Cats Wrap Up Regular Season at TCU


GAME PREVIEW
DEC 3, 11:00 AM CT

Amon G. Carter Stadium
Fort Worth, TX

NR/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
7-4 (5-3 Big)

NR/NR
TCU
HORNED FROGS
6-5 (4-4 Big 12)

On the heels of its eighth-straight win over in-state rival Kansas – a game in which Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder picked up his 200th career win – K-State wraps up the 2016 regular season on the road when it travels to TCU on Saturday. The contest will kick off 11 a.m., and be televised to a national audience on FS1 with Aaron Goldsmith (play-by-play) and Ben Leber (analyst) calling the action. The contest can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sidelines) on the call, as well as Sirius channel 136, XM channel 199. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, while Twitter updates (@ kstate_gameday, @KStateFB) will all be a part of the coverage.

A LOOK AT K-STATE
• Continuing to rank among the league’s best when it comes to rushing offense and run defense, K-State has carded 924 rushing yards and 14 TDs on the ground in the last three games and has averaged 281 yards per game rushing over its last five contests with 19 rushing TDs.
• The Cats have recorded five-straight league games with 200 or more rushing yards, their longest streak since 2003.
• Due to its stout rushing attack, K-State has had 33 of its 54 scoring drives this season span seven plays or longer, including 16 that lasted at least 10 plays.
• K-State’s rushing attack is led by quarterback Jesse Ertz, who ranks first in the Big 12 among QBs with 70.5 yards per game, including two 100-yard games.
• Redshirt freshman running back Alex Barnes set a K-State freshman record with four rushing TDs at Baylor and has recorded two straight 100-yard games with 129 yards at Baylor and 103 against Kansas.
• K-State continues to highly on defense, leading the Big 12 and ranking 10th nationally in rushing defense (109.9 ypg), while also leading the league in total defense (391.5 ypg).
• Junior Elijah Lee leads the team and ranks third in the Big 12 with 90 tackles. Jordan Willis is tops in the league in sacks (10.5) and second in TFLs (15.0), while D.J Reed has a Big 12-best 18 passes defended.

A LOOK AT TCU
• TCU is coming off a big 31-9 win at Texas in which it became bowl eligible.
• Running back Kyle Hicks leads the Horned Frogs in both rushing and receiving with 894 yards and 12 scores on the ground and 40 catches for 394 yards and two more TDs.
• Defensively, Travin Howard and Ty Summers rank first and second in the Big 12 with 119 and 105 tackles, respectively, while Josh Carraway leads the squad in sacks with 8.0.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• TCU leads the all-time series, 5-4, and has won the past two meetings.
• Kansas State won the first two matchups (2012, 2013) when TCU joined the Big 12.
• K-State is 1-3 all-time in Fort Worth with the lone win coming in 2012, a 23-10 triumph that propelled the Cats to a No. 1 BCS ranking the following week.

BIG 12 FINISH
• K-State is guaranteed at least a share of fourth place in the final Big 12 standings and can secure sole possession of fourth with a win this weekend.
• The Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll and have finished fifth or better in the Big 12 in five of the six years since the round robin schedule was created in 2011.

THE 200 CLUB
• With K-State’s 34-19 win over Kansas last Saturday, head coach Bill Snyder became the 26th FBS coach all-time with 200 career victories, including the second this year (Nick Saban).
• However, Snyder is just the sixth coach to reach the 200-win mark and coach at only one school in his career.

THE CENTURY MARK
• Earlier this year, K-State became the third Big 12 program to reach 100 league wins since the conference began in 1996. The Cats, who have 104 wins, are joined by Oklahoma (128) and Texas (118) in the century club.

SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS
• Kansas State is in rare company in college football as the Wildcats rank in the top 20 in wins among FBS programs over the last 21-plus seasons.
• Since 1995, K-State has picked up 181 victories, which ranks 19th in the nation.
• Among current Big 12 teams, only Oklahoma (5th; 205), Texas (13th; 196) and TCU (15th; 185) rank higher.

SNYDER IN ELITE COMPANY
• Head coach Bill Snyder currently has 200 career victories, 161 more than any other coach in school history.
• Snyder ranks first in the FBS in wins among active coaches at current schools, second in total wins among active coaches overall and 26th in all-time wins.
• Snyder, who has 117 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories (Tom Osborne [153], Bob Stoops [117], Barry Switzer [100]).

