TOP-RANKED K-STATE TRAVELS TO BAYLOR FOR ESPN PRIMETIME MATCHUP
Fresh off a 23-10 win at TCU that saw the Wildcat defense turn in one of its best performances of the season, Kansas State will wrap up a two-game road swing with a primetime matchup at Baylor on Saturday. The nationally-televised contest between the 10-0 Wildcats and the 4-5 Bears is slated for a 7 p.m., kickoff on ESPN with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sidelines) on the call. Wyatt Thompson will call the action for the K-State Sports Network with Stan Weber providing color analysis and Matt Walters on the sidelines.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS
The Wildcats are 10-0 overall and 7-0 in Big 12 play and can clinch a share of the Big 12 Championship and the league’s automatic BCS bowl berth with their next win. K-State checked in at No. 1 in this week’s BCS standings, the highest BCS ranking in school history. The Cats are averaging 214 yards per game on the ground on offense, are seventh nationally in passing efficiency, seventh in scoring offense and currently lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-20. K-State is also holding steady as the nation’s least-penalized unit with 32 this year. Last week at TCU, the Wildcat defense held the Horned Frogs to just 10 points while collecting six sacks and forcing two turnovers. In fact, K-State has scored 114 points off turnovers this year while yielding just seven points to opponents via turnovers. Quarterback Collin Klein continues to lead the team to victory as he is 21-4 in his career as the starting quarterback, including a 15-3 mark in Big 12 play. With his next rushing touchdown, Klein will make history and become the first quarterback from a BCS AQ school to rush for 20 touchdowns and throw for 10 scores in multiple seasons. Helping Klein lead the charge offensively is John Hubert, who has scored 12 touchdowns in 10 games after three as the full-time starter a year ago. Hubert ranks second in the Big 12 at 78.3 yards per game, while Klein is fourth at 74.8 yards per game. The Wildcat defense has been tough all year, giving up just 17 points per game to rank 14th nationally, while K-State’s rush defense is ninth in the NCAA, yielding just 98.9 yards per game. Senior linebacker Arthur Brown continues to put up All-America numbers as he leads the team with 69 tackles and has two interceptions.
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: BAYLOR
K-State will travel to Waco, Texas, Saturday and face yet another dynamic offense as the Bears head into the game ranked second nationally in both passing offense and total offense and seventh in scoring offense. Quarterback Nick Florence leads the Big 12 in passing and total offense while wide receiver Terrance Williams is one of the best wideouts in the country. Florence is averaging 394.8 total yards per game, while Williams has 77 catches for 1,431 yards this season. At running back, as many as three Bears could see time as Jared Salubi, Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk have all provided significant carries this season for head coach Art Briles. On defense, Bryce Hager leads the league in tackles with 89 while Joe Williams’ 11 passes defended rank third in the Big 12.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Following Kansas State’s 23-10 win at TCU, the Wildcats moved to 10-0 on the year and are one win away from clinching the at least a share of the Big 12 title as well as the league’s automatic berth in a BCS bowl. K-State checked in at No. 1 in this week’s BCS rankings for the first time in school history while also grabbing a No. 1 ranking in any poll for the first time since 1998. The 1998 squad went 11-0 before falling to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship game.
The Wildcats are looking to have a November to remember, and under head coach Bill Snyder, the Cats have a track record of successful stretch runs. Since 1991 under Snyder, K-State is 46-16 in the month of November, which includes a stretch of 14 seasons of winning records in the month (1991-2003, 2011) and six seasons with an undefeated final month.
SERIES NOTES, ETC.
Following last week’s win at TCU, K-State has now won nine straight games against teams from the state of Texas, including seven straight against Big 12 teams from the Lone Star State. Against Baylor, K-State is 7-2 all-time in the series while the two teams have split the last four meetings. K-State’s last win in Waco was back in 2002 as the Cats will look to snap a two-game skid in the series on the road.
