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Comparing 2010 to 2009

By Mark Janssen
OK, let's let the numbers do the talking four games into this 2010 football year.
Question: At this point in the season, is this 2010 Kansas State football team better than the one of 2009?
The 4-0 record compared to last year's 2-2 mark indicates yes. And, the collection of opponents this year - UCLA, Missouri State, Iowa State and Central Florida - would be considered by most as a tougher slate than last year - UMass, Louisiana, UCLA and Tennessee Tech. So, right off the bat, this 2010 team seems to be the better of the two. Advantage: 2010
Let's continue.
OFFENSE: The 2010 offense is averaging 30.8 points with its 378 yards per game. The 2009 offense averaged 23.5 points and 375 yards. Advantage: 2010
QUARTERBACK: Through four 2009 starts, Carson Coffman had completed 58-percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions. In 2010, Coffman has been true on 61-percent of his passes with five scores and two interceptions. Coffman held a quarterback rating of 116.9 through four games in 2009, while his quarterback rating of 159.8 so far this season ranks second in the Big 12. Advantage: 2010
DEFENSE: The 2010 defense has allowed 19.8 points on 349 yards per game. In 2009, K-State allowed just 16.0 points on 241 yards per game. Advantage: 2009
TURNOVERS: In 2010, K-State has forced seven turnovers - four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Last year, the Cats forced nine takeaways - four picks and five recoveries. Advantage: 2009
THOMAS FACTOR: In 2009, Daniel Thomas was averaging 108 yards per game with four touchdowns. In 2010, his numbers are 157 yards (fourth in the nation) with six scores. Last year, Thomas was averaging 4.8 yards per carry, compared to this year's 6.0. Advantage: 2010
BACKUP DASHER: Keithen Valentine averaged 7.7 yards per carry for 42 yards per game as Thomas' backup in 2009. This year, William Powell is only averaging 33 yards per game but 11.2 yards per carry. Advantage: Tossup
PASSING PRODUCTION: In 2010, K-State has averaged 13.5 yards per reception with five scores. Last year it was 12.1 yards per catch with three six-pointers. Advantage: 2010
PUNTING: Ryan Doerr is averaging 42.5 yards this year to last year's average of 40.1 yards. Advantage: 2010
FIELD GOALS: Josh Cherry was 1-of-6 at this stage in 2009 compared to 3-of-3 in 2010. Advantage: 2010
PENALTIES: K-State has been flagged 19 times for 167 yards this year to last year's 30 for 281 yards. Advantage: 2010
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: This year it's 42-percent. Last year it was 33-percent. Defensively, K-State is allowing conversions 38-percent of the time compared to last year's 32-percent. Advantage: Tossup
PUNT RETURNS: Tysyn Hartman averaged 13.1 yards last year. Tramaine Thompson is averaging 6.1 this year. Advantage: 2009
KICKOFF RETURNS: Brandon Banks averaged 39.4 yards last year with two scores. William Powell's average this season is 31.9 yards. Advantage: 2009
Plus, there is this factor over last year.
In 2010, Daniel Thomas has played himself into first-round NFL Draft status and conversation for multiple postseason awards; Brandon Harold has played himself into a conversation of "best defensive ends" in the Big 12; and Josh Cherry, including the closing month of last year, has established himself as one of the league's premier kickers.
Oh, and then there's the Bill Snyder factor. From year-one to year-two in 1989 and 1990, K-State went from one victory to five wins.
Upon his return to the Wildcat sideline last year, Snyder coached K-State to six wins and now is seemingly on track for a significant improvement in 2010. At least that's what the numbers are telling us four games into the season.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com.