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AMES — Kansas State seems to be following its usual blueprint.
The Wildcats aren’t going to out-talent anybody, but they’re going to control the ball with the run and play good defense.
Here are the five players who are keeping the Kansas State train moving ahead of Saturday’s game against Iowa State.
RB Deuce Vaughn
The 5-foot-6 Vaughn was a revelation for Kansas State last season. Teams know who and what Vaughn is now, which is a versatile running back who is as shifty as they come.
The problem is, they still can’t see him. Vaughn does a wonderful job hiding behind his linemen before a hole opens up and he shoots through. He’s rushed 90 times for 479 yards and five touchdowns this season.
What makes Vaughn more dangerous is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Vaughn is Kansas State’s second-leading receiver with 20 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Anudike-Azomah is just a sophomore, but he’s putting together a great season.
The defensive end has five sacks in just four games. The caveat is three of his sacks came against Southern Illinois. Still, he got a sack against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, so he’s proven he can still get to the quarterback against Power Five players.
Anudike-Azomah also has 18 tackles and two forced fumbles to go along with his five sacks.
QB Skylar Thompson
It feels like Thompson has been at Kansas State since the days of then-Hiesman hopeful Collin Klein. He hasn’t, but he is a sixth-year senior who has started since he was a freshman.
Each of the last two seasons for Thompson have been riddled with injuries. He played in just three games last year before being sidelined with an injury. This year, Thompson missed the Nevada and Oklahoma State games with a knee injury. He returned against Oklahoma, passing for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
In the three games he’s played, Thompson has completed 69 percent of his passes for 560 yards and three touchdowns.
WR/RB/KR Malik Knowles
The 6-3 Knowles does a little bit of everything.
He’s the Wildcats’ third-leading receiver with 14 catches for 172 yards, he’s rushed the ball six times for 61 yards and he’s returned seven kicks for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
The junior is the second Wildcat in school history to have three plays of at least 70 yards in three different ways.
Knowles had a 75-yard run against Baylor last season, a 70-yard reception against Texas last season and he had a 99-yard kick return against Oklahoma State this season.
LB Cody Fletcher
You know the player who always seems to be around the ball?
The senior leads Kansas State with 30 tackles. He also has 2.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and QB hurry.