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Cats Dominate in 40-12 Win Over Missouri

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Via K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State fans chanted “Big-Twelve-Football” and the marching band blared “Happy Trails” as soggy Missouri fans headed to the exits, and the Wildcats thumped the former Big 12 Conference member 40-12 in the first meeting between the teams since 2011 at rainy Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Ponchos were the garment of the day among the 51,806 fans — many of whom returned after the initial lightning delay — but wetness did little to extinguish the flame of an old-school rivalry rekindled under the stadium lights in Manhattan. The K-State Marching Band played on, and new K-State men’s head basketball coach Jerome Tang stood in the K-State student section and performed the Wabash, as the Wildcats, 2-0, prevailed in the 98th meeting between the schools on the gridiron.

“The landscape of college football is changing, and I know one thing, Kansas State wants to be a part of the ‘haves,’ and wins like this elevates you as a part of the ‘haves,'” said K-State head coach Chris Klieman, now 6-0 against Power 5 non-conference opponents in his career, including a 4-0 mark as the Wildcats’ head man. “We have a good football team and we’re continuing to improve, but we have a lot of guys with a chip on their shoulder (in the locker room) because we think we have the potential to have a good team and continue to improve.

“This was no question a huge win. We talked extensively this week about how big this game would be.”

For the Missouri natives on the K-State team, the game took on a heightened meaning. That includes senior wide receiver Phillip Brooks, a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who returned a punt 76 yards into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 20-3 lead in the second quarter.

Lightning prompted a 57-minute game delay with 7 minutes, 44 seconds left in the second quarter. When the teams returned to the field, Brooks provided the fireworks, and he now has four career punt-return touchdowns, which ranks second in K-State history.

“Missouri was my dream school growing up and I got recruited by them and things didn’t work out, so I had this game circled on my calendar,” Brooks said. “I’m glad to be able to make a play.”

The big storyline during the contest? Which team would better handle the rain. Preseason All-American Deuce Vaughn had 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns — a 1-yard run that gave K-State a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter, and a 24-yard score early in the fourth quarter for a 33-6 advantage.

K-State seemed to handle the conditions much better than Missouri, 1-1, which is located 250 miles down Interstate 70. For a second-straight game, K-State senior transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez managed the offense without committing a turnover. He completed 9 of 20 passes for 101 yards and added 52 yards and one score on the ground, as the Wildcats outgained the Tigers 336 to 222 amid sporadic downpours. K-State held a 235-94 edge in rushing yards.

“It was tough to grip the ball out there and I think you saw that on both sides,” Martinez said. “We tried to battle through it, and we did. Sometimes it’s not in the cards to take all the shots you want to take, but when we have such a dynamic running game, we were able to continue churning it and eventually cut some of those loose.”

Meanwhile, the K-State defense forced an interception on four consecutive possessions, marking the first four-interception performance by the Wildcats since 2014.

Safeties Kobe Savage and Cincere Mason, and linebackers Daniel Green and Nick Allen each recorded a pick for a defense that also featured 10 tackles for loss, including a sack by Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

“It felt like every single time you sat down and took a rest, you looked up and someone was catching an interception,” Vaughn said. “That’s a testament to those boys. They had us turned up the entire game.”

It wasn’t until the final play of the game following a roughing-the-quarterback penalty that K-State surrendered its first touchdown of the 2022 season on a 1-yard touchdown run with no time left on the game clock. K-State shut out South Dakota 34-0 in its season opener and for 60 minutes held Missouri to two field goals — until the untimed play with no time remaining.

“I have no problem with Missouri trying to go score,” Klieman said. “It is what it is, and we’ve got to stop them. We have them stopped and then we have a roughing-the-passer penalty and it’s an untimed down. Shoot, they should try to score.

“They scored and that’s how it ended.”

After Missouri managed a game-opening 11-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in a 49-yard field goal, the Wildcats’ defense made the Tigers appear largely pedestrian. Ten of the Tigers’ next 13 drives went for 20 or fewer yards. An 8-play, 54-yard drive in the third quarter resulted in a 44-yard field goal. K-State led 20-6 and responded with a pair of Chris Tennant field goals of 35 and 27 yards while scoring the next 20 points.

Redshirt freshman running back DJ Giddens scored the Wildcats’ final points when he raced 28 yards through the middle of the field with 2:33 left.

All that was left was the Tigers’ last-play touchdown. But it didn’t necessarily dampen the Wildcats’ postgame celebration.

“We were hyped,” Vaughn said. “Everybody got back to the locker room, and it was almost like a party. We just understand that we put in so much work and prepared so much this week and dating back to winter workouts not only this game but this season, and to get a win like this, and to keep the ball rolling after a win last weekend, it was big time.

“We celebrated while understanding there’s still so much more work to do.”

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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