Troy to convert any of its seven third-down attempts in the second half as it held the Trojans to just 98 second-half yards.

  1. NON-CON P5
  • K-State is 3-0 in the regular season against non-conference Power 5 opponents under Chris Klieman. The Wildcats won at Mississippi State in 2019 before defeating Stanford in the 2021 season opener and Missouri at home last season.
  • Dating back to his days at North Dakota State, Klieman is 6-0 in the regular season against non-conference Power 5 opponents, as his Bison defeated Iowa State in 2014 and Iowa in 2016.

  1. THE SEC
  • K-State holds a 50-88-5 record all-time against current members of the SEC, which includes against former conference members Missouri and Texas A&M.
  • The Wildcats are 3-1 in their last three games against SEC opponents, winning at Mississippi State in 2019, vs. LSU in the 2021 Texas Bowl and last year against Missouri before dropping last year’s Sugar Bowl to Alabama.


  • Since 1990, K-State holds a 96-19 (83.5%) record in regular-season non-conference games.
  • That stretch includes an 82-9 (90.2%) mark at home. During those 30 years (excluding the one-game non-conference schedule in 2020), the Wildcats have had perfect regular season non-conference ledgers 17 times and unblemished marks at home on now 25 occasions.


  • K-State has a total of 214 victories since 1996, which ranks 23rd nationally and 16th among Power 5 programs.
  • Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (264), Texas (231), BYU (225) and TCU (225).
  • 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.


  • Kansas State has been one of the best Big 12 teams since the inception of the conference in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 133 conference victories, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas.
  • The Wildcats are also third in the conference in winning percentage since round-robin play began in 2011. They sit at 59.3% (64-44), trailing only Oklahoma (77.6%; 83-25) and Oklahoma State (64.8%; 70-38).
  • During that stretch, the Wildcats are 35-19 (64.8%) at home in Big 12 play and 29-25 (53.7%) on the road.


  • 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).


  • 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).


  • For the first time in six seasons, K-State entered a season ranked in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches Poll as they checked in at No. 16 and No. 17, respectively.
  • K-State’s No. 16 preseason ranking in the AP Poll was its highest since beginning the 2004 campaign at No. 13.
  • The Wildcats enter this week ranked 15th in both poll.


  • In addition to having a target on their backs after winning the Big 12 in 2022 and entering the season 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 proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 104-33 career record, as his 75.9% 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 32-20 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.


  • K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 24 seasons as it has 129 since 1999, seven more than the next closest team (Alabama – 122).
  • Kansas State had three non-offensive scores in 2022, beginning with a blocked punt return touchdown by Desmond Purnell against South Dakota in the season opener.
  • The next week against Missouri, Phillip Brooks took a punt 76 yards for a score.
  • Then, at West Virginia, Cincere Mason returned an interception 37 yards for a score, the Wildcats’ first pick-6 since 2020.
  • 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 each of its last four regular-season contests dating back to last season, which is the longest streak it has had since the 2002 campaign. The last time the Wildcats scored at least 40 points in five-straight regular season games came in 2000.

  • During K-State’s march to the Big 12 title game, the Wildcat offense was one of the most productive Power 5 units in the nation as they averaged 40.2 points per game over the final five regular-season contests, which ranked fifth nationally among Power 5 teams and tops in the Big 12 during that time frame.
  • Since Collin Klein started calling plays during the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State’s offense has averaged 34.2 points per game.

    • K-State totaled at least 375 yards in all nine conference games last season in addition to the Big 12 Championship. It marked the first time ever in Big 12 play (since 1996) that the Wildcats totaled at least 375 yard in every league game.

  • Overall, the Wildcats averaged 418.8 yards of offense, which ranked fifth in school history and was the most since the 2014 squad (421.6).
  • The 2023 opener saw the Cats total 588 yards, the fifth-most in school history, most ever in a season opener and most since a school-record 658 yards in the 2005 North Texas game.
  • K-State, which narrowly missed the 400-yard mark against Troy (397 yards), enters this week’s game ranked 17th nationally by averaging 492.5 yards per game.


  • 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 168.
  • That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 14 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 182).
  • The Wildcats finished the 2022 season tied for eighth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+0.86 / game). It was the first time K-State finished in the top 10 nationally in turnover margin since 2016 (fourth).

• Since Collin Klein took over coaching the quarterbacks in 2017, K-State has only thrown 45 interceptions, equating to 0.60 per game.

  • K-State’s 45 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons is the lowest in the Big 12 (Oklahoma is second with 47) and tied for 13th in the nation.
  • Last season, Adrian Martinez set a new single-season school record with an interception percentage of 0.54%, bettering the mark of 1.36% by Michael Bishop in 1998.

    • 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 90.8%.

  • One of only two league teams to eclipse the 90% mark over the last four seasons, K-State is 178-for-196 with 127 touchdowns in the red zone during that span.
  • This year, the Cats are 9-of-10 in the red zone with nine touchdowns, the latter of which ranks second in the Big 12 (OU – 10).

    • 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.
  • The Wildcats enter this week tied for eighth nationally in by allowing just one sack over their first two games.

    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.

