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K-State Returns Home to Face Baylor

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Game 10
Baylor at rv/rv K-State

Date: Saturday, November 11, 2023
Kickoff: 2 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
Series: Series Tied, 10-10
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (watch)
Noah Reed (Play-by-Play)
Barrett Brooks (Analyst)
Tori Petry (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. 132 or 200; SXM App 954
X Updates: @KStateFB

THE TOP 5
1)
 Following a tough 33-30 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas – a game in which K-State rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter– the Wildcats return to Bill Snyder Family Stadium to host Baylor on Saturday. The game will kick at 2 p.m. and be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Noah Reed (play-by-play), former K-State offensive lineman Barrett Brooks (analyst) and Tori Petry (sidelines) on the call.

2) The Cats are one of seven Power 5 teams to rank in the top 18 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. They enter play this week ranked 17th by scoring 36.6 points per game. Since Collin Klein took over as offensive coordinator for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State is averaging 34.3 points per game, which includes hitting the 40-point mark in all five home games this season.

3) K-State’s ground game has led the way as it checks in at No. 11 in the country with 204.6 rushing yards per game. Senior quarterback Will Howard has had a resurgence over the last three weeks, throwing for 645 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception on 51-of-75 (68.0%) aim. He threw for a career-high 327 yards and a school-record tying four touchdowns last week at Texas.

4) Over the last three weeks, Kansas State has outscored its opponents, 112-36, and has won the turnover battle with a plus-6 margin thanks to seven interceptions, including two last week by Jacob Parrish. Over the last two seasons, K-State has held 15 of its 16 Big 12 opponents under its season scoring averaging entering the game.

5) The K-State defense enters the week ranked in the top 25 nationally in third down defense (4th – 27.1%), pass efficiency defense (15th – 113.0) and scoring defense (18th – 17.8 ppg). Since the Cats switched to a 3-3-5 alignment to start the 2021 season (36 games), K-State has allowed just 20.5 points per game to tie for 17th in the nation and first in the Big 12.

STATISTICAL SPOTLIGHTS
204.6
 – Rushing yards per game this season by K-State, which ranks 11th nationally heading into this weekend.
79.5 – Red-zone touchdown percentage by the Wildcats this season (35-of-44), which ranks fourth nationally.
27.1 – Third down percentage allowed by K-State, ranking fourth nationally and standing as its best mark since 1999 (22%).
14 – Total point margin in the Cats’ three losses this season, all of which have come against teams currently ranked in Top 16.
9 – Number of turnovers the Wildcat defense has forced over the last four games (3-1 record in those games).

TEAM NOTES
RECENT RECAP
• • Down 27-7 in the third quarter at No. 7 Texas, K-State battled back to force overtime thanks in part to a blitz of 20 points over a span of 2 minutes, 42 seconds before eventually falling, 33-30. The defense held the Horns to 171 yards in the second half, special teams blocked a punt, and Will Howard finished with a career high in passing yards (327) and tied his career highs in completions (26) and touchdown passes (4).
• In K-State’s last home game, the Wildcats dominated in all three phases in a 41-0 shutout win over Houston. Howard started the game 12-for-12 through the air and finished 15-of-17 for 164 yards and two touchdowns. His 88.2% accuracy ranked third in school history for a single game and was the best mark since current K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein had a 90.4% rate at West Virginia in 2012.
• Defensively, the Cats shut out the Cougars while forcing two turnovers. It was the first time a Houston team had been kept off the scoreboard since 2000. Houston had been averaging 28.9 points per game entering the contest.
• Prior to that, the Cats recorded a 41-3 win over TCU. Howard and Avery Johnson both engineered a Wildcat offense that generated 406 total yards in the first half and 587 for the game. K-State ran for a season-high 343 yards on the ground as nine different Wildcats carried the ball, the most ball carriers since nine players also logged a rush at Kansas in 2021.
• Defensively, the Cats kept the Frogs out of the end zone for the first time this season and held them to three total points. TCU averaged more than 33 points per game entering the contest.

LAST 13 QUARTERS
• Kansas State has been on a solid streak over the past three-plus games. Since Texas Tech took a 21-17 lead over the Cats with 7:31 left in the third quarter of the October 14 contest, K-State has outscored its opponents, 133-36.
• Other notables from the last four games include: 37.5 points scored per game, 444.0 average total yards and, perhaps most importantly, a plus-6 margin in turnovers.

