After an early off week in football action, we’re back to Kansas State football a day early this week, as your Wildcats are in Stillwater for a Friday night contest against Oklahoma State.
The Wildcats enter tonight’s game at 3-1 overall, and 1-0 in Big 12 play after a 44-31 win over UCF in Manhattan to open Big 12 play their last time out. The Cowboys are 2-2 on the season, and do boast a win over Arizona State in Tempe, but have dropped their last two, including an embarrassing 33-7 loss to South Alabama in Stillwater, and a 34-27 loss to Iowa State in Ames to open Big 12 play.
The Pokes have struggled so far in 2023, but appeared to start to figure some things out against the Cyclones. Mike Gundy’s squad opened the season trying a three-quarterback rotation that, of course, failed rather miserably, culminating in that loss to South Alabama. Against Iowa State, Gundy stuck with transfer Alan Bowman, who spent three seasons at Texas Tech before transferring to Michigan for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Bowman played against K-State in Texas Tech’s 31-21 loss in Manhattan in 2020, going 4-7 for 23 yards replacing the injured Henry Colombi. Presumably, Bowman will remain the starter tonight against K-State.
Despite a...better offensive consistency against the Cyclones, the Cowboys defense will be hard-pressed to stop the K-State offensive attack, headlined by DJ Giddens, who burst on the the scene with a 200-yard rushing effort (and another near-90 yards receiving) while romping all over the UCF defense last time out. He’ll be aided by Will Howard, who became a hero last year while leading K-State to a 45-0 blowout/shutout of the then-No. 9 Cowboys in Manhattan, throwing for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns in the beating.
Oklahoma State is wounded, but had a week off to figure things out. Presumably, they will want to avenge their loss in Manhattan last season, and strange things seem to happen to K-State teams in Stillwater. The last time K-State won in Stillwater was 2017, when a freshman named Skylar Thompson torched the Cowboys defense repeatedly throwing deep to Byron Pringle. Good K-State teams have lost in Stillwater when they shouldn’t have.
However, the Wildcats should feel good about their chances tonight. Though hopefully they aren’t too comfortable, and keep that road loss to Missouri in the front of their minds to avoid another let-down loss when a victory should be at hand.
We’ve got a primetime 6:30pm CT kickoff tonight from Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, OK being aired on ESPN with Anish Shroff (Play-by-Play), Andre Ware (Analyst), and Paul Carcaterra (Sidelines) on the call. You should also be able to watch the game live online at WatchESPN.com, if you already have the correct cable/streaming package.
If you don’t have ESPN, or can’t access the stream, the game can be heard across the 38-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst), and Matt Walters (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also be on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 84, and available online at K-Statesports.com. Live stats are also available at k-statesports.com, and social media updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage.