Takeaway #1: Will Howard makes history
After a series of unique situations, quarterback Will Howard has placed himself amongst the elite in Kansas State football history. With his third passing touchdown of the day to full back Christian Moore, the senior became the all-time passing touchdowns leader in program history. Howard passed former NFL quarterback Josh Freeman and now has 21 on the season, four away from passing Ell Roberson for the most in a season.
Takeaway #2: Cody Stufflebean has career day
Junior defensive end Cody Stufflebean has become a potential new contributor for the Wildcats. After securing three tackles against Texas, Stufflebean marked himself down in the sack column for the first time in his career. Twice. The junior forced a sack-fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter to record his first sack of his career and later sacked Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen, resulting in a fumbled snap from the punter and a Wildcat score the next play. Stufflebean’s impact on defense was near the top of the team against the Bears.
Takeaway #3: Defense recovers from opening drive touchdown despite losses
The defense as a whole was highly productive. After allowing its first opening drive touchdown at home on the season, the unit locked down, including two defensive touchdowns. First, linebacker Desmond Purnell’s scoop-and-score after Stufflebean’s sack and then cornerback Keenan Garber taking an interception to the house in the second half. This occurred with the Wildcats losing two key contributors up front. Linebacker Jake Clifton suffered an injury during a second quarter drive. On the same drive, defensive end Khalid Duke was ejected for getting into a fight with a Baylor offensive lineman. Without them, the defense suffered some but held strong to complete the blowout.
Takeaway #4: Offense continues to see many contributors from skill positions
The defense was key in the team reaching 50 points, but the offense had many players help along the way. Running back DJ Giddens led the way with 134 total yards and a score. Outside of Giddens, eight other players caught a pass with the starting offense on the field, six of them receiving two or more targets. Howard has many weapons at his disposal with the season nearing the end.
Takeaway #5: Big 12 Championship aspirations are still aspirations
Despite K-State’s loss against Texas, this Saturday was a hopeful one for the Wildcats’ chances to reach Arlington. Due to unique tiebreaker scenarios, Oklahoma State’s loss to UCF greatly pushed K-State close to the Big 12 Championship. In certain scenarios with the majority of presumed favorites winning, the Wildcats may just need to take down their final two opponents in Kansas and Iowa State to potentially rematch Texas in early December. K-State is not in control of its own destiny, but the possibility is not far off.