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Missouri vs. K-State: Familiar foes yet total strangers

Sportsnaut
Sep 3, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn (22) is chased by South Dakota Coyotes linebacker Tre Thomas (21) during the second quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri and Kansas State have played each other in football nearly 100 times, but the last time the two schools faced off, even the fifth-year seniors were still in grade school.

The former conference foes have not met since 2011, when new K-State offensive coordinator Collin Klein quarterbacked the Wildcats to a 24-17 victory over the Tigers. The following season, Missouri bolted from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference and their border series ended.

Both teams opened the season with convincing victories against overmatched opponents, and when they square off for the 98th time Saturday, this time in Manhattan, Kan., both know their quality of opponent will rise.

Missouri (1-0) is coming off a convincing 52-24 victory over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 1. The Tigers built a 38-10 lead after three quarters and Tech — forced to play catchup — finished with 337 yards of offense, but only 11 on the ground.

That was quite an upgrade for Missouri’s defense, which was one of the nation’s worst against the run last year.

“The defense, wow,” Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “What a difference a year makes. To hold them to 11 yards rushing is pretty impressive. Can’t say enough about the effort those guys had.”

Kansas State (1-0) was pretty vanilla on offense while dominating South Dakota 34-0 on Sept. 3. Yet, the Wildcats pose a much bigger challenge to the Missouri defense.

The Wildcats ran for 297 yards against South Dakota, the most for the team since 2019. And with preseason All-American Deuce Vaughn watching most of the second half from the sideline, that number could have been even higher.

Vaughn rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown against South Dakota. It was his seventh straight game with more than 100 rushing yards, three shy of Darren Sproles’ school-record 10-game streak spanning the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

“That’s a testament to our offensive line,” Vaughn said. “The way they played, it was one of those things where we didn’t get to our entire playbook. We ran the ball pretty well, to the point where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“We were able to keep some of those things in the shadows going into next week and keep some plays that we could have ran tonight away from a team like Missouri.”

Missouri leads the all-time series 59-33-5.

–Field Level Media