    • Even though he has played in 22 career games with 15 starts entering 2023, this is the first time that Will Howard entered a season as the No. 1 starter.

  • Thus far the Downingtown, Pennsylvania, native has not disappointed as he is tied for first in the nation in points per responsible for (27.0 pts/gm), ranks seventh in scoring (12.0 pts/gm) and 11th in rushing touchdowns (3).
  • He opened the year against SEMO with a career high 297 passing yards, the most in a season opener since 2017.
  • Last season, Howard threw 15 touchdowns in his seven games played (five starts) en route to a 149.6 passer rating to rank eighth in school history.
  • That included a 159.4 rating over the final five weeks of the season and the Big 12 Championship game, which ranked eighth nationally and third among Power 5 quarterbacks behind USC’s Caleb Williams (173.9) and Oregon’s Bo Nix (168.3).

• In addition to his passing showcase in the opener, Will Howard also recorded a touchdown run and a touchdown catch.

  • It was the sixth time in Big 12 history a quarterback threw a touchdown pass, rushed for a touchdown and had a receiving touchdown in the same game. Howard accomplished all three in the second quarter, the second time in Big 12 history that had been done (Nebraska’s Eric Crouch vs. California in 1999).

• Although K-State lost the services of two-time Consensus All-American Deuce Vaughn, the Wildcats have shown they have plenty of experience in the running game with sophomore DJ Giddens and Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward combining for 294 rushing yards on 54 carries (5.4 yds/rush).

  • During his redshirt freshman season of 2022, Giddens rushed for 518 yards, the third most by a freshman in school history.
  • Ward, a fifth-year senior, earned All-ACC Honorable Mention accolades a year ago after rushing for 649 yards and seven touchdowns, both career highs.

• Tight end Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season as he hauled in 31 passes for 447 yards and four scores, and he had a successful season opener by hauling in five passes for 100 yards.

  • He is one of only eight tight ends nationally with a 100-yard game, but his 20.0-yard average ranks second .
  • Sinnott was the first K-State tight end with a 100-yard receiving game since Jeron Mastrud at Kansas in 2006 (103 yards).
  • Sinnott’s skill set allows him to line up in many different spots. Thus far in 2023, the Waterloo, Iowa, product has lined up 76 times as an inline tight end, 27 times in the slot and 14 times in the backfield.

• Preseason All-American offensive lineman Cooper Beebe has shown off his versatility over the first two games of the season as he has taken snaps at left guard and both tackle positions.

  • Starting each game at left guard in which he has taken 45 snaps, Beebe has also produced over his 78 snaps at right tackle and four snaps at left tackle.
  • According to Pro Football Focus, Beebe has not allowed a sack in his last 865 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.

• 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 29 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.4 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 18th 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.
  • The Wildcats have allowed 13 points or less over their first two games for a second-straight season (2022: 0 vs. South Dakota, 12 vs. Missouri). It is the first time they have surrendered 13 points or less in the first two games in consecutive seasons since 2001 (6 points) and 2002 (3 points).

• 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).

• Kansas State posted another season-opening shutout as it blanked SEMO in the opener.

  • It is the second-straight year that the Wildcats shut out its opponent in the season opener, the first time K-State has done that since 1998 and 1999.
  • It was the third shutout in the last 15 games by the Wildcats, their most in a 15-game stretch since posting three in 2002.

• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season under their season averages coming into the game.

  • The most dramatic difference 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 enter their contest against the Wildcats.
  • Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 30 of their 37 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.

• Kansas State has totaled 20 tackles for loss over the first two games as it enters the week ranked fifth in the nation and tops in the Big 12.

  • K-State is also tied for ninth in the country and first in the Big 12 with eight sacks.

• 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 game when TCU was just 2-of-15 on third downs.
  • In the first week of 2023, SEMO converted on just 4-of-14 third downs (28.6%), while Troy was 6-of-17 (35.3%) overall, including a 0-for-7 mark in the second half.

• K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore leads the team with 12 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss.

  • A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore enters the week ranked fourth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in TFLs, thanks in part to a career-best 3.0 TFLs in the season opener against SEMO.


  • Moving back to his natural position of defense end has paid off for Khalid Duke, who is tied for fifth in the nation and first in the Big 12 with 3.0 sacks, while he ranks eighth in the country with 4.0 tackles for loss.
  • A linebacker each of the last two seasons, Duke is back at defense end, a spot he played in 2019 and 2020.

• 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 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 14 FBS teams to not allow a kickoff- or punt-return touchdown since 2019, while the Wildcats are only one of two Big 12 teams (TCU) to lay that claim.

• Kansas State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 386 returns without allowing opponents to find paydirt on a kickoff return.

  • The streak is the longest among the returning Big 12 teams, 33 more than the next closest team (TCU – 353).
  • Since K-State allowed its last kickoff-return touchdown, the Wildcats have scored 14 of their own.

• 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), average (fifth; 14.4), yards (fifth; 678) and attempts (eighth; 47).
  • Among active FBS players, the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, product ranks first in non-offensive touchdowns and punt-return touchdowns, second in punt-return yards and punt-return average and sixth in combined kickoff-return and punt-return yards (1,478). Additionally, he ranks fourth in career games played (55).