Football team returns home to face Texas Tech after upset over Oklahoma

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Then-junior quarterback Skylar Thompson heads off the field against Iowa State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 30, 2019. The Wildcats finished their final home game of the season with a win against Iowa State. The final score was 27-17. (File Photo by Emily Lenk | Collegian Media Group)

The football team aims to continue their momentum during a matchup against high scoring Texas Tech after taking down Big 12 Conference favorite Oklahoma. The Wildcats hold an 11-9 all-time record over the Red Raiders.

Kansas State pulled off an incredible 38-35 upset over Oklahoma last Saturday. The 21-point comeback is tied for the largest in school history.

A win over Texas Tech will put the Wildcats at 2-0 in the conference for the first time since 2014, which would be a remarkable turnaround after their opening loss to Arkansas State.

Senior quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for 334 yards and four total touchdowns, which earned him an Offensive Player of the Week nod against Oklahoma. Thompson needs 12 passing yards to reach the 5,000 passing yards milestone.

The pass offense had to step up early in the season when the Wildcats were held to 66 total rushing yards against the Sooners. Both Arkansas and Oklahoma held K-State to under 100 rushing yards. Oklahoma dominated the time of possession. The K-State offense only had the ball for 27:52 of the game.

Freshman running back Deuce Vaughn proved he can be a threat and was an essential part of the comeback in Norman with 129 receiving yards and one rushing touchdown.

He became the fifth running back in school history to have 100 receiving yards — the first freshman ever to do it and the first Wildcat since 1970. Vaughn was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for his performance.

Senior safety Jahron McPherson was named the Walter Camp and Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. He was also named the Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week. McPherson had 11 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception, which also earned him the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

The Wildcats hold a four-game-winning streak over Texas Tech, which began with a 44-38 win in 2016 over the Patrick Mahomes-led Red Raiders. The matchup has been a scoring frenzy in recent years — the winner has scored 40+ points in seven of the last nine matchups. The teams have scored 75+ combined points in five contests since 2011.

Texas Tech dropped a 63-56 overtime thriller against Texas last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 331 yards with five touchdowns, but it was also a three-interception night.

Sophomore running back, SaRodorick Thompson opened the ground game for the Red Raiders. Thompson has 222 yards and four touchdowns in the young season, which ranks him third in the Big 12 in rushing.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Junior defensive back Justin Gardner made an impact on both sides of the ball against Oklahoma. Gardner recorded an interception and had a crucial 78-yard reception. If the Wildcats continue to be low in numbers for positions, look for number six to step up.

Senior tight end Briley Moore is a remarkable addition to the K-State offense this season. The grad-transfer documented ten receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown so far. Moore ranks fourth nationally among tight ends in catches per game. His six receptions against Arkansas State were the most catches in a game by a Wildcat tight end since Travis Tannahill in 2012.

Through two games, Bowman has already thrown for 761 yards and seven touchdowns. The Wildcats have yet to face the gunslinger, who has had an injury-riddled college career since 2018.

Senior wide receiver TJ Vasher opened conference play with four receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-6-inch Texas native has already notched 153 yards through two games this season.

He is similar in size to Arkansas State wide receiver Jonathan Adams, who dominated the K-State secondary with eight receptions for 98 yards and three touchdowns.

The Wildcats enter the matchup as a 2.5-point favorite, and the Over/Under is set at 64 points. Kickoff at is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on FS1.

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