Cats Host No. 2 Horned Frogs in FOX Primetime Game
Cats Host No. 2 Horned Frogs in FOX Primetime Game
OCT 10, 6:30 PM
Bill Snyder Family Stadium
5-0 (2-0 Big 12)
3-1 (0-1 Big 12)
Sirius 108, XM 199
Following a heartbreaking 36-34 loss at No. 19 Oklahoma State last week, K-State returns home to face one of the top teams in the country as No. 2 TCU visits sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium Saturday in a primetime nationally-televised game on FOX. The game, which will be the 23rd consecutive sellout in Manhattan, will kick off at 6:30 p.m., with Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (analyst) and Molly McGrath (sideline) on the call. The contest can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sideline) calling the action.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
• Guided by 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Snyder, K-State is 3-1 following last week’s nailbiter.
• K-State shut out South Dakota in the season opener before surrendering only a field goal – a 51-yarder – to UTSA.
• The Wildcats did not allow a TD until the second quarter vs. LA Tech, marking the longest stretch to start a season without allowing a TD in the post-World War II era (1945).
• Against OSU, wide receiver Kody Cook took over quarterback duties following an injury to starter Joe Hubener. The Wildcats have played four quarterbacks this season because of various injuries, and Cook would be considered the fifth based on the depth chart heading into week one.
• After throwing for two scores and running for another against the Cowboys, Cook became the first Wildcat since 2007 to run for a score, throw for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass in the same season.
• K-State ranks highly in the nation in rushing defense (3rd), scoring defense (25th), yards per completion (6th) and sacks (10th).
• Hubener set a career high with three touchdown passes vs. LA Tech, including overtime strikes to Dominique Heath and the eventual game-winner to Cook.
• Hubener ranks second nationally in passing yards per completion (17.18), while he is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 113 yards.
• Justin Silmon has taken over the running back role as the redshirt freshman walk-on has totaled 260 yards on 51 carries this season (5.1 yards/carry).
A LOOK AT TCU
• Second-ranked TCU enters the game at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Big 12 Conference play.
• TCU ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring offense, passing offense, total offense and passing efficiency.
• The TCU offense is loaded with weapons at QB (Trevone Boykin - 1,802 yards and 19 TDs passing), RB (Aaron Green - 504 yards rushing and six TDs) and WR Josh Doctson (42 catches for 722 yards and eight TDs).
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• The series between K-State and TCU is tied, 4-4, as the Cats are 3-1 against TCU in Manhattan and 2-1 since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.
• K-State won the last meeting in Manhattan, 33-31, in 2013 on a last-minute field goal, a win that made the Wildcats bowl eligible despite a 2-4 start.
• TCU won a year ago in Fort Worth in a battle of two top-10 teams.
• This weekend’s matchup with second-ranked TCU will be the highest-ranked opponent the Cats have faced at home since No. 2 Oklahoma back in 2004.
• It will mark just the fourth top-two opponent for K-State in a home game under Bill Snyder and the Cats are 0-3 in those games.
• All three of those opponents were ranked No. 2 as the Cats fell 31-21 to Oklahoma in 2004, 17-6 to Nebraska in 1994 and 59-11 to Colorado in 1989.
• K-State has defeated two top-five opponents at home since 1989 and are 2-5 in those games. The wins were against No. 4 Texas (2006) and No. 4 Nebraska (2000).
HOME SWEET HOME
• Since 1990, K-State holds a 137-31-1 (.813) record when playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, a mark that includes a 69-26-1 (.724) record in league games.
• K-State is 15-8 under Bill Snyder in conference home openers, including a 4-2 mark since his return in 2009.
SNYDER AMONG BEST EVER
• Head coach Bill Snyder currently has 190 career victories, which are 151 more than any other coach in program history.
• Snyder ranks second in the FBS in wins among active coaches at their current schools, fifth in total victories among active coaches and 30th in all-time wins.
• He is 10 wins away from becoming the 25th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins.
• Snyder, who has 109 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories, joining Nebraska’s Tom Osborne (153) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (104) and Barry Switzer (100).
• K-State has had eight players make their first-career starts in 2015, including a combined six freshmen or sophomores.
• Additionally, a total of 24 freshmen or sophomores have seen playing time in the first four weeks.
• Three of the highlights have been redshirt freshman fullback Winston Dimel, who has scored three touchdowns, redshirt freshmen Dominique Heath at wide receiver and punt returns, Dalton Risner at center and Justin Silmon at running back.
CATS CONTINUE CONSECUTIVE SCORING STREAK
• K-State has tallied points in 233 consecutive games dating back to the 1996 season.
• The streak is the second longest in the Big 12, the ninth longest active streak and the 20th longest all-time.
• The scoring streak has endured 152 conference games, 85 true road games and 20 neutral-site contests.
• In addition, K-State has not been held scoreless in 156 consecutive home games dating back to 1991.
• Attendance at K-State games have been at an all-time high over the last three years as K-State has recorded 22 consecutive sellouts, a number that is expected to reach 27 after the 2015 season.
• For a second-straight year, K-State finished second nationally by filling up its stadium at a 106.16-percent clip, a number that was just 0.18-percent behind Oregon (106.34).
• K-State averaged 53,081 fans in 2014, a number that increased from the 2013 season (52,887).
• Each of the last seven home openers since Bill Snyder’s return – dubbed the “K-State Family Reunion” – have been sellouts with an average of 51,655 fans in attendance.
• Seventeen of the largest 22 crowds in stadium history have come in the last two-plus years.
• The Louisiana Tech game two weeks ago was the third-largest crowd in school history (53,540), while K-State currently ranks second nationally in percent capacity at 106.84 percent through five weeks.
DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
• Since 1990, K-State is 155-28 (.847) when scoring first.
• Last season, the Cats held a perfect 7-0 record when scoring the game’s first points, while K-State had won 14-straight games when scoring first until last week’s game at Oklahoma State.
• Dating back to the beginning of 2011, the Wildcats have gone 27-2 when scoring first with their lone blemishes being losses at Oklahoma State in 2013 and 2015.
• Since 1990, the Cats have protected a halftime lead in 175 of its 181 (.967) games when leading at the half.
• K-State had won 49-straight games when leading at the half, which was the longest active streak in the country, until last week’s loss at Oklahoma State.
• Ironically, K-State’s last loss when leading at half was also at Oklahoma State back in 2007 when it lost 41-39 after also scoring a late touchdown before surrendering a last-second field goal.
CLEAN IT UP
• K-State led the Big 12 and ranked 16th nationally last year with only 39.3 penalty yards per game, while the Cats were second in the league with 4.38 penalties per game.
• The Cats committed three or fewer penalties six times last season, including zero against No. 5 Auburn.
• K-State has ranked first or second in the conference in fewest penalty yards per game each of the last five years. In addition to last season, the Wildcats led the league in 2013 (45.0) and 2011 (35.8), while they ranked second in 2012 (31.0) and 2010 (43.7).
• With a young team in 2015, penalties have been a little more frequent as the Cats have committed 30 through the first four games.
RED ZONE ALERT
• Kansas State has been one of the best red zone teams over the past few years.
• K-State was successful on 56-of-62 red zone chances in 2014, including a streak of 12 straight to open the year.
• So far this season the Cats are 21-of-23 in red zone scores with 13 TDs, including a perfect 5-for-5 mark on touchdowns last week at Oklahoma State. Prior to the OSU game, the Cats only scored six touchdowns in 18 red zone chances.
• Since the 2011 season, the Wildcats have scored 234 times in 265 trips (.884) to the red zone. Of those 234 scores, 171 have been touchdowns.
• In their 41 wins over the last four-plus seasons, the Cats are 189-for-208 (.909) in red zone chances with 134 touchdowns, while four of their non-scoring trips have come via kneel downs to close out victories.
• K-State was a perfect 37-for-37 on scoring in the red zone in their first seven wins of 2014.
HUBENER TAKES REINS
• Junior Joe Hubener has played a majority of the season at quarterback, including his first three career starts, leading K-State to a 3-1 record thanks to his deep-ball passing.
• Hubener ranks second nationally with 17.18 yards per completion, which was buoyed by a 20.25 mark at UTSA, the highest average by a K-State QB with less than 14 completions since Jonathan Beasley in 1999 (23.92 vs. CU).
• Completing deep passes is nothing new to Hubener as 17 of his 48 career completions (35.4 percent) have gone for 20 or more yards, including 13 of 39 completions (33.3 percent) this season.
• Hubener’s long pass last week, a 72-yarder to Charles Jones, was the longest pass play to a running back since Chris Claybon had a 74-yard catch at Colorado in 2000.
SILMON STARTS OFF STRONG
• Redshirt freshman running back Justin Silmon has started his career on a high note as he leads the team with 260 rushing yards, including a 119-yard effort against Louisiana Tech.
• The former walk-on from Tulsa, Oklahoma, ranks fourth in school history in rushing yards by a freshman, already passing the marks of Darren Sproles (210 in 2001) and Daniel Sams (235 in 2012) in just four games.
• At his current pace, Silmon will end the regular season with 780 rushing yards, which would break the school’s freshman record.
• Silmon’s 119 yards against Louisiana Tech were the fourth-most by freshman in school history, while it marked the first 100-yard game by a K-State running back since John Hubert ran for 220 yards at Kansas in the 2013 regular-season finale.
