K-State Eyes Bowl Eligibility on Senior Day

GAME PREVIEW
DEC 5, 3:30 PM

Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Manhattan, KS

RV/RV
WEST VIRGINIA
MOUNTAINEERS
7-4 (4-4 Big 12)

NR/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
5-6 (2-6 Big 12)

FS1
Sirius 93, XM 199

Fresh off its second win in as many weeks, K-State returns home on Saturday for Senior Day with bowl eligibility on the line as the Wildcats host West Virginia in the 2015 regular season finale. The sold-out game will kick at 3:30 p.m., and be broadcast nationally on FS1 with Joe Davis (play-by-play), Brady Quinn (analyst) and Kris Budden (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
• The Cats, guided by 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Snyder, are 5-6 this year, which includes close losses to No. 19 OSU, No. 2 TCU and No. 2 Baylor.
• The Cats are coming off a 45-14 win at KU and 38-35 win over Iowa State the week before that saw them erase a 35-14 second-half deficit to tie for the largest comeback in school history (21 points).
• K-State outscored the Cyclones, 24-0, in the second half and also held their offense to 144 yards and forced four fumbles over the final 30 minutes, the most since forcing four against Baylor in 2007.
• K-State took the Horned Frogs down to the wire behind four rushing touchdowns by Joe Hubener and two more from running back Charles Jones. The Cats tied the game at 45 with 1:47 left, but TCU scored a late TD for the win.
• That came a week after K-State took a 34-33 lead over OSU in Stillwater with 3:01 left, but the Cowboys kicked a field goal with less than a minute left for a two-point win.
• Hubener ran for a career-best 153 yards against the second-ranked Bears as the Cats had the ball with less than a minute to play in the game with a chance to tie the game.
• Jones has been fantastic of late, rushing for 525 yards in the last seven games. The junior had a career-best 122-yard effort at Texas, the most by a K-State running back since the final regular-season game of 2013.
• Defensively, the Cats are paced by linebackers Elijah Lee and Will Davis with 70 and 50 tackles, respectively.
• Defensive tackles Travis Britz and Will Geary have also been a force, combining for 77 tackles (7.0 per game), 16.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

SENIOR DAY
• A total of 18 seniors will play their final home game as Wildcats on Saturday: Aaron Bennett, Reed Bergstrom, Travis Britz, Marquel Bryant, Morgan Burns, Jack Cantele, Dalton Converse, Kody Cook, Andre Davis, Luke Hayes, Nate Jackson, Kyle Klein, Matt Kleinsorge, Jordan Kupersmith, Boston Stiverson, Stanton Weber, Cody Whitehair and Dillon Wilson.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• K-State leads the all-time series, 4-1, and is 3-0 against WVU since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
• K-State has won the only prior meeting in Manhattan, a 35-12 victory in 2013.

SNYDER AMONG BEST EVER
• Head coach Bill Snyder currently has 192 career victories, 153 more than any other coach in school history.
• Snyder ranks second in the FBS in wins among active coaches at their current schools, fifth in total victories among active coaches and tied for 29th in all-time wins.
• He is eight wins away from becoming the 25th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins.
• Snyder, who has 111 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories (Tom Osborne [153], Bob Stoops [107], Barry Switzer [100]).

K-STATE IN DECEMBER
• K-State has won two of three December regular-season games since 2011, with both victories coming at home (Iowa State in 2011, Texas in 2012).
• This weekend’s game ties for the latest home game in school history as the 1896 team played to a 6-6 tie against Fort Riley on December 5 that year.

YOUTH MOVEMENT
• A total of 12 players have made their first-career starts in 2015, including a combined 10 freshmen or sophomores.
• Of the 10 underclassmen to make starts this season, seven have been freshmen as fullback Winston Dimel and center Dalton Risner have started all 11 games in addition to four starts by Dominique Heath and three by Dayton Valentine. Defensively, redshirt freshman safety Kendall Adams has made three starts, while true freshman cornerback Duke Shelley has started the last seven games.
• Redshirt or true freshmen have combined to make 39 total starts this season, which is the second-most under Bill Snyder. The most came in Snyder’s first year (1989) when freshmen combined for 43 starts.
• Additionally, a total of 28 freshmen or sophomores have seen playing time this season.

IN-SEASON TURNAROUNDS
• After starting the season 3-6, K-State is trying to replicate its current success in in-season turnarounds.
• Just two seasons ago, Kansas State began the 2013 season 2-4 but was able to win six of its last seven games, including a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory over Michigan, to finish 8-5.
• In 2001, the Wildcats were 2-4 – including losses in their first four conference games – but won four of their last five regular-season contests to make a bowl.

NARROW MISSES
• Five of K-State’s six conference losses were games that either ended in one-score losses or were one-score games heading into the final minutes of the contest.
• The Wildcats held fourth-quarter leads against both Oklahoma St. and TCU, while they had the ball with a chance to tie the game late vs. Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.

REPEAT PERFORMANCES
• K-State has usually been able to string bowl seasons together under Bill Snyder, including a current streak of five-straight years.
• The Wildcats played in 17 bowls prior to 2014 and have followed that with another bowl berth 14 times, all coming under Snyder.
• K-State has had losing records following bowl seasons only three times: 1983 (3-8) after the Independence Bowl, 2004 (4-7) after the Fiesta Bowl and 2007 (5-7) after the Texas Bowl.

RECORD ATTENDANCE
• Attendance at K-State games have been at an all-time high over the last three years as K-State has recorded 26 consecutive sellouts, a number that is expected to reach 27 after Saturday.
• For a second-straight year, K-State finished the 2014 season 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 is averaging 53,130 fans this season and 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.
• Twenty of the largest 25 crowds in stadium history have come in the last two-plus years.
• K-State is currently second nationally in percentage of capacity filled at 106.26 percent, just .46-percent behind Oregon.

DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
• Since 1990, K-State is 156-28 (.848) when scoring first.
• Last year, the Cats held a perfect 7-0 record when scoring first, while K-State had won 14-straight games when scoring first until the game at Oklahoma State.
• Dating back to the beginning of 2011, the Wildcats have gone 28-2 when scoring first with their lone blemishes being losses at Oklahoma State in 2013 and 2015.
• The 28-2 mark since 2011 is the sixth-best record among all FBS schools when scoring first and tops among all Big 12 schools.

HALFWAY HOME
• Since 1990, the Cats have protected a halftime lead in 176 of its 183 (.962) 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 dropping two-straight games (Oklahoma State and TCU) when leading at half.

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 were more of a concern early in the year but have cleaned up down the stretch. In the last seven games, K-State has just 29 to jump back to No. 1 in the Big 12.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
SCORING STREAK SNAPPED
• K-State tallied points in 234 consecutive games dating back to the 1996 season until a shutout loss to Oklahoma.
• The streak was the second longest in the Big 12, the ninth longest active streak and the 20th longest all-time.
• The scoring streak endured 154 conference games, 85 true road games and 20 neutral-site contests.
• In addition, K-State had not been held scoreless in 156 consecutive home games dating back to 1991.
• Although the overall and home scoring streak was snapped, K-State is still currently riding an 87-game scoring streak in road games.

RED ZONE ALERT
• Kansas State has been one of the best red zone teams over the past few years.
• So far this season, the Cats are 46-of-49 in red zone scores with 33 touchdowns, including a 10-for-11 mark on touchdowns in the Oklahoma State and TCU games. Prior to the OSU game, the Cats only scored six touchdowns in 18 red zone chances.
• Since the 2011 season, the Wildcats have scored 258 times in 291 trips (.887) to the red zone. Of those 258 scores, 191 have been touchdowns.
• In their 43 wins over the last four-plus seasons, the Cats are 197-for-217 (.908) in red zone chances with 142 touchdowns, while four of their non-scoring trips have come via kneel downs to close out victories.

HUBENER DEVELOPS IN RUNNING GAME
• Although junior Joe Hubener has shown the ability to throw the deep ball as he ranks 12th nationally in yards per completion, his running game has taken over during the second half of the season.
• The Cheney, Kansas, native ranks second on the team with 598 yards and 13 touchdowns. His total yardage includes a pair of 100-yard games, rushing for 111 yards and four touchdowns against TCU and 153 yards and two scores against Baylor, while he had 90 (ISU) and 88 (KU) yards the last two weeks.
• Hubener’s 13 touchdowns this year are tied for third nationally among quarterbacks, and his total is just two shy of entering the school’s top-10 list.
• He has multiple touchdown runs in four games this season, including three of the last four contests.
• His 153 yards against Baylor rank fifth in school history by a quarterback and were the most by a Wildcat quarterback since Daniel Sams had 199 yards against Baylor in 2013. His four scores against TCU tied for the third most in a game in school history.

