AMES — Kansas State has had 78 football players test positive for COVID-19, according to the Kansas City Star.
Currently, 12 Kansas State players have COVID-19 and several more are out due to contact tracing.
The Wildcats haven’t had to cancel or postpone a game this season, but if this week’s three tests don’t go well, they may have to.
“We’re right on the cusp,” Kansas State Coach Chris Klieman said on Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. “Hopefully we have a good week this week from a COVID standpoint because we’re right on the cusp. I couldn’t tell you the exact numbers but it’s more than we would’ve liked.”
Here are 5 Things about Kansas State:
1. Kansas State’s COVID-19 troubles
Kansas State has had trouble all season handling the coronavirus, but this is the first time the positive tests have spiked.
“We got hammered in the preseason in those first couple weeks of September when we were down 40-plus guys,” Klieman said. “Then we had a pretty good stretch where we’d only lose three or four a week, which was a low number and allowed us to still play. Then right after West Virginia we’ve been getting hammered again.”
If the game against Iowa State were to get canceled or postponed, it would join myriad other games that suffered the same fate in recent weeks.
“Unfortunately I think that’s going to continue across the country, not just at Kansas State, as we see everything spike,” Klieman said. “As many kids as we’ve had get COVID — I don’t have the exact number but I know it’s more than half of our team — we still have a bunch of guys that haven’t. That really worries you because for whatever reason, infections are going up again.”
2. Homecoming for Iowa native Chris Klieman
Klieman is a native of Waterloo who played and coached at Northern Iowa.
Klieman’s father, Bob Klieman, was his high school football coach at Columbus.
Chris still leans on his father for coaching help.
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“Dad was a coach, he was a mentor, he was a leader and he’d challenge the heck out of me everyday,” Klieman said. “And he still challenges me today, that’s the fun thing. I can bounce ideas off of him and he’s a great Monday-morning quarterback at times, which is awesome as well.”
3. Briley Moore back in Iowa
Another former UNI Panther is making his return to Iowa on Saturday.
Tight end Briley Moore leads Kansas State in receiving touchdowns with three and is second on the team in yards with 271, despite missing the Oklahoma State game.
Moore suffered a back injury against West Virginia and missed the Oklahoma State game with the injury.
4. Kansas State’s dominant D-line
Kansas State has four defensive linemen who have at least 4.5 tackles for loss.
The whole line is a group of disrupters led by All-Big 12 player Wyatt Huber, who has 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
“We’re playing well defensively mainly because our guys up front are playing exceptionally well and playing physical,” Klieman said.
5. Deuce Vaughn: Little guy, big heart
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn is listed at just 5-foot-5 and 168 pounds.
But he’s had success for the Wildcats.
Vaughn has rushed for 381 yards and four touchdowns and leads Kansas State in receiving with 366 yards.
But his production has tailed off in recent weeks. Vaughn has rushed for just 66 yards and no touchdowns and caught just two passes in Kansas State’s last two games.