MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (KSNT) – With two games to go in the 2022 football season, K-State football controlled its own destiny to the Big 12 Championship game if the team wins out. The two-game quest started with a trip to West Virginia Saturday.

A strong first half led to a victory for the Wildcats, beating the Mountaineers 48-31.

Quarterback Will Howard got the start for K-State as Adrian Martinez continues to deal with an injury. Howard’s first drive showed explosiveness from the QB.

It took two minutes for the Wildcats to score on its opening possession. A 15-yard run from Deuce Vaughn into the endzone put K-State up 7-0. K-State scored again on the WVU first drive. It was a pick-six from Cincere Mason that put the ‘Cats up 14-0.

However, West Virginia answered in a big way. The Mountaineers scored twice, one on a pick-six of their own, but missed the PAT after their second touchdown. Suddenly, it was a one-point game.

K-State’s response came in the form of a 49-yard DJ Giddens touchdown run. The Wildcats forced a WVU turnover on downs then scored again on a Will Howard one-yard QB sneak to take a 28-13 lead.

Each team scored one more touchdown before the end of the half. Plus, Topeka native Ty Zentner drilled field goals from 44 and 53 yards out before the break. K-State led 41-25 at the half.

The second half was much different. After combining for 56 points in the first half only 13 points went on the board in the second. K-State scored on a 43-yard completion from Will Howard to Malik Knowles. West Virginia scored once, but it didn’t matter in the end.

Will Howard finished with 294 passing yards on 19-for-27 throwing. DJ Giddens, a Junction City High School graduate, led the Wildcats in rushing with 78 yards on 12 carries. Deuce Vaughn ran for 67 yards.

Malik Knowles and Ben Sinnott were the two most popular guys in the receiving game. Knowles caught six passes for 111 yards. Sinnott had three receptions for 85 yards. They each scored a touchdown. Sammy Wheeler, Phillip Brooks and Kade Warner all caught passes, too.

The win marks Chris Klieman’s 100th career win as a head coach.

The win moves K-State to 8-3 on the year with one regular season game remaining. That game is next week at home against in-state rival Kansas. If the Wildcats beat the Jayhawks they will play TCU in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 3.