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K-State Rolls Past TCU, 41-3


MANHATTAN, Kan. ( – Will Howard threw three touchdowns and Avery Johnson tossed a touchdown as well as Kansas State raced past TCU in a 41-3 victory during the program’s annual Harley Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Treshaun Ward also had 17 carries for 89 yards, while DJ Giddens rushed nine times for 85 yards and one touchdown for the Wildcats, 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12 Conference, who ran for 343 yards while outgaining the Horned Frogs 587-300 in a rematch from the 2022 Big 12 Championship Game.

“We executed at a very high level the entire game because we executed at a high level all week,” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “It clicked tonight. I’m super excited for our players, coaches and fans because that’s a good football team. You guys know as well I do they’re a really good team. We were clicking on all cylinders.”

The victory marked the Wildcats’ first home game since a 44-31 win over UCF on September 23. A sellout crowd of 52,580 was on hand to witness the Wildcats third straight win over TCU in Manhattan and the largest margin of victory in the series since 1922.

“Hats off to our fans,” Klieman said. “It was unbelievably loud and impacted the game.”

TCU, 4-4 and 2-3, saw its hopes of reaching the end zone stall three times inside the red zone, including when it went 56 yards on 11 plays before Jacob Parrish broke up a pass intended for Savion Williams on a fourth-and-2 play from the K-State 19-yard line.

The Horned Frogs called a series of timeouts in a last-gasp effort to grab their first touchdown, but Josh Hoover threw back-to-back incompletions at the 2-yard line as time expired on the game clock.

Hoover threw for 187 yards and one interception after passing for 439 yards in his first career start against BYU last Saturday.

“We held them to three points, and they tried to put it in the last 30 seconds,” linebacker Jake Clifton said. “Everyone was into it. It was a full team effort.”

K-State’s 587 total yards marked its sixth most in history and second most this year. In limiting TCU to 300 total yards, the Wildcats held the Horned Frogs to 188.4 yards under their season average.

It was the fewest points allowed by K-State in a Big 12 game this season and the fewest points scored by the Horned Frogs, who fell to 7-2 in road games under second-year head coach Sonny Dykes.

“Just feeding off this momentum, we just need it to carry on into future games,” linebacker Desmond Purnell said. “We just need to keep stopping teams. It was darn near perfect. We always have something to improve upon, but I do think we did really well tonight.”

After K-State exploded for a 27-3 halftime lead, Howard led the Wildcats to a pair of touchdowns in the second half. Howard took the Wildcats on a 13-play, 81-yard drive capped by his 11-yard touchdown pass to Jayce Brown in the end zone for Brown’s first-career touchdown with 2:30 left in the third quarter to make it 34-3. Howard threw his third touchdown to Will Swanson from four yards out late in the fourth quarter to put the Wildcats over 40 points for the fifth-straight home game dating back to last season.

It marked the 36th career touchdown pass by Howard, who tied Michael Bishop for fifth most in school history.

Will Howard is our unquestioned leader on this football team, guys, and, you know, it was hard on Will, but he’s the lifeblood of our offense, and that kid is still a captain and that kid is still a guy who hoisted a Big 12 Championship trophy, and he’s a dang good football player,” Klieman said. “I love the kid because he just went back to work and said, ‘I have to play better.’

“And he did.”

Howard completed 10-of-16 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns and added four rushes for 62 yards, as nine different players carried the football for an offense that last eclipsed 300 rushing yards against Texas Tech last season.

Johnson completed 5-of-10 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown and had 73 rushing yards on 16 carries one week after tying the school record with five rushing touchdowns.

“You got to prepare for both of them,” Ward said. “I said both of them would have significant touches. When it comes to teams, they have to prepare for both Will and Avery. Will did his thing today and Avery did his thing today.”

K-State had things under control early as it used 406 total yards to race to a 27-3 lead at halftime. It marked the first time K-State reached 400 yards in total offense in a half since at least 1999. The Wildcats didn’t score on every possession, but Howard and Johnson made it seem that way, alternating possessions and guiding an offense that produced 238 rushing yards and 168 passing in the first two quarters.

K-State rolled to touchdowns on each of its first three possessions and then used drives of 12 and 10 plays for a pair of Chris Tennant field goals of 27 and 40 yards.

The big question all week was whether senior team captain Howard or true freshman phenom Johnson would start in the game.

Turns out, both started.

K-State began the game with some razzle-dazzle as Howard handed off to Johnson on an end around for four yards. Howard remained on the field and led the Wildcats on an 8-play, 75-yard drive keyed by Howard’s 30-yard rush to set up a 2-yard run by Giddens for a 7-0 lead.

After a TCU punt, Johnson made the most of his opportunity. He ran and slashed and handed off to Ward before hitting Brown with a brilliant 26-yard over-the-shoulder pass. That set up Johnson for a shovel pass to Ward for a 3-yard score — Johnson’s first touchdown pass of his career.

“It was fun to just get out there and play a little bit more and get to play a little bit more each week,” Johnson said. “Will dominated tonight, credit to him. I was really excited for him, to see him go out there and do his thing. Whenever you win a conference game that big, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter how we got it done. We got it done.”

After a Griffin Kell 32-yard field goal, Howard found Giddens with a swing pass to the right and Giddens outraced linebacker Shad Banks Jr. for 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a 21-3 lead.

“They just kind of forgot about him,” Howard said. “He was my first read and I threw it to him, and he made me feel good. It still shows up as a 61-yard pass, so I’ll take it. Hey, thanks, DJ.”

Two more Johnson drives resulted in points as the Wildcats took a 27-3 lead into halftime.

And the Wildcats continued to roll.

“It was definitely special,” Ward said. “Coach Klieman gave us a speech and told us about what happened last year when we had a big lead, and they came back. The emphasis was to keep stepping on the pedal today and not letting up. We had a good victory.”

The game marked the second of five consecutive games against teams from the state of Texas, marking the longest stretch K-State has played against a single state since 1907. K-State has started the season with four straight home wins for the first time since 2016.

“The things we were able to do tonight, it opens up a lot of doors for us,” Howard said. “I’m feeling really good about our confidence level going forward.”