TO’s MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
• Prior to the Texas Tech game, K-State ranked 105th nationally in turnover margin (minus-3) but has since flipped that script as it currently ranks 38th nationally with a plus-3 margin.
• In the last four contests, K-State has forced nine turnovers (seven interceptions, two fumbles) while only committing three (two fumbles, one interception).

OH, SO CLOSE
• Kansas State has three losses this season – all on the road – by a combined 14 points to teams ranked in the top 16 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25.
• The Wildcats suffered a 30-27 loss at Missouri – now ranked No. 16 – on a last-second, SEC-record 61-yard field goal. Two games later, K-State lost, 29-21, at Oklahoma State, which is now ranked No. 15. Then, last week, the Wildcats came away three points short in a 33-30 overtime loss at No. 7 Texas.

AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
• K-State has a total of 219 victories since 1996, which ranks 23rd nationally. Among current Big 12 teams, the Wildcats rank fifth behind Oklahoma (269), Texas (237), BYU (228) and TCU (228). 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, as the Cats will advance to their 24th bowl game since 1993 at the end of this season, including their 12th in the last 14 years.
• Entering the 2023 campaign, K-State’s 23 bowl trips since 1993 were 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 previous 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 137 conference victories, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas.
• The Wildcats are also third in the conference in winning percentage since non-divisional play began in 2011. They sit at 59.6% (68-46), trailing only Oklahoma (77.0%; 87-26) and Oklahoma State (65.8%; 75-39).
• During that stretch, the Wildcats are 38-19 (66.7%) at home in Big 12 play and 30-26 (53.6%) on the road.

A CULTURE OF WINNING
• A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 108-36 career record, as his 75.0% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons.
• Klieman, who is 36-23 since arriving at K-State prior to the 2019 season, is also one of just 16 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 wins.

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, five more than the next closest team (Alabama – 124).
• 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
• K-State has scored at least 38 points in eight of its last 11 regular-season contests dating back to last season, its most in an 11-game stretch since doing so 10 times over the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
• Since Collin Klein started calling plays for the 2021 Texas Bowl, K-State’s offense has averaged 34.3 points per game.
• The Cats currently rank 17th nationally and second in the Big 12 with 36.6 points per game this season, a figure that ranks seventh in school history.

TOTAL OFFENSE
• K-State has totaled at least 375 yards in 13 of 15 games against Big 12 foes dating back to last season, including the Big 12 Championship. During that stretch, the Wildcats held a 10-game conference game streak with 375 or more yards, the longest in school history.
• The 2023 opener against SEMO saw the Cats total 588 yards, the fifth-most in school history, most ever in a season opener.
• The Cats enter this week’s game ranked 22nd nationally by averaging 453.0 yards per game, a mark that currently ranks second in school history. They also currently rank second in school history with 6.22 yards per play.

500 CLUB
• The latest 500-yard output for the Wildcats came against TCU, a 587-yard effort that included 406 yards in the first half, which was the most by K-State in a half since at least 1999.
• It was the sixth-most yards in a game in school history but the most ever against a conference opponent.
• This is the first year K-State has at least three 500-yard games since 2003 (535 vs. California; 503 at Iowa State; 561 at Nebraska; 519 vs. Oklahoma) and the first time with at least two in Big 12 play since 2014 (505 vs. Kansas and 535 vs. Texas Tech).

RUSHING TO VICTORY
• K-State has steadily been one of the top rushing attacks in the country this season as it ranks 11th nationally and second among Power 5 programs with 204.6 rushing yards per game.
• The Wildcats are also tied for 10th nationally and first in the Big 12 with 23 rushing touchdowns.
• As of late, the Wildcats have rushed for 200 or more yards in four of their six Big 12 games, their most in a six-game Big 12 stretch since doing so in six-straight games in 2016.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
• A staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats rank third among Power 5 teams in fewest turnovers since 2012 with 176.
• That figure leads returning Big 12 teams, as the Wildcats are 16 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 193).
• The Wildcats finished the 2022 season tied for eighth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+0.86 / game) and head into this week’s game ranked 38th (+0.33 / game).

PUTTING IT WHERE ONLY OUR GUY CAN GET IT
• Since Collin Klein took over coaching the quarterbacks in 2017, K-State has only thrown 51 interceptions, equating to 0.61 per game.
• K-State’s 51 total interceptions thrown the last six-plus seasons are the fewest in the Big 12 and tied for seventh among Power 5 teams.