TURNOVER TURNAROUND
• A year after finishing minus-3 in the turnover battle, K-State currently ranks 11th nationally and first in the Big 12 with a plus-9 turnover margin.
• The Wildcats have given up only 10 turnovers to rank seventh nationally and tops in the conference.
• In 2015, K-State was minus-3 in the turnover margin through 10 games.
• More significantly, K-State has only allowed 14 points of its turnovers, 30 less than the next best Big 12 team.

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 Wildcats, who have ranked first or second in the conference in fewest penalty yards per game each of the previous five years, are on their way to accomplish that feat again in 2016.
• Although K-State ranked 104th in the nation and sixth in the Big 12 with 74.5 penalty yards per game following its FAU contest on Sept. 17, the Wildcats are now second in the league with a 51.7-yard average.

FILLING UP THE BILL
• Attendance at K-State games have been at an all-time high over the last five years as K-State has recorded 33-straight sellouts following the regular-season finale against KU.
• K-State, which has finished second in the nation in percentage of capacity filled over the last three years, currently rank fourth (103.84-percent).
• K-State averaged a school-record 53,100 fans in its 50,000-seat stadium in 2015, a number that has increased each of the last four seasons.
• Twenty-one of the largest 25 crowds in stadium history have come since 2013.

YOUTH IS SERVED
• Through the first 11 games of 2016, Kansas State has a combined 116 starts from freshmen or sophomores, which are the most under head coach Bill Snyder. The previous high was 101 in 1989, Snyder’s first season at the helm.
• A majority of the starts this year are by sophomores (81), while 35 starts have come from redshirt freshmen.
• K-State started 11 underclassmen – including four redshirt freshmen – in the opener at Stanford. It was the most for either category since at least 1997 as K-State had no more than two freshmen starters in a season opener in any of the previous 18 years.

ROAD SCORING STREAK
• Winston Dimel’s second-quarter touchdown at Baylor extended K-State’s consecutive road scoring streak to 93 true road games and 115 road/neutral site games.
• The last time the Wildcats have not scored in a road or neutral-site game was in 1996 at Colorado.

DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
• Since 1990, K-State is 159-31 (.837) when scoring first.
• However, K-State is 4-2 this year when scoring first and just 7-4 in that department over the last two seasons.
• In 2014, the Cats held a perfect 7-0 record when scoring the game’s first points.

QUICK OUT OF THE GATE
• Kansas State has started games on the right side of the scoreboard this season, outscoring opponents 85-44 in the opening 15 minutes.
• That mark improves to 215-117 through the first half and 287-157 after three quarters, but opponents have gotten the best of K-State in the final quarter to the tune of 99-69.

LEADING AT THE HALF
• Kansas State had a 49-game game winning streak when leading a halftime snapped in 2015 at Oklahoma State, a streak that was the nation’s longest at the time.
• Since that loss at OSU last year, the Wildcats are 7-3 when leading at halftime but only 5-3 in Big 12 games. This year, K-State is 6-1 when taking a lead into the locker room with its only blemish being a loss at West Virginia.

SECOND-HALF SURGE
• Kansas State, down 14-7 to Baylor at halftime, scored 35 second-half points to rally for a 42-21 win.
• It marked the first time under Bill Snyder that K-State scored 35 points in the final 30 minutes in a road game. The last time the Cats scored 35 second-half points overall was at home in the 2012 Big 12-clinching win over Texas.
• The comeback win also marked the first time since the 2014 Iowa State game that K-State won on the road when trailing at halftime.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
GROUND ATTACK
• K-State has leaned heavily on its running game this year to move the football, especially in the last four contests.
• The Cats, who currently rank second in school history in yards per carry (5.1) and eighth in rushing yards per game (223.5), have hit the 200-yard barrier in each of the last five contests as they ran for 234 yards against Texas, 247 yards at Iowa State, 345 yards against Oklahoma State, 237 yards at Baylor and 342 against Kansas.
• The five-game stretch against Big 12 opponents with at least 200 rushing yards is the most since the 2003 squad did so in six-straight games, culminating with 292 rushing yards in a 35-7 victory over No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.
• K-State’s 345 yards on the ground against the Cowboys were the most against a conference opponent since rushing for 346 yards against Kansas in 2012.
• K-State also currently sits at ninth in school history with 33 rushing touchdowns this season and eighth in season rushing yards with 2,459.

70 TIMES 3
• The Wildcats rushing effort against Oklahoma State was led by three players with at least 70 rushing yards in quarterback Jesse Ertz (153) in addition to running backs Alex Barnes (72) and Charles Jones (70).
• It marked the first time since the 2013 UMass game that three players rushed for at least 70 yards and the first time against a Big 12 opponent since 1997 against Iowa State.

