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Cats Travel to Face OSU Under Friday Night Lights

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Game 5 (KStateSports.com)
rv/rv K-State at Oklahoma State
Date: Friday, October 6, 2023
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Stillwater, Okla.
Stadium: Boone Pickens Stadium (53,855)
Series: Oklahoma State Leads, 42-27
TV: ESPN (watch)
Anish Shroff (Play-by-Play)
Andre Ware (Analyst)
Paul Carcaterra (Sidelines)
Radio: K-State Sports Network; k-statesports.com (Listen)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 84
X Updates: @KStateFB

THE TOP 5
1)
 Kansas State won its Big 12 opener for a second-straight season with a 44-31 victory over new conference member UCF, and the Wildcats will look to make it two in a row following their lone bye week of the season as they face Oklahoma State on Friday in Stillwater. It will be K-State’s first weeknight conference game since playing Baylor on a Thursday in 2015.

2) K-State hit the 40-point mark for a third-straight conference game dating back to last season (not counting the Big 12 Championship), its longest streak since a three-game stretch in 2012. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 34.3 points per game. The Cats currently rank 14th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 39.5 points per game.

3) Senior quarterback Will Howard has thrown for over 250 yards in each of the first four games, the longest streak ever by a Wildcat. However, it was DJ Giddens who stole the show against UCF, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns en route to 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 15 nationally in rushing defense (6th – 73.2 yds/gm), tackles for loss (6th – 9.0 TFLs per game), sacks (10th – 3.50 sacks per game) and first down defense (12th – 67). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season, K-State has allowed just 21.1 points per game to rank 21st in the nation and second in the Big 12 (Iowa State – 20.9).

5) Senior linebacker Austin Moore leads the team with 22 tackles, including 7.0 tackles for loss to enter the week ranked 10th 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 four games to rank sixth in the nation, while Jacob Parrish ranks eighth in the country in passes defended with 1.5 per game.

STATISTICAL SPOTLIGHTS
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.
75.5 – Career winning % by Chris Klieman, which ranks fourth nationally among FBS coaches with at least 10 years experience.
73.2 – Rushing yards per game given up by K-State this season, which ranks sixth nationally and is first in the Big 12.
36 – Tackles for loss in the first four games this year, as K-State ranks fifth in tackles for loss per game (9.0).

TEAM NOTES
RECENT RECAP
• 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 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.
• K-State won its second 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.
• An SEC-record 61-yard field goal as time expired lifted Missouri to a narrow 30-27 win over the Wildcats in Columbia in the Cats’ first road game of the season.
• Howard threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-39 aim with his 25 completions setting a career high, bettering the 21 he had last year against Oklahoma State and the previous week against Troy.

BIG 12 ROAD OPENERS
• K-State is getting used to early Big 12 road games in the state of Oklahoma, as this is the fifth-straight year the Wildcats’ first Big 12 road game will be in the Sooner State. They started in Norman in 2020 and 2022 and in Stillwater in both 2019 and 2021.
• The Wildcats are 12-15 all-time in their first Big 12 road game of the season.
• K-State’s last win in Stillwater came in 2017, a 45-40 triumph over the 10th-ranked Cowboys.

AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
• K-State has a total of 216 victories since 1996, which ranks 23rd nationally and 16th among Power 5 programs.
• Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (267), Texas (234), BYU (227) and TCU (227).
• Over the last 13 seasons, the Wildcats have won at least seven games 11 times.

POSTSEASON PROMINENCE
• 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 round-robin play began in 2011. They sit at 59.6% (65-44), trailing only Oklahoma (78.0%; 85-24) and Oklahoma State (64.2%; 70-39).
• During that stretch, the Wildcats are 36-19 (65.5%) at home in Big 12 play and 29-25 (53.7%) 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 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 104-34 career record, as his 75.5% 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 33-21 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.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
SCORING SURGE
• Kansas State has scored at least 40 points in five of its last six 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 34.3 points per game.
• The Cats currently rank 14th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 39.5 points per game this season.

TOTAL OFFENSE
• K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in all 10 conference games dating back to last season – including the Big 12 Championship. The 10-game conference game streak is 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 are tied for second in the nation among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 170.
• That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 16 better than the next closest program (Texas, 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 just 66th in turnover margin (E).

PUTTING IT WHERE ONLY OUR GUY CAN GET IT
• Since Collin Klein took over coaching the quarterbacks in 2017, K-State has only thrown 47 interceptions, equating to 0.59 per game.
• K-State’s 47 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons is the lowest in the Big 12 (Oklahoma is second with 49) and tied for 14th 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 90.8%.
• One of only two league teams to eclipse the 90% mark over the last four seasons, K-State is 188-for-207 with 135 touchdowns in the red zone during that span.
• This year, the Cats are 19-of-21 in the red zone with 17 touchdowns, the latter of which ranks second in the Big 12 (OU – 19).

IT’S WILL’S TURN
• Even though he has played in 23 career games with 16 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 ranks seventh in the nation in points per responsible for (21.0 pts/gm), 22nd in completions (22.75 comp/gm), and 24th in total offense (298.8 yards per game).

FOUR IN A ROW
• Will Howard has 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 is the first time in school history a K-State quarterback has four-straight games with at least 250 passing yards during the course of a season.
• Doing so has 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).

THE TRIFECTA
• 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 has 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.

MULTI-FACETED BACK
• 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.

CONTINUED SUCCESS
• Tight end Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season, and that has continued in 2023 as he ranks fourth nationally among tight ends with 61.8 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 six career receiving touchdowns to tie for second in school history by a tight end (Henry Childs, 10, 1971-73). He also has 709 career receiving yards, which ranks sixth in school history by a tight end.

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 169 times as an inline tight end, 54 times in the slot, 40 times in the backfield and 11 times as a 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 173 snaps, Beebe has also produced over his 106 snaps at right tackle and 11 snaps at left tackle.
• According to Pro Football Focus, Beebe has not allowed a sack in his last 953 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.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
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 32 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 21.1 points per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 21st 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.

LOCKDOWN DEFENSE
• 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).

UNDER AVERAGE
• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and the first in 2023 – under its season averages coming into the game.
• 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 enter their contest against the Wildcats.
• Since head coach Chris Klieman‘s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 31 of their 38 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.

LIVING IN THE BACKFIELD
• K-State has totaled 36 tackles for loss over the first four games to rank sixth in the nation and tops in the Big 12.
• It is K-State’s first string of four-straight games with eight or more TFLs since 2000 vs. Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, while it is the first to start a season since at least 1988.
• K-State is also tied for 10th in the country and first 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 24th nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 32.1% 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 22 tackles.
• However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss as he has 7.0 this year to rank 10th in the nation.
• A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least one TFL in seven of his last eight 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 sixth in the nation and tops in the Big 12 with 4.0 sacks. He also ranks 16th in the nation with 6.0 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.

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.

MORE RECENTLY…
• 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 12 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 390 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), average (sixth; 14.2), yards (fifth; 709) and attempts (seventh; 50).
• Among active FBS players, the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, product ranks first in non-offensive touchdowns and punt-return touchdowns, second in punt-return average, third in punt-return yards, sixth in combined kickoff- and punt-return yards (1,541) and 19th in all-purpose yards (3,398). Additionally, he ranks eighth in career games played (57).

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