• Additionally, his 24 carries against the Bulldogs were the most by a Wildcat freshman since quarterback Allen Evridge had 30 carries against Nebraska in 2005 and the most by a freshman running back since at least 1987.
COOK CAN DO IT ALL
• When senior wide receiver Kody Cook made his 15th career start at Oklahoma State last Saturday, no one knew he would make a big impact at quarterback. He took over on the seventh play of the game and went on to complete 10-of-16 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 21 rushes for 87 yards and one touchdown.
• Cook had eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns entering the game – including the eventual game-winner in the third overtime against Louisiana Tech.
• He became just the second in school history to throw multiple touchdown passes as well score a touchdown via a rush and a catch in the same season. Steve Grogan threw for six touchdowns, while also rushing for one and catching one in 1974.
HEATH PRODUCING EARLY
• Just like Justin Silmon at running back, wide receiver Dominique Heath is gaining on some of the best freshmen in school history after just three games.
• Heath has a team-leading 11 catches for 170 yards this year, just eight catches and 88 yards away from entering the top five in school history in each category.
• By comparison, all-time leading receiver Tyler Lockett had totals of 18 receptions, 246 yards and three touchdowns during his freshman season of 2011. He did not crack the school’s top five among freshmen in either catches of receiving yards.
HIGH PERCENTAGE FOR GRONK
• When junior fullback Glenn Gronkowski catches a pass, chances are it goes for a touchdown as he has scored five career touchdowns on just 12 receptions, good for a 41.7-percent touchdown rate.
• Gronkowski’s touchdown percentage is the highest in school history among players with five or more touchdowns, over 10 percent better than the player in second place, Gene Keady, who scored five touchdowns on 16 career catches (31.3 percent).
• The 2014 First Team All-Big 12 performer has 306 yards on only 12 career catches, good for a 25.5-yard average.
• Among all players in school history with at least 12 receptions, Gronkowski holds the top average.
OFF THE BOARD
• K-State held its first two opponents to just three total points. The last time that occurred was back in 2002 following a 48-3 win over Western Kentucky to open the season and a 64-0 blanking of ULM the next week.
• The last time a Wildcat team held two straight opponents to less than three points was back in 1995 when the Cats recorded three straight shutouts, while the last time it happened in the first two games of a season was back in 1936.
• K-State’s shutout win over South Dakota in the season opener was the third for the Wildcats since Bill Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009 and also was the first shutout in a season opener since 1999.
• It also marked the 22nd blanking of an opponent for a Snyder-coached team during his tenure, which includes three-straight shutouts in 1995.
TOUGH AGAINST THE RUN
• Dating back to 2011, K-State has yielded 128 rushing yards per game (over 56 games), which includes an average of 140.3 yards in 2014 and just 71.0 so far in 2015.
• The Wildcats ranked 33rd nationally in rushing defense in 2014, while they are third so far this year.
• Since 2011, K-State has held 23 of its 56 opponents to under 100 yards, including four foes in 2014 and three opponents – South Dakota (61), UTSA (37) and Oklahoma State (49) – so far in 2015.
• Through four games, the Cats have given up only 284 total yards on the ground, which is the fewest amount given up over the first four games of a season since 2003 when the Cats yielded 250 over that same stretch.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
• K-State has recorded three-straight seasons with 70-plus tackles for loss, recording 75 in 2012, 71 in 2013 and 73 in 2014.
• It is the first time since 2005-07 that the Wildcats’ have had three-straight seasons with 70 or more TFLs.
• The leading returners in that department are defensive end Jordan Willis with 7.5 and defensive back Danzel McDaniel with 5.0.
• K-State recorded four games with seven or more stops behind the line in 2014 with 10 against OSU, nine vs. SFA, eight at WVU and seven at TCU.
• Jordan Willis has 6.5 TFLs, including 3.5 in the win over LA Tech to rank second in the Big 12, while Travis Britz has 4.0 and Elijah Lee and Marquel Bryant have 3.0.
DAVIS HOLDS DOWN THE MIDDLE
• Perhaps one of the most underrated defenders on the team, Will Davis has 21 tackles this season – including a career-high nine at UTSA – but his pass coverage skills might be overlooked.
• Davis made timely pass breakups at UTSA when he batted down a 4th-and-Goal pass and against Louisiana Tech at the goal line on third down. He then recorded his first-career interception last week at Oklahoma State in the fourth quarter to halt a potential Cowboy scoring drive at the K-State 11-yard line.
D-TACKLES MAKING TACKLES
• Defensive tackle is a position most believe takes up blockers to let the linebackers make tackles, but K-State’s duo of Will Geary and Travis Britz are doing both as they have combined to average 7.5 tackles per game.
• That average ranks as the second-best among Big 12 starting tackles in 4-3 defenses. Chris Bradley and Aaron Curry of TCU rank first with a 7.8-tackle average.
