On a chilly and rainy night in Manhattan, Kansas, K-State took care of business against the Kansas Jayhawks to move to 9-3 overall on the season, 7-2 in the conference, to earn a spot in the Big 12 Championship game where they will play against TCU next Saturday. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the Wildcats did enough to beat the Jayhawks 47 to 27. It was the 14th straight win for the Wildcats over the Jayhawks.
K-State has won each of its last three games by at least 17 points and is playing well going into the rematch against TCU. The Horned Frogs beat K-State 38-28 on October 22nd in Fort Worth in a game that K-State had to play three quarterbacks due to injury. Hopefully, the game Saturday will be much different.
Senior Malik Knowles had a memorable senior night, as he had two rushing touchdowns and 183 all-purpose yards. Deuce Vaughn was again extraordinary, with 147 rushing yards and 82 receiving yards.
Here is what the coaches and players had to say after the game, along with some game highlights….
“So happy for the guys in the locker room that found a way. People doubted these guys all season long, doubted our guys in that locker room. Not many people thought that we would be in the position that we’re in. The guys downstairs did, and this is a total body of work.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: Who “doubted these guys” all season long? Preseason expectations were high for this team, and they are sitting exactly where a lot of people expected them to be. I guess the coaches and players used the disrespect card for motivation, so whatever works. I just don’t know exactly where it is coming from.
“We made some really good plays offensively early on throwing the football. Then we were able to rush the football later on, ran the ball a bunch in the third and fourth quarter, when we said we had to establish the line of scrimmage. We got stops on defense when we had to have stops.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: I couldn’t summarize the game any better than this. K-State got the lead early and never relinquished it. The defense did what they’ve done against opponents most of the season. They gave up some yards and some scoring drives, but stopped Kansas when they had to.
“Ty Zentner, an absolute stud, he keeps getting better and better, and getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: I’m glad Klieman mentioned Ty Zentner. I am often in awe of how great he punts the ball, but when he started doing triple duty halfway through the season, punting, kicking off, and kicking field goals for this team, we all started feeling a lot better about the special teams and kicking game. Zentner is eight of eight on field goals this season, by the way.
“What hurt us in the first half was a real lack of communication with the noise, lack of hand signals, and we got misaligned a few times. We had a couple of busted coverages and or busted assignments. And that cost us, you can’t do that against a good football team that can run the ball and throw the ball like they can.”…Chris Klieman, post-game
JM: It’s interesting that Klieman mentioned the crowd noise affecting his defense. Normally a coach would say something like this after a road game when talking about his offense dealing with the crowd noise. In this case, the noise of the home crowd affected the defense communicating with each other.
“There’s true love in that locker room and everybody just truly cares about each other and wants to do it for each other. There’s no individuality, everybody just wants to go get the win for the program and for those guys because there’s true love there and that’s a big thing that coach inspired and credit to him for that.”…Will Howard, post-game
JM: One thing is for sure with Chris Klieman’s Wildcats. He’s got them all rowing in the right direction and fighting for each other.
“When you come to K-State, you don’t lose to the Jayhawks.”…Will Howard, post-game
JM: This is K-State’s 14th victory in a row over Kansas. They’ve also won 27 of the last 32. Big brother dominates once again!
JM: K-State got on the board early after a muffed punt by Kansas put them in great field position. Knowles went untouched until he crossed the end zone, in large part because of a spectacular block by Deuce Vaughn on the play.
JM: What a play by Will Howard. This one play shows how much he has matured as a quarterback. He worked through all of his progressions, scanned the field, scrambled to buy himself some more time, and at the last second found a wide open Sammy Wheeler for a touchdown. This was a thing of beauty.
JM: Hey, it worked the first time, so why not try it again? Knowles was untouched on this touchdown run, his second of the game, to put K-State ahead 23 to 7.
“Yes it was a slow screen, a big time credit to our O-line that got out and got bodies on bodies, and then after that it’s kind of feeling where all the pressure from the defense is and making a move, then you’re out in the open field. So yeah, it was a slow screen and it worked out to perfection at that point.”…Deuce Vaughn, post-game
JM: K-State had a third and 12 from their own six-yard line ahead by nine points. Kansas could have forced a punt to get the ball back in great field position. Instead, enter Deuce Vaughn for 80 yards. Amazing.
JM: The catch and run by Deuce Vaughn set up this touchdown pass to Phillip Brooks. He was also untouched on his way to the end zone.
JM: A couple of runs up the middle at the goal line were stuffed, so Collin Klein switched it up and Howard flipped it to Deuce Vaughn on the outside for the touchdown.
JM: Knowles had a big game on senior night. I think he might finally take one of these returns to the house next week or in the bowl game.
JM: DJ Giddens has played great in relief of Deuce Vaughn. He had 44 yards and a touchdown on the night.
Up next is the TCU game in Arlington, Texas next Saturday. I’ll be there and hope to see many of you in attendance. Can K-State win its third Big 12 championship? I feel like it is going to happen!
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