That was fun!
In what is probably the most complete game the team has played in years, Kansas State obliterated #9 Oklahoma State 48-0. It is the single largest shutout of a Top 10 team by a non-Top 10 team in football history, and as a reward, the Wildcats now have the inside track to a Big 12 title game appearance and a shiny new #13 ranking in the AP Top 25.
This was, of course, a team effort. The offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense swarmed the opponent and stifled any attempts at a comeback, pitching an almost unprecedented shutout, and special teams left nothing to complain about. But make no mistakes, the day belonged to Will Howard. Much maligned the last two seasons, he has now gone from goat to GOAT, and deservedly so. Finishing the day with a stat line of 21/37 for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns, Howard imposed his will on the Pokes, slinging the ball like he had nothing to lose and finding his receivers just when he needed them. (Yes, there will be puns. So. Many. Puns).
The view from the other end of the scoreline is dire, a case of everything going wrong at exactly the wrong time. Oklahoma State had come into the game averaging 44.7 points and 466.9 yards per game, but managed zero points and only 217 yards last night. Granted, the team had a rash of injuries prior to this game, but playing like they didn’t want to be there, the Pokes never advanced past the Kansas State 38-yard line, and never looked like the Top 10 squad they have been for much of the season.
Oh, there’s another big bit of football news. ICYMI this morning, the Big 12 has inked a new media rights deal. Technically a six-year extension of the current deal, this could give teams in the conference up to a $50M payout. It also gets them out ahead of a still-struggling Pac-12, and the expiration of the deal in 2031 is timed to get the Big 12 out into the open market ahead of the SEC.
Kansas State qualified for the Big 12 Tournament for the first time in program history. In the quarterfinals of the 2022 Sprouts Farmers Market Big 12 Championship, the Wildcats took on tournament top seed #17 Texas. Kansas State has never beaten or even drawn with Texas before, and this time was no different, with the Wildcats getting blanked 4-0 in the match.
Speaking of losing to Texas, the VolleyCats didn’t fare much better against the second-ranked Longhorns. Kansas State lost a four-set match (25-23, 13-25, 16-25, 21-25) at Bramlage on Friday.
Up next, the team will hit the road beginning with the Sunflower Showdown on Wednesday night in Lawrence.