MANHATTAN, Kan. — Will Howard threw three touchdown passes, including a 61-yarder to DJ Giddens, to help Kansas State beat TCU 41-3 on Saturday night.
The contest was a rematch from the Big 12 title game last season, which Kansas State won 31-28.
Howard went 10-for-16 passing for 154 yards with three touchdowns and 62 yards rushing. Howard started at quarterback for the Wildcats, but K-State quickly used both Howard and freshman Avery Johnson.
“We had really good first half, but we felt we left points out there,” Howard said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was really good and we really built off it. The defense did a heck of a job, too.”
A week after a five-touchdown performance, Johnson earned his first career start by taking a jet-sweep for 4 yards on the opening play. Johnson finished with 73 yards rushing and threw for 90 yards and a touchdown, going 5-for-10 passing. Treshaun Ward was the recipient of Johnson’s first collegiate touchdown pass.
Giddens ran for 85 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown to make it 7-0, and his 61-yard catch-and-run gave the Wildcats a 21-3 lead going into the second quarter. Jayce Brown and Will Swanson had their first collegiate touchdown receptions.
The Wildcats had 587 total yards, the most allowed by TCU all season.
“Everyone was talking about the quarterbacks, but the defense stole the show.” K-State head coach Chris Klieman said. “That is a high-octane offense with a fast tempo. We had a great gameplan and our kids executed at a high level."
Josh Hoover went 23 for 43 for 187 yards with an interception for TCU in his second career start. The Horned Frogs were held to 300 yards, their lowest total this season.
Emani Bailey had 100 yards rush for had his fifth career 100-yard game. The Horned Frogs finished with 113 total rushing yards.
“They were good and we were really bad. It was just one of those nights, I don’t have a great explanation. We’ve got to do the best we can to get it fixed,” TCU head coach Sonny Dykes said. “…We just have to get better and we’re going to practice and get better. We’ve got four games and none will be easy.”
Griffin Kell put the Horned Frogs on the board with a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Horned Frogs: TCU entered the game averaging 488 yards per contest through seven games. The unit struggled to generate much momentum, with just 122 yards in the first half. The Horned Frogs went 2 of 13 on third down and 0 of 4 on third-down situations of 9-plus yards. The defense got hit hard early and failed to stop the two-quarterback mix of Johnson and Howard. Bailey was the biggest bright spot for TCU for most of the game. The final drive was the best of the game for the Horned Frogs on a 16-play, 73-yard drive, which ended on the Kansas State two-yard line as time expired.
Wildcats: Kansas State was propelled by an extremely hot start with 21 points and 238 total yards, including 127 rushing yards in the first quarter alone. Giddens scored a 2-yard touchdown to end an eight-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession for the Wildcats. K-State has produced points in six of seven opening drives this season, five of which have been for touchdowns.
Kansas State returned home to the friendly confines of Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the first time since hosting UCF for its Big 12 opener on September 23. The Wildcats are 4-0 at home this season. The Horned Frogs left the Lone Star State for just the second time this season. TCU only plays three regular season games outside of Texas in 2023.
TCU will take on Texas Tech in Lubbock on Nov. 2 after a week off. The Horned Frogs currently hold a four-game win streak over the Red Raiders.
Kansas State hosts Houston next Saturday in the first meeting between the programs.