THE 150 CLUB
Head coach Bill Snyder picked up the 150th victory of his career in last year’s season opener, joining Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Mack Brown (Texas) and Gary Pinkel (Missouri) as active coaches with 150 wins at BCS schools. After guiding K-State from 1989 to 2005, and again over the last three-plus seasons, the 2012 national coach of the year candidate is also one of the longest-tenured active coaches in the FBS, ranking fourth among behind Nevada’s Chris Ault (28th), Beamer (26th) and Troy’s Larry Blakeney (22nd). Even more impressive is that Snyder is the lone BCS coach who has served at the same school for at least 20 years and has never held the same position at another school. Snyder currently ranks fourth among all active FBS coaches with 168 wins since 1990, while he is currently ranked ninth in overall wins.
Kansas State’s defense has done a masterful job of keeping its opponent out of the endzone through the first 10 weeks of the season. The Wildcats had a string of seven straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown until Miami scored late in K-State’s 52-13 win. In fact, Miami’s touchdown came with 3:51 left in the game on a 17-yard drive and was setup by a 77-yard kickoff return. The last time that a Wildcat defense opened a season with at least seven straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown was back in 2002. The 2002 squad opened the year with eight straight quarters of no touchdowns. Also, in its win over Oklahoma, K-State held the Sooners to just 19 points which were the third-fewest points scored by a Stoops-led team, while the defense held TCU to its lowest scoring output at home under Gary Patterson (13 points). So far this season, K-State’s defense has not allowed an offensive score in 21 of 40 quarters, while it has held nine of 10 opponents to 24 points or less. In fact, of this week’s top 15 scoring defenses, only K-State, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame have held each opponent this year to 30 points or less.
K-State has shown the ability to force turnovers at a high clip in 2012, which was evidenced by the five turnovers the Wildcat defense forced in their win against Oklahoma State. In fact, K-State is currently +20 in turnover margin, which leads the nation, with 26 turnovers forced and just six surrendered this year. To take that nugget a step further, the Wildcats have turned those 24 turnovers into 114 points, while K-State’s opponents have scored just seven points following a Wildcat turnover this season -- both figures rank tops in the nation so far this season.
Following a slow start offensively in the season opener against Missouri State, K-State has picked up the pace considerable. Since the fourth quarter of the season opener, K-State has scored 406 points and has outscored its opponents, 406-171, over that period. K-State has reached the 50-point barrier on four occasions, including three times in conference play. The five total 50-points games are the most since 2000, while the Wildcats have not hit the 50-point mark three times in league action since 1998. The Cats have also shown the ability to come out of the locker room on fire as they have outscored their opponents, 239-90, in the second half, including a 115-28 mark in the third quarter. Additionally, K-State has yielded no more than one touchdown in the final 15 minutes of each game this year.
K-State broke open a 16-9 contest with Missouri State by erupting for a school-record 35 fourth-quarter points. While the fourth-quarter point total may have been something new for the Cats, the ability to finish strong is something Bill Snyder teams have done consistently. In K-State’s last 23 games, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 213-144, in the final 15 minutes and also 257-157 closing out the first half of games. In K-State’s last 20 wins, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 199-109, in the final quarter.
PLAYING KEEP AWAY
Kansas State was on the positive side of the ledger in terms of time of possession in 2011, leading the Big 12 and finishing fourth nationally in that department. The Wildcats held the ball for an average of 33:55 per game. K-State is 17-3 dating back to last season when controlling the clock and possessing the ball more than its opponent, including doing so in seven of 10 games so far this season. Ironically, North Texas held the ball for 37:04 in a 35-21 K-State win, marking the first time since 2002 that the Wildcats won a game when their opponent possessed the ball more than 37 minutes. Eastern Illinois had 37:45 of possession back in 2002 in a game that K-State won, 63-13. The Cats got the time of possession back in their favor in the 24-19 win at Oklahoma by controlling the ball for 34:47. At Iowa State, K-State held the ball for 40:54, the most in a game by a Wildcat team since holding the ball for 41:17 in the 1997 Texas A&M game, while it edged Texas Tech in time of possession by holding the ball for 30:34.
