MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Kansas State Wildcats opened up conference play on a strong note, beating UCF 44-31.

The first half was back-and-forth affair.

Kansas State scored on their opening drive after a DJ Giddens 1-yard touchdown run.

But UCF would end the 1st quarter with the lead after a Will Howard interception led to a Timmy McClain 27-yard touchdown pass to RJ Harvey to go up 10-7.

The Wildcats responded on their next possession thanks to a Giddens nine-yard touchdown run. K-State forced a fumble on the Knights next possession that was recovered by VJ Payne.

That turnover would lead to a continuation of the Giddens show as he scored on another touchdown, this time on an 18-yard run to go up 21-10.

UCF was able to score again before the half on a 69-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Hudson. They regained the lead to start the second half on another McClain to Hudson touchdown for 46 yards.

That is when K-State put their foot on the gas, taking the lead back on a Howard two-yard run and then scoring again on a Giddens three-yard touchdown.

Howard would put the icing on the cake with a 31-yard scamper in the 4th quarter to go up 44-24.

He went 27/42 with 255 yards, one rushing touchdown and an interception.

Giddens had a ginormous day on the ground with 30 carries for 207 yards (6.9 ypc) and four touchdowns. He also had 8 receptions for 86 yards, leading the receivers.

Kansas State moves to 3-1 on the season. They will have a week off before they face Oklahoma State on the road on Friday, Oct. 6.