THIRD DOWN SUCCESS
• Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the nation in terms of converting on third down, as the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and rank sixth nationally with a 50.8% success rate. That figure included a 74.1% mark in wins over TCU and Houston, nearly 10% higher than any other team in the country over those two weeks.
• Through nine games, K-State has converted on 63-of-124 third downs, which included 10-of-13 conversions against TCU and 10-of-14 against Houston. It was the third time this season the Wildcats converted 10 third-down attempts (Troy).
• This is the first season K-State has been successful on at least 10 third-down attempts in three different games since at least 1999.
• The Wildcats have not finished over 50% on third downs in a season since 1998 (50.6% – 84-of-166).

RED ZONE SUCCESS
• Kansas State has been one of the best teams in the nation in turning red-zone trips into touchdowns, as the Wildcats lead the Big 12 and rank fourth nationally by finding paydirt on 79.55% percent of their red-zone possessions (35-of-44).
• K-State’s 35 red-zone touchdowns this year are tied for fifth  nationally and five more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma – 30).
• This year is a continuation of red-zone success under head coach Chris Klieman, as the Wildcats rank second in the Big 12 by scoring on 90.4% (208-of-230) of their overall red-zone trips since 2019. Oklahoma ranks first at 90.7%.

VETERAN OFFENSIVE LINE
• K-State’s veteran offensive line has a combined for 234 games played and 161 starts among the six Wildcats that have logged at least one start this season.
• Senior left guard Cooper Beebe leads the charge with 44 starts, just one shy of entering the school’s top five list among offensive linemen since 1990. He has played in 47 career games, as has senior left tackle KT Leveston. Senior center Hayden Gillum has also seen action in over 40 games as he will play in his 44th career contest this weekend.

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY
• Playing in 31 career games with 24 starts, Will Howard has 42 career touchdown passes – including 18 this season – as he is closing in on becoming the school’s all-time leader in both categories.
• A product of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Howard needs three more touchdown passes to take over the top spot for a career that is currently held by Josh Freeman, who had 44 scoring strikes over the 2006 through 2008 seasons.
• Howard is now seven touchdown passes shy of holding K-State’s single-season record. That mark is currently held by Ell Roberson, who tossed 24 touchdown passes during the 15-game 2003 campaign.

THEY COME IN THREES
• Will Howard produced his fourth game this year with at least three touchdown passes when he had a school-record tying four at Texas. It was the second time in his career he tied the school’s single-game record (2022 vs. Oklahoma State.)
• He also had three scoring strikes this season against Troy, Missouri and TCU, the latter in which earned him Senior Bowl Offensive Player of the Week honors.
• Howard is the first K-State signal caller with at least four games throwing three or more passing touchdowns since Josh Freeman did so in five games during the 2008 season.

RANKING HIGH ON THE CHARTS
• In addition to his touchdown passes, Will Howard ranks highly on many other K-State career and single-season lists.
• Howard enters this week ranked fifth in school history in career completion percentage (59.2), sixth in completions (402), attempts (679), passing yards per game (165.5), passing efficiency (135.9) and total offense (5,961), seventh in touchdown responsibility (58) and eighth in passing yards (5,098).
• In single-season categories, Howard is tied for ninth in touchdown responsibility (24), ranks 10th in passing efficiency (144.2) and is 14 completions away from entering the top 10 (currently at 163).

FIVE FOR THE FRESHMAN
• True freshman quarterback Avery Johnson rushed for five touchdowns at Texas Tech to tie the school record with current K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein (2011 vs. Texas A&M) and Jonathan Beasley (2000 vs. North Texas).
• It is the most rushing touchdowns nationally in a game this year, while it is the most by any true freshman since Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine had five against Kansas in 2014.
• Johnson’s five rushing scores are also the most by any true freshman quarterback in the nation since at least 1995, which makes it the most by a true freshman quarterback in Big 12 history. It was also the first time any Big 12 player had at least five rushing touchdowns since 2016.

RUNNING TO PAYDIRT
• Avery Johnson has six rushing touchdowns this season, which is tied for third in school history among freshmen. He is two shy of the record held by then-redshirt freshman fullback Ayo Saba in 2002 and one shy of tying the school’s true freshman record held by running back Deuce Vaughn in 2020.
• Johnson’s six rushing touchdowns this year are the second most nationally among true freshmen, just two behind UNLV running back Jai’Den Thomas.

GIDDENS GETTING IT DONE
• Sophomore running back DJ Giddens has rushed for 744 yards and seven touchdowns this year in addition to collecting 263 receiving yards on 24 catches, as his 1,007 yards from scrimmage this year ranks seventh in the Big 12.
• He has been efficient when he touches the ball, tying for second in the Big 12 with 6.8 yards per touch (minimum 100 touches).
• Giddens enters this week tied for 18th nationally with 26 carries that have gone for at least 10 yards.
• A native of Junction City, Kansas, Giddens’ 5.95 yards per rush this year currently ranks fifth in school history, while he has 6.90 yards per rush in his career to rank second behind Darren Sproles (6.11 yds/rush – 2001-04).

CONTINUED SUCCESS
• Ben Sinnott burst onto the scene last season, and that has continued in 2023 as he ranks fourth nationally and first in the Big 12 among tight ends with 433 receiving yards.
• Included in that total is a career-high 100-yard effort against SEMO, the first K-State tight end with a 100-yard receiving game since Jeron Mastrud at Kansas in 2006 (103 yards).
• A product of Waterloo, Iowa, Sinnott enters this week’s game ranked tied for fifth in school history among tight ends in single-season receptions (32) and receiving touchdowns (3), while he is eighth in yards (433).
• Sinnott also ranks second in school history among tight ends with seven career receiving touchdowns in addition to ranking fourth in receptions (65) and eighth in yards (895).

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 353 times as an inline tight end, 120 times in the slot, 72 times in the backfield and 17 times as a true wide receiver.

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 36 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.5 points per game, which is tied for 17th in the nation and first in the Big 12.
• 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.
• K-State enters the week ranked 18th nationally and second in the Big 12 by allowing 17.8 points per game. The last time the Wildcats allowed under 20.0 points per game in a season was 2003 (16.3).
• The Wildcats have only allowed 15 touchdowns from scrimmage this year, which is tied for seventh nationally.

UNDER AVERAGE
• K-State held all of its Big 12 opponents last season – and four of the first five in 2023 – under its season averages. Oklahoma State went over its season scoring average this season, but did so with only one offensive score, a pick-six and five field goals.
• Since head coach Chris Klieman‘s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 34 of their 42 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.

STOPPING THE RUN
• The Wildcats have been able to shut down opponents’ running game this season as they rank 34th nationally and third in the Big 12 by allowing just 122.8 rushing yards per game.
• K-State has allowed less than 125 yards four times this year, including three times limiting its opponent to under 100 yards.
• Kansas State’s current average ranks just outside the school’s top 10 and would be the fewest since allowing 105.4 rushing yards per game in 2009.

DEFENSIVE RED ZONE SUCCESS
• The Wildcats have been stingy when opponents enter the red zone as they are allowing touchdowns just 29.17% of the time (7-of-24), the second-best mark in the nation.
• It is a dramatic improvement from last season when K-State ranked 108th when 67.5% of opponents’ red-zone trips resulted in touchdowns.

THIRD DOWN STOPS
• K-State has not allowed any of its nine opponents this year to convert on greater than 42% of its third-down attempts, while the Wildcats have held opponents under 50% in 20 of 23 games dating back to the beginning of last season.
• K-State enters this week ranked fourth nationally by allowing opponents to convert on just 27.1% of its third downs.
• The Wildcats have surrendered four or less third-down conversions each of the last four games against Texas Tech (4), TCU (2), Houston (3) and Texas (2).

2 BY 2
• Two Kansas State secondary players – cornerback Jacob Parrish and safety Kobe Savage – have recorded two-interception games this season. Parrish’s came last week at Texas, while Savage snagged a pair at Texas Tech.
• It is the first time since 2018 that K-State has two players with two-interception games. Additionally, Savage was the first K-State safety with two picks in a game since Travis Green against Texas Tech in 2014.
• Parrish, who is tied for 25th nationally with three interceptions this year, while he is fourth with 1.5 passes defended per game.
• Savage now has five career interceptions as he ranks ninth nationally among active players in career interceptions per game (0.26).

BACK FOR MOORE
• K-State’s leading tackler from a year ago is at is again as Austin Moore leads the team with 50 stops.
• However, Moore has improved his production in tackles for loss with 9.0 on the year.
• A former walk-on turned team captain, Moore has at least a half tackle for loss in 10 of his last 13 games dating back to last year, including a career-best 3.0 TFLs against SEMO.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• Since 2005 (18-plus seasons), K-State has 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 Houston with 21.
• Entering 2023, K-State 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 10 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
• K-State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 123 games and 403 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.

BLOCK PARTY
• When sophomore Shane Porter blocked a Texas punt in the second quarter last week, it not only provided the spark that K-State needed, but it also represented the sixth-straight season the Wildcats have blocked at least one punt.

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