(Courtesy of Kansas State Athletics)
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior defensive back AJ Parker and true freshman quarterback Will Howard were honored following the Wildcats’ 21-14 win at TCU as they have been named the Big 12 Defensive Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced Monday.
K-State now has six Big 12 weekly honors this season as Skylar Thompson (offensive), Jahron McPherson (defensive) and Deuce Vaughn (newcomer) picked up accolades after the Oklahoma game, while Vaughn was also the newcomer of the week following the Texas Tech contest. K-State is the first program since 2016 to have three-straight Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
Parker, a native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, carded five tackles and had a 37-yard interception return touchdown in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game. Parker’s pick six was the first of his career and the first by a Wildcat since Duke Shelley returned an interception 25 yards for a score at Texas Tech in 2017. Parker now has six career interceptions, which is tied for 14th nationally among active players.
Howard became the first true freshman quarterback in school history to win his first-career road start. He set up K-State’s first scoring drive with an 80-yard run, which was the seventh-longest run in school history and second among quarterbacks. He also powered into the end zone in the second quarter on a 4-yard run. A product of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Howard finished the game throwing for 117 yards on 8-of-19 passing, while he finished with 86 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Ranked 22nd this week in both the Associated Press Top 25 and Amway Coaches’ polls, Kansas State is off this week prior to hosting the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on October 24. Kickoff for the game against the Jayhawks is slated for 11 a.m. and will be shown on FS1.