No. 22 Kansas State established itself as the No. 2 team in the Big 12 with a resounding 48-0 win over No. 9 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Wildcats were up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 35-0 at halftime in a game that quickly got out of hand for the Cowboys. Will Howard started at QB in place of the injured Adrian Martinez for K-State and led the Wildcats on a nine-play, 77-yard drive to open the game that culminated with a 38-yard TD pass to Kade Warner.
Oklahoma State turned the ball over on downs and K-State scored two plays later. The game was effectively over from there and coach Mike Gundy had a succinct summation in his halftime radio interview.
Mike Gundy on the radio broadcast: "They're blocking our ass."
— Scott Wright (@ScottWrightOK) October 29, 2022
Howard came on in relief of Martinez early in K-State’s loss to TCU a week ago and played well. Howard’s inconsistency in 2021 was a big reason why KSU brought in Martinez as a graduate transfer from Nebraska over the offseason. And the last two weeks have shown that Howard is perhaps the best backup quarterback in the Big 12.
He finished 21-of-37 passing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those TDs went to Warner while Malik Knowles had eight catches for 113 yards and Deuce Vaughn rushed 22 times for 158 yards and a score.
Oklahoma State’s offense was absolutely shackled and befuddled by Kansas State’s defense. The Cowboys turned the ball over twice and had just 169 yards of offense on 43 plays before Kansas State backed off in the fourth quarter.
It's the first shutout for the Cowboys since they failed to score in a 2009 game against Oklahoma.
How Kansas State and TCU can meet again
No. 7 TCU (8-0, 5-0) is likely to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game with two more wins since it has the tiebreaker over both Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs beat the Wildcats, 38-28, in Week 8 after Kansas State was down to third-string QB Jake Rubley for a bit when Howard got banged up. Kansas State had a 28-10 lead in that game before Howard exited the game and TCU scored 28 consecutive points for the comeback win.
Kansas State, meanwhile, will be in great position to make the title game with wins over Texas and Baylor over the next two weeks. Both teams have two conference losses and likely need to win out to have a shot at making the conference title game.
A trip to the conference championship game would be the first in nearly 20 years for the Wildcats. Kansas State last made a Big 12 title game in 2003 when it won its only Big 12 title in school history after crushing title game defeats in 1998 and 2000.