• Britz, a 2014 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 pick, is a career 26-game starter who was on pace to set career highs in tackles for loss and sacks last season before missing the final three games.
• Geary is a former walk-on who started five games as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and the first four games this year. He led all K-State defensive tackles last year with 30 stops, while he is on pace for 51 this year, which would be the most by a Wildcat defensive tackle since Jermaine Berry in 2004 (55).
JACKSON: UTILITY MAN
• Not to be forced into a specific spot in the defensive backfield, Nate Jackson has been able to help the secondary with his versatility as he has started each of the last five games at three different positions.
• Jackson started the 2015 Alamo Bowl against UCLA at free safety, the 2015 season opener against South Dakota at cornerback and the last three games at strong safety.
• Over those five games, Jackson has totaled 23 tackles (4.6 per game) and three pass breakups.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
• The Wildcats are the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 15-plus seasons as they have 97 since 1999.
• Since 1990, K-State is 53-16 when scoring on special teams and 19-1 when scoring on special teams and defense, including a 17-0 mark under Bill Snyder.
• Tyler Lockett had a 58-yard punt return for a score against UTEP last season, which was the first non-offensive score for the Cats in 2014 and also Lockett’s first career punt return score.
• Danzel McDaniel added a pick-six at Oklahoma for the Cats’ second non-offensive score of the year, while Morgan Burns returned a kickoff 86 yards vs. Oklahoma State and opened the 2015 season with a 100-yard kick return.
KICK RETURN STREAK
• Kansas State has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in each of the last 11 seasons, which is the longest streak in the nation, following Morgan Burns’ 100-yard return in the season opener.
• Auburn is second on the list by doing so six-straight seasons, while Northern Illinois and Florida are tied for third with five apiece.
• Burns kept the streak alive last year with an 86-yard return score against Oklahoma State.
• Since head coach Bill Snyder’s return in 2009, K-State has returned 13 kickoffs for touchdowns as opposed to only four in his first tenure, which lasted 17 years.
BIG SHOES TO FILL
• Senior Morgan Burns had to replace a consensus All-American in Tyler Lockett, but he made quick work by returning the season-opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
• It was believed to be the first time K-State returned the first kickoff of the season for a touchdown and the first to start any game since Justin McKinney went 88 yards against Florida Atlantic in 2006.
• Burns, who returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown last year against Oklahoma State, is now tied for third in school history in kickoff-return touchdowns with two, while it was the fifth 100-yard return in school history.
• With a 28.3-yard average over 26 career returns, Burns ranks fourth in school history in kickoff-return average.
HANDING OFF THE BATON
• K-State not only lost the services of one of the best receivers and kickoff returners in the country in Tyler Lockett, but the Wildcats also lost the nation’s leading punt-return man with a 19.1-yard average and a pair of touchdowns.
• First in line to try to replicate Lockett’s 2014 season is redshirt freshman Dominique Heath, who dazzled in the 2015 spring game to the tune of 350 total return yards.
• His work in the spring game brought him national attention as he was named a Preseason All-Big 12 returner by Phil Steele.
• K-State has ranked in the top 20 nationally in blocked kicks three of the last four seasons, including the 2013 campaign when the Wildcats led the nation with five.
• Since head coach Bill Snyder’s return in 2009, the Wildcats have averaged 3.3 blocked kicks per year (not counting 2015), recording at least three blocks in five of those six seasons.
• Jordan Willis blocked an Oklahoma State extra point last week, while Travis Britz has five blocked kicks – including a national-leading four in 2013 – over the last two seasons to tie the school’s career record. He is tied with Raphael Guidry, who had five in 2011 alone.
• Britz’s lone blocked kick last year was a big one when he got his hands on a fourth-quarter PAT at No. 11 Oklahoma, which helped K-State earn a 31-30 victory.
KICKERS READY WHEN NEEDED
• Over the last 14 games, Kansas State has been fortunate to have a pair of dependable place kickers in Jack Cantele and Matthew McCrane, who are the only set of active teammates in the nation to have 20 or more career field goals.
• McCrane took over for Cantele during the fourth game of the 2014 season and went on to make 18-of-19 (.947) field goals to lead the nation in field goal percentage.
• McCrane went down with an injury at UTSA, so enter Cantele, who has been true 7-of-8 field goals, including four big kicks against Louisiana Tech en route to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week and Lou Groza Award Star of the week honors.
• Cantele’s field goals came from distances of 33, 38, 20 and 44 yards, the latter coming in a “must-make” situation to send the game to a third overtime where the Wildcats eventually won.
• Cantele ranks 10th in school history with 23 career field goals, three ahead of McCrane. McCrane holds the school’s top career field-goal percentage mark at 95.2, but Cantele is fifth at 76.7.