Sep 23, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; UCF Knights defensive back Nikai Martinez (21) misses a tackle on Kansas State Wildcats running back DJ Giddens (31) during the first quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

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DJ Giddens’ big game leads Kansas State past UCF

DJ Giddens rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns as Kansas State defeated UCF 44-31 in the Big 12 Conference opener for both clubs Saturday night in Manhattan, Kan. Giddens had 107 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.

Kansas State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) ran 84 plays compared to 59 by UCF.

Through the first three games, UCF (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) led the nation in total offense averaging 617.7 yards per game, but they were held to 407 yards, including 75 on their final drive.

Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, who was listed as questionable all week, went the distance, going 27-of-42 for 255 yards with an interception. He also picked up 64 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

Timmy McClain completed 14 of 24 passes for 264 yards and three scores for UCF.

With the Knights trailing 21-17 at halftime, McClain found Kobe Hudson for a 46-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to take the lead. Chris Tennant’s 30-yard field goal tied the game at 24-24 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.

Howard then gave the Wildcats a 31-24 lead with a 2-yard touchdown run, capping an 11-play, 85-yard drive that was aided by a pair of personal fouls on UCF.

The Knights’ Colton Boomer missed a 52-yard field goal attempt with 10:06 left in the fourth quarter. It was his first career miss within 64 yards.

Kansas State responded with a 13-play, 65-yard drive that took 6:05 and ended with Giddens’ 3-yard run for a 37-24 lead. Howard then iced it with a 31-yard touchdown. UCF scored with three seconds remaining.

Giddens punched it in from the 1-yard line on Kansas State’s opening possession. UCF answered with a 28-yard Boomer field goal.

Howard threw an interception on the next drive, giving the Knights the ball at their own 43.

UCF converted a third-and-15 with a 27-yard touchdown pass from McClain to RJ Harvey down the right sideline for a 10-7 lead.

Giddens scored on a 9-yard run to give the Wildcats the lead.

Harvey fumbled on the Knights’ next possession, and Giddens scored his third touchdown on an 18-yard run.

UCF drew within one score on a flea-flicker, 69-yard touchdown pass from McClain to Hudson, who was wide open at the Wildcats’ 25-yard line. McClain handed off to Harvey, who ran into the line then pitched it back to the quarterback.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.


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