GROWTH EVIDENT ON THE LINE
• Despite boasting only 17 combined starts entering the season, K-State’s offensive line has grown throughout the season to rank as one of the best in the Big 12, evidenced by the 281-yard rushing average of the last five games.
• The unit, which featured the fewest combined starts entering a season since 1990, has been consistent over the last six games with four first-time starters – left tackle Scott Frantz, left guards Abdul Beecham and Tyler Mitchell, and center Reid Najvar – learning alongside veteran right guard Terrale Johnson (15 career starts) and right tackle Dalton Risner (24 career/consecutive starts).
• Despite the inexperience, Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line coach Charlie Dickey does have a good track record when it comes to developing offensive lines quickly as the 2012 line had just a collective 26 starts entering the year but ended up placing four linemen on the All-Big 12 team, including three first-time starters.

RED ZONE ALERT

• K-State has been one of the best red zone teams over the past few years as they were one of only four teams – joined by Nevada, Oklahoma State and UCLA – to rank in the top-15 nationally in red zone offense in both 2014 and 2015, but the only one of that group to remain in the top 15 this season.
• The Cats rank 14th nationally and second in the Big 12 by converting on 91.1-percent (51-of-56) of red zone trips.
• Since the beginning of 2014, K-State has converted on 159-of-173 red zone attempts (.926) with 117 touchdowns. Included in that stretch was a nation-leading scoring streak of 56-straight trips that was snapped earlier this year.
• In their 50 wins over the last six seasons, the Cats are 236-for-259 (.915) in red zone chances with 175 touchdowns, while four of their non-scoring trips have come via kneel downs to close out victories.

LONG DRIVES
• In the era of quick-strike offenses in college football, K-State remains a team that likes to possess the ball.
• Of K-State’s 54 scoring drives this season, 33 have been seven plays or longer including 16 of 10-plus plays.
• Sixteen scoring drives have lasted at least five minutes with a 17-play, 8:32 drive at Oklahoma being the longest.

ERTZ ON THE RUN
• Quarterback Jesse Ertz was injured and out for the year following a five-yard rush on the first offensive play of 2015, but he has not letting that deter him from his rushing abilities through 11 starts in 2016.
• Ertz leads the team, ranks eighth in the Big 12 and eighth nationally among quarterbacks by averaging 70.5 rushing yards per game.
• Additionally, Ertz’s 5.54-yard per rush average ranks fifth in the nation among signal callers and fifth in K-State history among players with at least 100 attempts.
• Ertz’s total was given a boost at Iowa State (106 yards) and against Oklahoma State (153 yards) when he became the first Wildcat with consecutive 100-yard games since John Hubert in 2013.
• His 153-yard total against the Cowboys tied for fifth in school history among quarterbacks, while his 30 attempts in that contest tied for third among QBs in K-State history.

FRESHMAN ADDS NAME TO MIX
• Coming into season with three running backs that have seen game action, redshirt freshman Alex Barnes has added yet another dimension to the running game.
• Barnes has rushed for 442 yards on 56 attempts and six scores, ranking second in school history in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns among freshmen.
• Barnes’ 7.9-yard average per carry leads the Big 12 among players with at least 50 attempts, while he is the only player in the league with at least 50 attempts to not have a negative rush. The other 21 non-quarterbacks to rush at least 50 times have averaged 16.9 lost yardage.

BARNES HAS BREAKOUT GAMES
• Totaling 210 yards in the first nine contests, Alex Barnes ran for 129 yards and four touchdowns at Baylor before adding another 103 yards and a leaping 31-yard score against Kansas.
• His four rushing scores against the Bears are the most by a freshman in school history, tied for third overall in K-State history and tied for most nationally by a freshman in a game this year.
• His 129 yards also ranked third in K-State history for single-game yards by a freshman.
• With his efforts against the Bears and Jayhawks, he became the first freshman in school history with two straight 100-yard games.

HEATH MAKING HEADWAY
• Dominique Heath has become K-State’s go-to receiver, leading the team with 41 catches, including a team-leading 11 that have gone for third-down conversions.
• He has hauled in at least seven receptions on three occasions, including career-high nine at Iowa State. He also set a new career high with 101 yards at Oklahoma, which featured a 54-yard touchdown.
• Heath’s nine catches at ISU were the most by a Wildcat since the Alamo Bowl following the 2014 season (Tyler Lockett [13] and Curry Sexton [10]). He is also tied for fifth in school history in catches among sophomores.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOES
• Although it plays in a high-powered offense league, K-State has been one of the best in the nation in keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard as the Wildcats rank second in the Big 12 in scoring defense.
• The Wildcats have held their 11 opponents this season to a total average difference of 13.5 points per game below their season averages at the time.
• The three most impressive performances this year came against Texas Tech, which was averaging 59.5 points prior to scoring only 38, West Virginia, which scored 17 points despite its 33.0-point average going in, and Baylor, which also scored 17 points fewer than its average.
• The only two opponents to score more against the Wildcats than its scoring average were Iowa State and Oklahoma State, which were only 2.3 and 2.4 points better, respectively.

PICKING THEM APART
• Kansas State, which has notched at least one interception in 26 of the last 36 games, ranks second in the Big 12 with 14 interceptions despite three sophomore starters in the secondary.
• Of K-State’s 14 picks this year, 10 have come from defensive backs after only one in 2015.
• The Wildcats’ 14 picks this year are already nine more than they secured last year as they have recorded their 10th double-digit interception season in the last 11 years.
• Among the 14 picks this year, three have been returned for touchdowns as D.J. Reed had a 35-yard return against Texas Tech, Duke Shelley went 29 yards to paydirt against Oklahoma State and Donnie Starks 39 yards against KU.
• The three interception-return touchdowns by the Wildcats this year are tied for fifth in school history, while they are first in the Big 12 and ninth nationally.

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF SACKS
• Although the Wildcats are only fourth in the Big 12 with 2.45 sacks per game (27 total), they have gotten the most out of them as they rank third in the conference with 7.0 yards per sack.
• K-State recorded 38 sacks in 2015 to rank third in the Big 12 and tie for ninth in the nation. It was the first time since 2006 the Cats finished in the top-10 nationally in sacks.
• The team leader in that department is Kyle Ball, whose two sacks have resulted in an average of 13.0 lost yards. K-State’s starting DEs, Jordan Willis and Reggie Walker, are averaging 7.2 and 6.7 yards per sack, respectively.

LEE LEADS THE CHARGE
• Junior linebacker Elijah Lee, a Second Team All-Big 12 pick in 2015 after leading K-State with 80 tackles, is improving his production in 2016 with a team-leading 90 stops to rank third in the Big 12.
• Lee, who is on pace to end the regular season with 98 tackles, set a new career high with 14 stops at West Virginia en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
• A native of Blue Springs, Missouri, Lee has at least seven tackles in 12 of the last 18 games – including all but one Big 12 contest this year – while he has reached double digits in tackles on four occasions in 2016.
• Against Kansas, Lee carded his fifth-career interception, the most by a Wildcat linebacker under Bill Snyder.

WILLIS LIVES BEHIND THE LINE
• Defensive end Jordan Willis, who has sacks in 10 of the last 15 games, is flying up the K-State career chart.
• Willis moved into third place in school history with his effort against KU, improving his career mark to 25.0 sacks. He also moved into the Big 12’s top-10 list, now tying for seventh place with Oklahoma’s Dan Cody (2000-04).
• On the Midseason Watch List for the Hendricks Award, Willis has 10.0 sacks this year to tie for seventh in school history and sit just one away from tying the school record.
• Willis, who leads all active Big 12 players in career sacks, leads the Big 12 in sacks and ranks second in TFLs (15.0) this year to rank ninth and 24th in the nation, respectively.
• Willis can also set his sights on K-State’s TFL top-10 list. The senior has 38.0 career TFLs, needing just one to tie for 10th in school history.
• K-State’s current top-10 list for TFLs does not include any Wildcats who played in the last 15 seasons.

REED PASSING FIRST-YEAR TEST
• Sophomore defensive back D.J. Reed has been solid in his first year playing Division I football as the community-college transfer leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 18 passes defended.
• Reed, who has three interceptions and 15 breakups, is tied for fifth in school history in single-season passes defended. He became the first player to enter the list since Terence Newman had 19 in 2002.
• A product of Bakersfield, California, Reed has one of K-State’s three interception-return touchdowns this year. He took an interception 35 yards for a score against Texas Tech en route to Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.

