MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — As the final seconds ticked away in No. 22 Kansas State’s comprehensive 48-0 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma State on Saturday, thousands of purple-clad fans didn’t storm the field as much as they did. traveled to him to celebrate.
Which was fitting considering the way the Wildcats methodically beat the Cowboys.
Backup quarterback Will Howard threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns, Deuce Vaughn ran for 158 yards and another score and a late interception by the Wildcats sealed Oklahoma State’s first loss since 2009 and kept Kansas State in the race behind TCU. for berths in the Big 12 Championship game.
“It’s as good a win as I’ve ever been a part of,” Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. “The offense came from the defense. The defense made up for the offense. We need to play complementary football and we were really good in all three phases.”
Kansas State scored TDs on its first two possessions, had 495 yards of total offense and held Oklahoma State, the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense to 44.7 points per game, to just 217 yards — less than half its season average.
Kade Warner caught five passes for 97 yards and two scores and Malik Knowles had eight catches for 113 yards. The late interception gave the Wildcats (6-2, 4-1) their first shutout of the Cowboys since a 10-0 win on Nov. 21, 1992.
“We’re sure,” Howard said. “Right now, we’re feeling good.” And we just played a really good game against a really good team and beat them 48-0. And the nice thing is that we didn’t play our best game, and that’s still ahead of us.”
Spencer Sanders was just 13 of 26 for 147 yards with an interception for Oklahoma State (6-2, 3-2) before landing hard on his shoulder midway through the fourth quarter. The star quarterback did not return to the game.
The Cowboys’ most lopsided loss in nearly 18 seasons under coach Mike Gundy was also their first shutout loss to anyone since Nov. 28, 2009, when they lost 27-0 to Oklahoma in the Bedlam Game.
“We kicked ass,” Gundy said. “I’m not taking anything away from Kansas State. They are a good team and they played really well. I don’t know if they could have played a better game than today.”
The Wildcats have some strangely easy wins over Oklahoma State. The last time Gundy’s team was held to 12 or fewer points was in a 31-12 loss at Manhattan in 2018, and the last time the Cowboys trailed any game by at least 38 points was in a 48-14 loss to the Wildcats in 2014.
The biggest question surrounding Kansas State has been the health of its own quarterback, Adrian Martinez, who missed just four snaps in last week’s loss to TCU with a knee injury. And while he warmed up with appetizers on Saturday, it was veteran quarterback Howard who headed down the field on the game’s opening possession.
Howard continued to torment a broken Cowboys defense for the next 30 minutes.
He capped the opening drive with a Warner hit on 4th-and-10 and a 38-yard TD reception. After Vaughn ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run, Howard threw a 31-yard third-and-goal strike to Phillip Brooks to make it 21–0.
“Adrian didn’t feel like he was 100 percent sure of what he was going to be able to do,” Klieman said, “and I appreciate that because he’s a team player. We knew we’d be good either way.”
Howard’s fourth TD throw — also to Warner and also on third down — was a short screen that turned into a 41-yard strike. And the final touchdown of the half, after Oklahoma State stuffed Kansas State twice at the goal line, came to Vaughn with just 11 seconds left to make it 35-0 at halftime.
Meanwhile, the prolific Cowboys offense couldn’t answer any scores.
Their opening drive ended with a fourth-round incompletion. Another ended in a punt and another when Brennan Presley kicked the ball into the Oklahoma State net on the first play. The Cowboys punted twice more in the half around an interception when Sanders brought down all but the Kansas State defense.
The only question in the second half was whether the Wildcats could keep the Cowboys off the scoreboard.
“It takes all of us to get a result like that today,” Warner said.
Oklahoma State has won eight of its last 10 against top-ranked opponents and lost five to Baylor last year and three in double overtime to TCU this season. However, the Cowboys never faced Kansas State, though the winner would have the inside track on a possible rematch with the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 title game.
Kansas State celebrated its first home game in 28 days by ending a three-game skid against the Cowboys in confidence-building fashion. It dominated on both sides of the ball and almost got a punt return touchdown on special teams.
Oklahoma State heads down Interstate 70 to face Kansas next Saturday.
Kansas State welcomes Texas to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on the same day.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Subscribe to the AP College Football Newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25