RED ZONE ALERT
Not only has Kansas State been able to possess the ball and sustain long drives over the course of the last two seasons, but the offense has managed to make the most of those opportunities once it has reached the red zone. Of K-State’s last 116 trips inside its opponent’s 20-yard line, the Wildcats have scored on 105 of those trips, with 78 of those being touchdowns. Over the course of the last 20 regular season games, the Wildcats are 97-of-105 in the red zone with 72 touchdowns. Additionally, the Cats are 61-for-67 in red zone chances with 45 touchdowns in their last 13 wins dating back to last season with three of those non-scoring trips coming via a kneel down in the final minutes of a game.
K-State opened the season with 324 yards rushing in its 51-9 win over Missouri State which included 152 by junior running back John Hubert. The 324 rushing yards were the most by a Wildcat team since gaining 373 against North Texas in 2010 and marked the third time since Bill Snyder’s return in 2009 that K-State eclipsed 300 yards on the ground in a game. Through 10 games, K-State ranks 20th nationally in rushing, averaging 214 yards per game, while its 35 rushing touchdowns are tied for third nationally. In fact, the Wildcats are out-rushing their opponents by over 1,100 yards and have 29 more rushing scores.
MORE GROUND GAINS
K-State’s biggest improvement on defense over the course of the last two years has come against the run. Dating back to last year, K-State has yielded just 117.2 yards per game on the ground, which includes giving up less than 100 yards to six teams this year - Missouri State (95), Miami (40), Oklahoma (87), West Virginia (88), Oklahoma State (87) and TCU (96). The Cats are currently ranked ninth nationally in rush defense at 98.9 yards per game.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
K-State has made tremendous strides at the line of scrimmage in the last nine games. After not collecting a sack and just two tackles for loss in the 2012 season opener, the Wildcats have turned things around and head into this weekend’s game leading the Big 12 with 27 sacks. Against Miami, K-State had five sacks and 10 tackles for loss and then followed that up with three more sacks and 10 tackles for loss against North Texas. The last time a K-State team had back-to-back games with 10.0 or more tackles for loss was back in 2006 against Illinois State (10.0) and Florida Atlantic (12.0). At Oklahoma, K-State recorded two sacks and five tackles for loss, before adding 10 more tackles for loss in the win over KU. After adding four sacks at West Virginia and six against TCU, the Cats also lead the Big 12 with 19 in league play.
CATS CONTINUE CONSECUTIVE SCORING STREAK
K-State extended one of the nation’s longest scoring streaks against TCU as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 200 consecutive games. The 200-game stretch is the eighth-longest in the nation and the longest in the Big 12. The Wildcats have not been kept off the scoreboard since Colorado shut out K-State, 12-0, on Nov. 16, 1996. The streak includes 131 league games, 73 true road games and 17 neutral-site contests.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
A big part of K-State’s success over the past two seasons has been attributed to the discipline and fundamentals that head coach Bill Snyder and his coaching staff have instilled in the program. During the Cats’ 10-3 season, K-State managed to limit penalties (led the Big 12), possess the ball (ranked fourth nationally), limit turnovers (led the Big 12 in fewest turnovers lost with 15), create turnovers (ranked second in the Big 12 in turnover margin) and make the most of their possessions (30 scoring drives of 60-plus yards and led the nation during the regular season converting touchdowns on first and goal-to-go). In 2012, K-State currently leads the Big 12 and the nation in fewest penalties (32 total), ranks first in the league and in the NCAA in turnover margin (+20) and also ranks highly in time of possession (32:13).
The rise of K-State football over the last two decades has much to do with the emphasis on special teams. Since 1990, Kansas State is 49-15 when scoring on special teams and 18-1 when scoring on special teams and on defense, including a 16-0 mark under Bill Snyder. And, in non-offensive touchdowns, the Cats have ranked among the nation’s best over the past 14 seasons. Since 1999, the Wildcats lead the nation in non-offensive touchdowns at 87 and have six already in 2012. In the 2012 season opener, Tramaine Thompson returned a punt 89 yards before Tyler Lockett’s 96-yard kickoff return against North Texas. Against OU, Jarell Childs scooped up a fumble in the endzone for the Wildcats’ first defensive score this season, while Arthur Brown took a tipped ball to the house for a 37-yard pick-six against Texas Tech. Lockett then took another kickoff 100 yards for a score against Oklahoma State and Allen Chapman recorded his second career pick-six last week.
