MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — DJ Giddens ran for a career-high 207 yards and four touchdowns and Kansas State beat UCF 44-31 on Saturday night in the Big 12 debut for the Knights.
Giddens ran for three scores in the first half that included a 1-yard run on the opening drive for K-State (3-1, 1-0), which has found the end zone in its opening drives in all four games this season.
“The easy name is DJ Giddens,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said. “We challenged him to step up and we were going to give him the football and keep giving it to him.”
Will Howard went 27-for-42 passing for 255 yards and threw an interception. He added 64 yards on the ground and scored on a 31-yard run to give K-State a 44-24 lead with 2:01 remaining.
Giddens added a score in the second half to put the Wildcats up 37-24 with 4:01 left. K-State amassed 536 total yards with 281 rushing.
“I have to give a shout-out to the offensive line and Will Howard for making holes and getting me the ball,” Giddens said. “I just tried to make people miss in the open field.”
Timmy McClain threw three touchdown passes and completed 14 of 24 passes for 264 yards with an interception for UCF (3-1, 0-1). The Knights totaled 407 yards and rushed for 143 yards. UCF added a 1-yard touchdown by RJ Harvey with three seconds left in the game.
“We’re disappointed, but (K-State) is a good team and a tough place to play," UCF coach Gus Malzahn said. "We know what we need to work on. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching and playing. This is just one game and we’ve got some things to clean up.”
Kobe Hudson had two receiving touchdowns for his first scores of the season and finished with 138 yards despite being the Knights' leading receiver. He recorded his third-straight 100-yard receiving game.
Hudson scored on a 69-yard touchdown pass from McClain on a flea flicker late in the second quarter and again in the first UCF drive of the second half with a 46-yard reception on third-and-10 to give the Knights a 24-21 lead.
Harvey scored a 27-yard touchdown on third-and-15 in the first quarter. The first points in a Big 12 game for the Knights came on Colton Boomer's 29-yard field goal.
Knights: The passing attack was extremely successful for the Knights, with all three touchdowns coming in the air. UCF had success on third down with two scores coming on third-and-long. The defense seldom had an answer to slow the K-State rushing attack, allowing a season-high in yards rushing.
Wildcats: Giddens was clearly the primary source of the K-State offense, leading the team in carries, receptions and total yards. The secondary got beat deep on a pair of touchdown catches by Hudson; both were over 45 yards. The Wildcats have allowed a receiver to net over 100 yards receiving in two straight games.
BIG 12 STATE OF MIND
UCF played its first Big 12 Conference game against the reigning Big 12 champions. It was the first time K-State hosted a new conference member to open Big 12 play since welcoming Texas Tech to the newly-minted Big 12 in 1996.
UCF continues its list of Big 12 firsts, hosting Baylor in its first Big 12 home game next Saturday. The two faced off in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. The Knights hold a 1-0 series with a 52-42 win led by then UCF quarterback Blake Bortles.
K-State will get a week off before a road clash against Oklahoma State on Oct. 6. The Wildcats blanked the Cowboys 48-0 last season.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll