Will Howard, Top Kansas State vs. NC State Players to Watch – Pop-tarts Bowl

Written By PlayPicks Staff on December 9, 2023

The Kansas State Wildcats and the NC State Wolfpack play in the Pop-tarts Bowl on December 28, 2023, with kickoff at 5:45 PM ET, airing on ESPN.

The Wildcats last hit the field against the Baylor Bears, and they came out on top 59-25. The Wolfpack picked up a 26-6 win last time out against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

In that last outing for the Wildcats, Will Howard completed 24 of 48 passing attempts (50.0%) and totaled 288 yards through the air, connecting on one touchdown pass but giving away one interception and one touchdown as a rusher. DJ Giddens had 31 rushing attempts and finished with 114 yards and one touchdown. Ben Sinnott found paydirt once, and ended the contest with 10 catches for 136 yards.

For the Wolfpack in their last game, Brennan Armstrong finished with 22 completions on 31 attempts (71.0%) for 334 yards, tossing three touchdowns, plus nine rushing attempts for 22 yards. Kevin Concepcion carried the ball 11 times for 55 yards. He also posted seven receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Keyon Lesane caught five passes for 66 yards.

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Kansas State Players to Watch

  • Howard leads his team with 2,643 passing yards (220.3 per game) and has a 61.2% completion percentage (219-of-358), throwing 24 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He also has 354 rushing yards on 81 carries (with nine touchdowns), averaging 29.5 yards per game.
  • Giddens has 195 carries for a team-high 1,075 rushing yards (89.6 per game) and nine touchdowns. He also has 28 catches for 286 receiving yards (23.8 per game) and two touchdowns.
  • Treshaun Ward has run for 651 yards on 125 carries (59.2 yards per game), with five touchdowns on the ground this year.
  • This season Sinnott has 49 receptions for a team-high 676 receiving yards (61.5 per game) and six touchdowns.
  • Phillip Brooks III has chipped in with 53 receptions for 589 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Jayce Brown is averaging 48.1 yards per game, racking up 22 receptions for 385 yards and two touchdowns.

NC State Players to Watch

  • Armstrong leads the team with 1,619 passing yards (147.2 yards per game) and has a 62.4% completion percentage this year (146-of-234) while throwing 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. He also has 544 rushing yards on 126 carries with six touchdowns, averaging 49.5 yards per game.
  • This season Concepcion has rushed for 297 yards on 38 carries (24.8 ypg). Concepcion also figures in the passing game, catching 64 passes to lead the team with 767 yards (63.9 ypg) while scoring 10 touchdowns.
  • Lesane has added 247 yards on 28 catches. He averages 20.6 receiving yards per game this year.
  • This season Brad Rozner has caught 18 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 23.1 receiving yards per game.

Kansas State Recent Stat Leaders

  • Terry Kirksey Jr. has played of the Wildcats’ last three games, registering .
  • Howard has helped lead the Cats’ defense with in their last three games.
  • Sinnott has helped lead the Wildcats’ defense in their last three games with in games.
  • An important piece of the Wildcats’ defense, Beau Palmer has six tackles and one sack in their last three games.

NC State Recent Stat Leaders

  • As a key defensive contributor in the Wolfpack’s last three games, Torren Wright has collected six tackles and one sack in games.
  • Jaylon Scott has compiled 15 tackles for the Pack in their last three games.
  • In the Wolfpack’s last three games, Anthony Smith has posted 15 tackles.
  • On defense, Porter Rooks has contributed 15 tackles for the Pack in their last three contests.

Kansas State vs. NC State Odds

Favorite Spread Favorite Spread Odds Underdog Spread Odds Total Over Total Odds Under Total Odds
Kansas State -2.5 -110 -110 47.5 -108 -112

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Team Stat Comparison

Kansas State NC State
Off. Points per Game (Rank) 37.8 (16) 26.8 (74)
Def. Points per Game (Rank) 21.2 (28) 20.2 (20)
Turnovers Allowed (Rank) 10 (32) 12 (46)
Turnovers Forced (Rank) 14 (44) 19 (7)

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