Now that’s more like it! K-State beat UCF 44-31 on Saturday night to go 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference. Running back DJ Giddens had a huge game, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 86 receiving yards and was rewarded for his effort by receiving the Big 12 offensive player of the week award. This game was close until the fourth quarter, when K-State pulled away with two unanswered touchdowns to take a 44-24 lead.
Will Howard, a game time decision to play due to his injury, started at quarterback and played every offensive snap. He was hobbling a little bit, but was mostly effective running and passing. He threw for 255 yards with an interception and had 64 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
It was good to get this win. Here is what the head coach and players were saying after the big victory.
“A difficult loss last week and we talked on Monday in here as a team that we couldn’t let Missouri beat us twice. Our kids rose up and our captains, our leaders rose up, and we played an excellent football team. UCF is really talented. They’ve been 3-0 and played good football. We knew this was going to be the type of game it was. Back and forth with an explosive offense. Two things we had to do, we had to be able to rush the football, we absolutely had to be able to rush the football to try to keep their play count down. And then the second thing we had to do is we had to get some negative plays, some tackles for losses, some things where we could get them off the sticks a little bit. For us to hold those guys to 59 plays in 25 minutes and we have 82 plays in 34 plus minutes, that was the recipe.“…Head coach Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: K-State was able to run at will against UCF. They finished the night with 281 yards rushing and a whopping 7.0 average yards per carry. I’d say the “beef” up front did their job in this one.
“We challenged DJ. We said we were gonna give you the football. You needed to step up, you
have all the ability in the world. We’ve got to believe in you and we’re gonna keep giving it to you and keep giving it to you.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: Great strategy, coach!
“Our crowd was phenomenal tonight. They stayed and they were into it. They were a big factor in
a number of delays of game they [UCF] had in the fourth quarter.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: I know the fans in section 14 did their part!
“A little bit nervous, you know, it was crazy having my first start in a power five game. All my teammates had a lot of encouragement for me, so once I went out there and got that first play, it wasn’t too bad.”…Freshman linebacker Austin Romaine
JM: Romaine got his first collegiate start in place of injured Daniel Green. He had three solo tackles and one tackle for loss. Not too shabby.
“They were nine of 15 on third downs, I think they only punted once.”…UCF head coach Gus Malzahn
JM: Yep, K-State only punted one time in the game. Also, for the fourth straight game, K-State scored a touchdown on their opening possession.
“They (K-State) just came up with some different moves that we haven’t seen them doing so they did a good job.”…UCF linebacker Jason Johnson
JM: Props to offensive coordinator Collin Klein for giving UCF some looks that they hadn’t previously seen on tape. They probably saved some stuff for conference play.
K-State has a bye week this weekend and then travel to Stillwater to play a bad Oklahoma State team on Friday night, October 6th. I’m not sure what happened to the Cowboys, but they are struggling mightily this season. It’s never easy to go on the road on a Friday evening, but hopefully the Wildcats can take care of business against Oklahoma State.