BARNETT SERVES AS VETERAN PRESENCE
• A year after seeing his season end with an injury in the first half of the 2015 season opener, safety Dante Barnett has been his usual self during his second senior season.
• Barnett, who received a medical hardship for the 2015 season, leads all K-State defenders with 239 career tackles, sitting 11 stops shy of becoming the 27th player in school history with 250 career tackles.
• The Tulsa, Oklahoma, who ranks fifth among active Big 12 players in career tackles, also has 178 career unassisted tackles to rank seventh in school history.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
CATS TOP IN NON-OFFENSIVE TDs
• K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 15-plus seasons as it has 106 since 1999.
• Since 1990, the Wildcats are 58-17 when scoring on special teams and 20-1 when scoring on special teams and defense, including an 18-0 mark under Bill Snyder.
• The Cats have had at least five non-offensive touchdowns in five of the last six years and in 16 of the 18 seasons since 1999.
• The Wildcats’ fifth non-offensive score this year was a 39-yard pick-six by Donnie Starks last week against Kansas, while the Cats also have interception returns by D.J. Reed (Texas Tech) and Duke Shelley (Oklahoma State). Dominique Heath gave K-State its first non-offensive TD of 2016 on a 75-yard a punt return vs. FAU, while Byron Pringle returned a kickoff 99 yards against Texas Tech.
• Reed’s pick-six and Pringle’s KOR score marked the first time the Wildcats had two non-offensive scores in a Big 12 game since doing so against Oklahoma State in 2012.

NON-OFFENSIVE TDs PART II
• Under head coach Bill Snyder, K-State is 70-21 (.769) when scoring a non-offensive touchdown, while the Cats are 51-14 (.785) since 1999 in that department.
• Since Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009 K-State is 26-7 (.788) in this same category.

SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• Kansas State has been far and away the best team among FBS programs over the last decade when it comes to scoring via a kickoff or punt return.
• The Wildcats have a combined 42 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns since 2005, 14 more than any other FBS school over the last 11-plus seasons. Oklahoma State is second on the list with 28 combined kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns.
• K-State has been fairly consistent between kickoff and punt returns with 22 and 20 touchdowns, respectively, during the current stretch.
• K-State also extended its kickoff-return streak to 12 straight years with a return for a score, which is the longest current streak in the nation.

DEFENSE IN THE THIRD PHASE
• On the flip side, K-State has been just as consistent in terms of kickoff and punt coverage.
• The Cats have not allowed a kickoff-return touchdown in the last 48 games as the last time an opponent took a kickoff back for a score was Louisiana on Sept. 7, 2013.
• Similarly, the Wildcats haven’t allowed a punt-return score since the second game of 2014 – Sept. 6 at Iowa State – which is a span of 35 games.
• Kansas State enters this week’s game ranked 14th nationally by allowing just 3.8 yards per punt return, while the Cats are 21st nationally by allowing an 18.3-yard average on kickoff returns.

KIRBY CAN BLOCK PUNTS
• Junior linebacker Jayd Kirby has blocked a pair of punts this season, doing so against Missouri State and Oklahoma State.
• His two blocked kicks are tied for fourth nationally, while he is the first Wildcat with multiple blocked punts in a season since Courtney Herndon in 2008.

RETURNERS RANK HIGH
• K-State returners have routinely enjoyed success under head coach Bill Snyder, and it appears that 2016 will be no different as both Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath rank highly in the nation in the return categories.
• Pringle is ranked eighth in the nation with a 28.7-yard kickoff-return average – a mark that currently ranks ninth in school history – while his 659 yards this season rank fifth in school history. Heath enters play this week tied for seventh nationally in punt-return touchdowns.
• Both players have earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week accolades this year. Heath was honored after his 75-yard punt return touchdown against FAU, while Pringle earned the honor twice (Missouri State, Texas Tech).

KICKERS IN THE RECORD BOOK
• Juniors Matthew McCrane and Nick Walsh have performed to historic marks as both are etching their names into the K-State record book.
• McCrane, a two-time All-Big 12 place kicker, made his first two field goals at Stanford to extend a streak to a career record 16-straight makes.
• Additionally, he is ranks seventh in school history in both career field goals made (36) and career extra-points made (85), while he has 193 career points scored to sit three shy of entering the school’s top-10 list.
• A 2015 All-Big 12 punter and two-time member of the Ray Guy Award watch list, Walsh has booted to a career 41.83-yard average to rank sixth in K-State history, while he is seventh in career yards (6,275) and 10th in attempts (150).
• Walsh’s career averaged has been aided by two big games this year when he recorded a 48.7-yard average in the season opener at Stanford prior to a career best 50.3-yard mark against Texas Tech.