No. 23 Kansas State tries to keep Big 12 title hopes alive with trip to rival Kansas

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No. 23 Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12, No. 21 CFP) at Kansas (7-3, 4-3, No. 25), Saturday, 7 p.m. EST (FS1)

Line: Kansas State by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Kansas leads 65-60-5.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Kansas State still has a path to defending its Big 12 championship thanks to the complex tiebreaker system that the conference uses because of an unbalanced schedule. But the route begins with winning their final two games against Kansas and Iowa State. The Wildcats have won the last 14 games against the Jayhawks dating to the 2009 season. The Jayhawks also have a path to playing for the Big 12 title, but they need to win out and get a whole lot of help.

KEY MATCHUP

Kansas RB Devin Neal against the Kansas State defensive line, which allowed Baylor to gain just 85 yards on 35 carries in a 59-25 rout last weekend. Neal ran for 137 yards and a score in the Jayhawks' 16-13 last-second loss to Texas Tech last weekend, when backup QB Jason Bean went down with an injury. If he remains out, and Kansas turns to walk-on Cole Ballard, it will be critical for Neal to take pressure off its young quarterback.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kansas State: RBs DJ Giddens and Treshaun Ward ran all over the Bears last week, combining for 159 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Their ability to get big yardage on first and second downs specifically opened up the playbook for QB Will Howard, who threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Giddens had one of those, too.

Kansas: Bean and Ballard. The Jayhawks have been playing most of the season without Jalon Daniels, who was expected to contend for the Heisman Trophy. But he has been dealing with a back injury going back to fall camp, and Bean has played well in his place. Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold said this week he was optimistic that Bean would be available against Kansas State, but Ballard is waiting in the wings.

FACTS & FIGURES

The series is the fourth-longest continuously played in the Football Bowl Subdivision, beginning in 1911. The only longer are Minnesota-Wisconsin, North Carolina State-Wake Forest and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, which is ending after this season. ... Kansas State is coming off its highest-scoring game since 2016, when it hung 62 on Florida Atlantic. ... Howard set the school record last week with 45 career touchdown passes. ... Kansas State averages 202.1 yards per game on the ground, which is 14th nationally. ... The Wildcats have forced 13 turnovers in the last five games. ... This will be the final game played at Memorial Stadium before it begins a lengthy renovation.

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