MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP)Will Howard threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns, Deuce Vaughn ran for 158 yards and another score, and No. 22 Kansas State dealt ninth-ranked Oklahoma State its first shutout loss since 2009 with a 48-0 victory Saturday.
Kade Warner caught five passes for 97 yards and two scores, and Malik Knowles had eight catches for 113 yards, while a late interception gave the Wildcats (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) their first shutout of the Cowboys since a 10-0 win on Nov. 21, 1992.
Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders was just 13 of 26 for 147 yards with an interception before landing hard on his shoulder midway through the fourth quarter. The star quarterback did not return to the game.
Kansas State scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, finished with 495 yards of total offense and held Oklahoma State (6-2, 3-2), which had been the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense at 44.7 points per game, to just 217 yards.
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.
The Wildcats have had some strangely easy wins over Oklahoma State. The last time a Gundy team was held to 12 points or fewer was in a 31-12 loss in Manhattan in 2018, and the last time the Cowboys trailed any game by at least 38 points was during a 48-14 loss to the Wildcats in 2014.
The biggest question surrounding Kansas State was the health of its own quarterback, Adrian Martinez, who played just four snaps in last week’s loss to TCU because of a knee injury. And while he warmed up with the starters Saturday, it was the veteran backup Howard who headed out to the field on the opening possession of the game.
Howard proceeded to torture the banged-up Cowboys defense for the next 30 minutes. He capped the opening drive by hitting Warner on fourth-and-10 for a 38-yard TD reception. Then, after Vaughn ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run, Howard threw a 31-yard third-down scoring strike to Phillip Brooks to make it 21-0.
Howard’s fourth TD throw, also to Warner and also on third down, traveled about 10 yards through the air on a screen, but ended up going for 41 yards. And the final touchdown of the half, after Oklahoma State had stuffed Kansas State twice at the goal line, was a quick out to Vaughn with just 11 seconds left before halftime.
Meanwhile, the prolific Cowboys offense couldn’t answer any of them.
Their opening drive ended on fourth down when Sanders threw incomplete. The next ended in a punt, and the next when Oklahoma State wide receiver Brennan Presley fumbled the ball away on the first play. The Cowboys punted twice more in the half around an interception, when Sanders overthrew everyone over the middle but the Kansas State defense.
The Wildcats not only led 35-0 at the break, they controlled the ball nearly two-thirds of the half and had a 350-112 edge in total offense. Howard had thrown for 224 yards, Vaughn had run for 121 and Warner had 97 yards receiving.
The only question in the second half was whether the Wildcats would keep the Cowboys off the scoreboard.
Oklahoma State had won eight of its past 10 against ranked opponents, and the losses were by five last year to Baylor in by three in double-overtime to TCU earlier this season. But the Cowboys never put up a fight against Kansas State, even 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 on special teams, nearly got a punt return touchdown.
Oklahoma State heads down Interstate 70 to face Kansas next Saturday.
Kansas State welcomes Texas to Bill Snyder Family Stadium the same day.
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