Cats, Horns Try to Get Well

Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2, the 5-3 Wildcats will host the 4-4 Longhorns. By Big 12 standards, that's fourth-place K-State (2-3) in the North, and fifth-place Texas (2-3) in the South. "You see they have four losses and they might not seem as good on paper as they have been, but just watching them on film, I think they have one of the best defenses in the nation. They're better than Nebraska," said quarterback Carson Coffman. "It's going to be a challenge." The Wildcats also have the understanding that Texas is still Texas. That's a Texas program that has won at least 10 games in each of the last nine seasons, and one that has recorded 132 wins since 1998, which is second only to Boise State's 135 victories in the same time period. "I don't think that mystique ever fades. Texas has been good for a long time, and they're good today," said linebacker Blake Slaughter. "Bad things can happen to good teams, but I promise you, this is the best 4-4 team in the nation." Senior offensive guard Zach Kendall agreed: "They're better than 4-4. They have a great coach, great players, but like us, they're not playing to their capabilities." SERIES NOTES: KSU 5, UT 5 ... The Wildcats own a 4-2 advantage since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, which includes winning the last two meetings ... Bill Snyder is 2-2 against the Longhorns ... in Colt McCoy's storied UT career, K-State is the only Big 12 team that he did not defeat. THAT FIRST GAME: Prior to the forming of the Big 12, the most recent game between KSU and UT was in 1942 when Texas volunteered to bench their freshmen - Gus "Pig" Dittman and Alva "Fats" Carlton - because Missouri Valley Conference (KSU's conference) rules prevented freshmen from playing. Texas won the game, 64-0. HOW ABOUT THIS: In K-State's last four wins over UT, they have been by a margin of 20.5 points. The two losses to the 'Horns since 1996 have come by a total of seven points - 24-20 in 2003; 17-14 in 2002. SALUTE TO THE SENIORS: Saturday's game will mark the final home appearance for 22 seniors at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Offense - Carson Coffman, Gabe Gantz, Lucas Hamm, Adrian Hilburn, Zach Kendall, Kenneth Mayfield, William Powell, Aubrey Quarles, Daniel Thomas, Trevor Viers and Wade Weibert.Defense - Josh Berard, Prizell Brown, Troy Butler, Antonio Felder, Stephen Harrison, Kevin Rohleder, Terrance Sweeney and Jarett Wright.Special Teams - Corey Adams, Josh Cherry and George Pierson. SLOW STARTERS: The team that gets off to the best start may be the winner, and neither side has been real productive in the first quarter. K-State, in fact, has lost its eight collective first periods, 28-27. Texas holds the slimmest of advantage at 40-34 at the end of the first quarter, and only 100-92 in the first half. For the record, since 1990, K-State is 127-24 when scoring the first points in a game. DID YOU KNOW:  Today's coaches are legends in the game. Since 1990, no college coach has won more games than Texas' Mack Brown (199-56-1). K-State's Bill Snyder ranks sixth on the list (146-66-1). In between the two coaches are Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech, Joe Paterno of Penn State, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Gary Pinkel of Missouri. On Brown, Snyder said, "He is a good family person and cares about young people. He does what he does the right way. The success is hard to argue with." STRICTLY TRIVIA? This is the earliest K-State has ended its home season since 1990 when K-State entertained Iowa State on Nov. 3, before ending its season at Oklahoma and Colorado on the next two Saturdays. UPDATING MR. THOMAS: In the ninth game of the season, senior Daniel Thomas can tie the school record for fastest rusher to 1,000 yards in a season in terms of games played. Thomas has 996 yards, which makes for a per-game average of 124.5 yards. That puts him on pace to rush for 1,494 yards, which would rank as the second greatest rushing season in KSU history. That record belongs to Darren Sproles with 1,986 yards in 2003. Thomas has 21 career TDs to rank ninth in KSU history, and his 10 games of at least 100 yards for a career ranks tied for second and only trails Sproles with 24. K-State's All-Time Rushing Chart: 1. Darren Sproles, 4,979; 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; 4. Mike Lawrence, 2,265; 5. Daniel Thomas, 2,261. QUOTEABLE QUOTE:  On long-snapper Corey Adams' run of 435 straight on-target snaps on punts and field goals in his 44-game career, Snyder said, "I hate to say it, but I will say it because I love him to death. Since I have known him, he has not made a mistake. I do not know anybody that has not made any mistakes, but he has not. He is a great player doing what he does." Adams did get flagged for a false start last week against O-State. While Snyder questioned the call, Adams admitted, "I twitched. It was a good call." IN THE NUMBERS: 0 - No Texas running back has rushed for 100 yards in a game this year. In fact, UT's single-game high has been 73 yards by Cody Johnson against Nebraska. Johnson, a 250-pounder, leads the Longhorns in rushing with a modest average of 40 yards per game.2 - Texas has not scored more than two touchdowns in any of its last five games. In four Big 12 games, UT has scored seven TDs.6-14 - In Big 12 games only, KSU has rushed for 14 scores, while Texas has allowed only six. The 'Cats rush for 190 yards per game; the Longhorns allow just 108.18-10 - Again, in league only, K-State has scored 18 touchdowns (five games) to just 10 for Texas (four games).28.0 - K-State leads the nation as a team in kickoff returns with a 28-yard average.33.2 - KSU's William Powell leads the nation in KOR with a 33.2-yard average. NEXT WEEK:  Kansas State begins a three-game road swing that will conclude regular-season play. The 'Cats play at Missouri next Saturday with an 11:30 a.m. kickoff on Fox Sports Net. The final two games will be on Nov. 20 at Colorado, and Nov. 27 at North Texas.