SELLOUT x 6
Along with capacity crowds for the home opener against Missouri State and games against North Texas, KU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, K-State has announced a sellout for the December 1 regular season finale with Texas. The six sellouts announced tie the 1999 season for the most in school history, while K-State will have 14 sellouts since the beginning of Bill Snyder’s second tenure in 2009. K-State had a season-high crowd of 50,766 for the game against the Red Raiders.
Kansas State has been the Big 12 leader in all-sports graduation rate in four of the past five years, and the same holds true specifically for football as the program has also led the conference in graduation rate over the same time frame. Individually, a total of 10 Wildcat players on the 2012 roster have already earned their degrees from K-State. Those 10 players include four community-college transfers and two four-year transfers, while nine the 10 have earned starting roles this season for the Cats. The 10 graduates are Javonta Boyd, Anthony Cantele, Ryan Doerr, Roman Fields, Chris Harper, Collin Klein, Zach McFall, Jarard Milo, Justin Tuggle and Braden Wilson.
OPTIMUS KLEIN LEADS K-STATE TO WINS
Although football is the ultimate team sport, there is a lot to be said about the leadership of a starting quarterback coinciding with team victories. Some of the great K-State teams of the past have had great leadership at signal caller, and this year’s squad is no different. Collin Klein is tied for the third-most wins as a starting quarterback under head coach Bill Snyder despite just 25 starts under center, while he is tied for second in winning percentage among the top five wins leaders. Even more impressive is the list of quarterbacks he joins in 1998 Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Bishop and multi- all-conference honorees Ell Roberson, Jonathan Beasley and Chad May.
Collin Klein, the FBS quarterback record holder for rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons, has accounted for 21 touchdowns over the last six games, including at least two rushing scores in five of those contests. Included in that stretch was at No. 13 West Virginia when he accounted for seven touchdowns (four rushes) to break the school record for single-game touchdown responsibility. In the process, Klein also broke the school record for career rushing touchdowns, which now stands at 52, while he broke the school record for touchdown responsibility last week, a mark that now stands at 77. Klein, who is tops among quarterbacks and second nationally among all active players in rushing touchdowns, ranks fourth in Big 12 history and is second among quarterbacks in career rushing scores.
IN GOOD COMPANY
Collin Klein is on the brink of laying claim to a record that no other quarterback from a BCS AQ school in the BCS era has achieved. With one more rushing touchdown, Klein will become the first player with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 10 passing touchdowns in two seasons. The Wildcat signal caller is one of just four players to accomplish the feat once, joining former Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 2000). In addition, Klein became the sixth quarterback in Big 12 history to register 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in a career last week at TCU. Klein joined Crouch, Ell Roberson (K-State), Vince Young (Texas), Brad Smith (Missouri) and Robert Griffin III (Baylor) and 4,000/2,000 quarterbacks.
BIG PLAYS VIA THE PASS
Kansas State has shown a penchant for opening up the passing game more in 2012 compared to last year and that has resulted in more big plays for the Wildcats. Klein has already tossed 36 passes for 20 or more yards in 10 games (3.6 per game) after just 26 over the 13-game slate last season (2.0 per game). In addition, the Wildcats did not complete a pass play for 35 yards or greater until week six last year, while they already have 13 this year, including a season-long 62-yarder from Collin Klein to Chris Harper last week at TCU.
KLEIN EFFICIENT IN PASSING GAME
Thanks to a 69.7-percent completion percentage and 167.44 passing efficiency this season, teams must be on the lookout for Collin Klein’s arm. His pass efficiency rating this season leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally, while it is better than the K-State record of 159.95 (Michael Bishop, 1998). Also, Klein’s career total of 143.79 is third in school history. Completions have been a big part of his high rating as he ranks sixth in school history, but Wildcat signal caller is tops among the group in completion percentage.
