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'Cats Perfect in August Openers

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August 29, 2013
By Mark Janssen

It was on one of those sticky humid days this summer that I started fiddling with a K-State media guide ... honestly, for no apparent reason.

Breaking the boredom of this particular afternoon was coming up with an unscientific study on football scheduling, and how it's changed since ... well ... from way, way back when.

When Friday rolls around, this will mark the seventh time that K-State has started a season in the month of August.

The first was on August 30, 1986, when Stan Parrish's Wildcats opened with a 35-7 win over Western Illinois.

The earliest ever start date was August 23, 2003, with the BCA Classic in Kansas City when the 'Cats out-scored California, 42-28. That broke the start-day mark of 2000 when K-State thrashed Iowa, 27-7, on Aug. 26, at Arrowhead Stadium.

But the most memorable August-played game was on Aug. 31, 1996, when the Wildcats and Texas Tech played in the first-ever Big 12 Conference game played at KSU Stadium.

Snyder certainly wasn't a fan of such an early start to a conference season, but the quotable Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes said of the timing of playing a Wildcat team that had a 28-7-1 record over the three previous years, "I looked at it like going to the dentist. You have to do it, so you might as well go get that tooth pulled and get it over with."

If one wants to point to the ugliest Snyder-coached win ever, it just might be this 21-14 victory over the Red Raiders.

The 'Cats had minus-12 rushing yards and netted just 160 total yards. That compared to the Red Raiders running an astonishing 119 plays and gaining 392 yards, or 232 more than K-State. Still , K-State found a way to win.

Afterward, Dykes said, "The only way to beat one of Bill's teams is to have better players because you're not going to be more fundamentally sound and you're not going to out-coach him."

Dykes later said of Snyder, "He didn't major in being 'flamboyant' and humor's not an adjective you use when talking about Bill, but he is fundamentally sound. All those hours people talk about him putting in ... well, you can see the value of those hours spent on Saturdays."

OTHER 'DID YOU KNOW' SCHEDULING NOTES

-    Bill Snyder is 20-1 in all-time openers with the lone loss coming in his first game as Wildcat coach. The 'Cats lost at Arizona State, 31-0. Known for showing little in terms of offense-defense in the first weeks of the season, six of those openers were decided by less than 10 points.

-   In K-State's first season of football, the first game was a 14-0 loss to a group of soldiers from Fort Riley on Nov. 28, 1896. The the second, and last game was a 6-6 tie on Dec. 5.

-   The next year the "Aggies" played their entire season in November going 1-2-1 with two games against Chapman High School, and two against Washburn in games played between Nov. 1 and Nov. 20.

-   After losing its first four all-time games to Kansas, Mike Ahearn's team won in 1906, by the unique count of 6-4. In the school newspaper, it read, "The streets were thronged with shouting students, a bonfire was lighted, the college bell rang and speeches were made for the famous victory." The announced attendance for the game was 1,500.

-   K-State's first game outside the state boundaries was at Creighton in Omaha, Neb., on Nov. 7, 1908.

-   In 1918, the school took a month-long break in the middle of the season due to a "Spanish Flu" epidemic.

-   The first night game played by the Wildcats was on Oct. 8, 1932 in Salina against Kansas Wesleyan.

ALL-TIME GAMES IN AUGUST

August 30, 1986 KSU 35, Western Illinois 7

August 31, 1996 KSU 21, Texas Tech 14

August 26, 2000 KSU 27, Iowa 7

August 31, 2002 KSU 48, Western Kentucky 3

August 23, 2003 KSU 42, California 28

August 30, 2008 KSU 45, North Texas 6