No. 21 Kansas State rallies to upend No. 25 Kansas

League: NCAA Football

Posted on: 19 Nov, 2023 at 03:48 AM

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Will Howard accounted for three touchdowns as No. 21 Kansas State scored 15 unanswered points to defeat host Kansas, the 25th-ranked team in the country, 31-27 in Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) won its 15th straight game in the rivalry.

Howard was 13 of 24 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown.

Freshman Cole Ballard, who was making his first career start for Kansas (7-4, 4-4), completed 11 of 16 passes for 162 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Devin Neal, a native of Lawrence, Kan., ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

On the first play of the second half, Ballard found Mason Fairchild alone in the right flat, and Fairchild raced 59 yards to the Wildcats' 6-yard line. Two plays later, Neal ran untouched into the end zone for a 27-16 lead. The Jayhawks scored 14 points in less than two minutes of game action on either side of halftime.

DJ Giddens scored on a 1-yard run to pull Kansas State within one score midway through the third quarter. Howard ran it in for the two-point conversion.

Howard then went around left end for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up 31-27 with 10:22 left.

Ballard threw an interception in the end zone on fourth-and-5 from the Kansas State 11 with 5:33 left, and the Wildcats ran out the clock.

The game couldn't have started much better for Kansas State. The Wildcats went 75 yards in five plays to open a 7-0 lead. Howard found Jace Brown for 46 yards on the first play, followed by by Giddens' 18-yard run. After a pair of incompletions, Howard found Ben Sinnott for an 11-yard touchdown.

Kansas tied it on a nifty 36-yard run around the left end by Neal, who juked a pair of Kansas State defenders, capping an 11-play, 82-yard drive.

Kansas took the lead on another Neal touchdown, a 9-yard scamper around the left end. Ballard hit Luke Grimm with a 33-yard gain to set up the score. The extra point was blocked and Keenan Garber returned it 91 yards for two points for the Wildcats.

Howard found Keagan Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats back in front 16-13 The Wildcats appeared to be stopped on downs deep in Kansas territory, but a defensive holding penalty kept the drive alive.

Ballard found Lawrence Arnold for a 5-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half to give the Jayhawks a 20-16 lead. The 13-play, 75-yard drive took seven minutes.

--Field Level Media