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Eight wins!

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The Wildcats finished the regular season in a better place than expected.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Football

Kansas State beat Iowa State 27-17 on a cold and windy night to put a cap on Chris Klieman’s first regular season in Manhattan. The Wildcats now have an 8-4 record and are part of a logjam of teams in third place in the conference. Kansas State is also one win from tying the all-time series (49-50-4) with the Cyclones.

As Jon Morse notes in his recap, a strong defensive showing and the resurgence of Kansas State’s rushing attack were responsible for the win. The weather should probably be credited with an assist too, as it seriously stymied Iowa State’s passing attack with quarterback Brock Purdy.

Just how good was Kansas State’s defense last night? Well, Klieman described it as “dynamite,” and while he can be forgiven for a bit of hyperbole, the statement wasn’t far off the mark. Coming into the game, the Cyclones were the best fourth quarter offense in all of FBS, but Kansas State held them scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the game.

It was Senior Night in Manhattan and the pre-game festivities included farewell and appreciation for a group of seniors who have toiled through the toughest Kansas State seasons of recent memory. In Reggie Walker’s case, Senior Night was the end of one journey and the beginning of another:

Ironically enough, on Senior Night, it was to a group of underclassmen that Kansas State turned. Joshua Youngblood provided some early fireworks when he took the opening kickoff to the house, and Jacardia Wright looked like a star at running back. The future looks bright for the Wildcats.

Thanks for winning the dang day!

Volleyball

There was good news for Kansas State volleyball too, as the VolleyCats finished out the regular season with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-20) win over Texas Tech. The victory ends a five-match losing skid and also earned Suzie Fritz her 350th career win.

As in football, it was Kansas State’s defense that really made a difference. The VolleyCats held Texas Tech to .067 hitting and also forced 22 errors. Kayley Hollywood had five blocks in her first start while Megan Vernon also had five, and Gloria Mutiri added three. Loren Hinkle had a career-best 23 digs to lead the team in the defensive effort.

Basketball

At the Junkanoo Jam in Bimini, Bahamas, the women’s basketball team briefly held a fourth quarter lead over No. 15 Michigan State but couldn’t hold on to it and lost the game to the Spartans 65-60.

Ayoka Lee and Peyton Williams combined for 39 points and 23 rebounds in the losing effort, and Lee earned all-tournament honors and finished with a career high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting, 13 rebounds, and six blocks. This was Williams’ fourth double-double (17 points,10 rebounds) of the season, and she’s now tied with Shalee Lehning at 24th on the career scoring list.