LAWRENCE (KSNT) – The Wildcats scratched and clawed their way back to a Sunflower Showdown win.
K-State beat KU, 31-27, in the 2023 edition of the rivalry game.
K-State started scoring fast. Less than two minutes in, Will Howard found Ben Sinnot in the back of the end zone to give K-State a 7-0 lead. However, their next drive changed the momentum.
Cobee Bryant broke up a deep ball from Howard to Phillip Brooks, forcing the ‘Cats to punt. The defensive momentum carried into the offense. Devin Neal ran in a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
Neal added another in the second quarter, giving the Jayhawks a 13-7 lead. Then, on the extra-point attempt, Keenan Garber blocked the kick and returned it for an extra two point for the Wildcats.
Howard followed that with another touchdown, this time, to Keagan Johnson. K-State retook the lead, 16-13, with 7:42 left in the half.
No one got in the end zone through the next seven minutes. With 26 seconds until the break, Cole Ballard threw his first career touchdown to Lawrence Arnold for a 20-16 lead, and the Jayhawks could take a deep breath during halftime.
Neal kept the momentum going in the second half, punching in a two-yard touchdown for a 27-16 lead.
K-State’s defense kicked it up a notch after. It didn’t allow KU to score again in the third quarter. On the other side of the ball, DJ Giddens ran in a one-yard touchdown to close KU’s lead to just a field goal.
Howard also ran in a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Fifteen yards into the end zone gave K-State its first lead since the first half, 31-27, and holds onto it for the rest of the game.
With the win, K-State’s Big 12 Championship hopes stay alive. The Wildcats play Iowa State to close the season. KU will play Cincinnati.