HUBERT CLOSING IN ON 1,000
After missing out on a 1,000-yard season by 30 yards last season, John Hubert has taken it upon himself to make sure he doesn’t miss out in 2012. The junior has 783 yards in 10 games to rank second in the Big 12. His top rushing game this season was 152 yards in the season opener against Missouri State. That contest featured a 95-yard scamper, which was the second-longest in school history, the longest in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history and the longest in the Big 12 this season. In addition to his yards, Hubert has 12 rushing touchdowns this season to rank third in the Big 12 after three in 13 games as a starter last season.
GOING, GOING, GONE
Tyler Lockett may have taken teams by surprise last season with his kickoff-return abilities, but the speedy sophomore continues to excel as he ranks fourth nationally with a 34.5-yard average this year. Even more impressive is that he currently holds the Big 12 career average return record at 34.9 yards, a mark that is top nationally among active players. If he keeps on his current pace, he will end the season holding the Big 12 record, a mark currently held by former Wildcat Brandon Banks (28.5 yards). Lockett notched his fourth career kickoff-return score against Oklahoma State, the second of 100 yards in his career. The Tulsa, Okla., product is now tied for third nationally among active players and in Big 12 history with his four touchdowns, while he is one away from the school and Big 12 mark held by Banks.
CHAPMAN’S CAREER DAY
Senior defensive back Allen Chapman turned in the best game of his career against Oklahoma State as he came away with three interceptions. He became the sixth player in school history with at least three picks in a game, while he was the first since Chris Canty against Akron in 1995. Additionally, he is one of just seven players nationally, and the only one from the Big 12, with three interceptions in a single game. His first interception was returned 29 yards for a touchdown, which was the second pick-six of his career - both coming against the Cowboys. Chapman, who also made five tackles and batted away two passes, earned a pair of national defensive player of the week honors and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
“THE JUDGE” BECOMES “THE STREAK BREAKER”
Arthur Brown led the Wildcats in tackles last season with 101 and is tops again this year with 69, but the Wichita, Kan., product might have more significance in his interceptions despite the fact that his career total equals three. Last year, Brown became the first player to intercept eventual Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, breaking a streak of 110 attempts without a pick and setting up the game-winning field goal. Ironically, Brown, who is nicknamed “The Judge” by his teammates, became the first player to pick off West Virginia’s Geno Smith after a NCAA record of 273 attempts without an interception this year. He put his interception streak at two games by taking a tipped pass 37 yards for a touchdown vs. Texas Tech.
One of the main reasons K-State leads the Big 12 in sacks has to do with the continued improvement of Meshak Williams and Adam Davis as the duo ranks first (8.5) and fourth (6.5) in the conference, respectively. Williams has 15.5 in his career to tie him for ninth in school history, while his season total is 10th. He totaled 2.5 sacks at No. 13 West Virginia, the top mark in the Big 12 this year, and added two more at TCU. Davis and Williams also rank highly in the league in TFLs as they are fifth and sixth, respectively.
ZIMMERMAN PLAYING CENTERFIELD
When the K-State defensive line is able to apply pressure, defensive back Ty Zimmerman has usually been the benefactor as he had four interceptions in a four-game stretch. Zimmerman, who leads the Big 12 and is tied for sixth nationally in picks with five, became the first Wildcat since at least 1989 to record interceptions in four-straight games (OU, KU, ISU, WVU). Zimmerman’s career total of 10 is tied for sixth in school history and tied for 12th nationally among active players.
Senior placekicker Anthony Cantele is having the best season of his career to wrap up one of the better kicking careers in K-State history. The Lou Groza Award semifinalist has connected on 17-of-20 field goals and has been true on 53 extra-point attempts. Cantele ranks second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage at 85.0 percent and third nationally among players with 17 or more attempts. The Wichita, Kan., product holds a career percentage of 77.8, which is second in school history, while he is sixth with 35 career field goals and fourth with 107 career extra points. Cantele has made three field goal each of the last two weeks to tie his career best. Last week at TCU, the senior was 3-of-4 with a long of 41 yards en route to Lou Groza Award Star of the Week honors.