JONES COMING ON STRONG
• Junior running back Charles Jones is having his best days as a Wildcat as of late as he has accounted for 85.8-percent (525-of-612 yards) of his season rushing total over the last seven games (63.5-percent of season).
• The Shreveport, Louisiana, native recorded a career-best 122 yards on 18 attempts at Texas, which was the most rushing yards by a K-State running back since John Hubert at Kansas in the 2013 regular-season finale (220).
• He narrowly missed another 100-yard game at Texas Tech, finishing with 99 yards.
• Of his six career games with 75-plus rushing yards, four have come this year, including three of the last four games.
• During the game at Texas Tech, Jones became the 27th player in school history to hit the 1,000-yard mark in a career. He now has 1,152 career rushing yards to rank 22nd in school history.

TOP FRESHMEN
• Running back Justin Silmon and wide receiver Dominique Heath are just two of the many freshmen contributing this season.
• Silmon has 348 rushing yards this year, which ranks second in school history among freshmen. He has bettered the marks of Darren Sproles (210 yards in 2001) and Daniel Sams (235 yards in 2012), among others.
• Heath ranks second on the team in catches (27), while he is third in yards (298) and tied for first in TDs (3).
• He ranks third in school history in catches, yards and touchdowns by a freshman.

FULLBACKS PRESENT OFFENSIVE THREAT
• Both junior Glenn Gronkowski and redshirt freshman Winston Dimel are dangerous offensive weapons as the duo have been involved in 20.5-percent of K-State’s offensive touchdowns (8 of 39).
• In the running game, Dimel is tied for second on the team with five rushing scores, including a pair of games with two touchdowns. His five rushing scores are the third most in school history among freshmen.
• Last week at KU, Gronkowski recorded his first career rushing score, an eight-yard score.
• As receivers, each player has one touchdown this season, including Dimel’s against Iowa State that was thrown by none other than Gronkowski.
• It was the first time a Wildcat non-quarterback threw a touchdown pass since Daniel Thomas hit Aubrey Quarles for a 67-yard scoring strike at Baylor in 2010.
• Gronkowski has averaged 24.6 yards on 15 career receptions, the highest average in school history among players with 15 or more catches. Likewise, Dimel has a 31-yard average on six catches, the highest among players with six or more receptions.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
SECOND-HALF RESURGENCE

• Over the last five games, the Wildcats have turned in some terrific performances on defense in the second half.
• In games against Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and KU, the Cats have given up an average of 187 total yards and nine points in the final 30 minutes.
• In the win over Iowa State, K-State gave up just 144 yards and zero points, which helped lead to the largest comeback in school history (21 points).
• K-State also allowed just 10 second-half points to Baylor, which was averaging 61.1 per game entering the contest.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
• The Cats have three games with 8.0-plus TFLs, the fourth time since Snyder’s return in 2009 that K-State has three games with 8.0 or more TFLs.
• K-State recorded 8.0 TFLs in consecutive games against OU and Texas, the first time with 8.0 or more in consecutive games since 2012 (Miami and North Texas).
• The Cats are in search of their fourth-straight season with 70-plus TFLs.

TOUGH AGAINST THE RUN
• Dating back to 2011, K-State has yielded 135 rushing yards per game (over 63 games), which includes an average of 140.3 yards in 2014 and 158.8 so far in 2015.
• Since 2011, K-State has held 24 of its 63 opponents to 100 yards or less, including four foes in 2014 and four opponents – South Dakota (61), UTSA (37), Oklahoma State (49) and KU (100) – so far in 2015.
• Through four games, the Cats had given up only 284 total yards on the ground, which was the fewest amount given up over the first four games of a season since 2003 when the Cats yielded 250 over that same stretch.
• TCU ran for 242 yards on 23 attempts, but just 87 yards on 21 carries when taking out touchdown runs of 86 and 69 yards, while Baylor had 103 yards after averaging more than 300 per game entering the contest.

PICK ME
• Over the last 35 contests K-State has recorded multiple interceptions in a game, the Wildcats hold a 29-6 record.
• The Wildcats are 9-1 over the last two seasons when recording two or more picks, including a 5-0 mark in 2014 (TTU, OU, OSU, WVU, KU) and 0-1 so far this year (TCU).
• Kansas State has notched at least one interception in 16 of the last 23 games.
• The Wildcats’ top interception man entering 2015 was Dante Barnett with seven, while Morgan Burns recorded three last year in his first year as a starting cornerback and added the fourth of his career last week at KU.

LEE LEADING DEFENSE
• A defensive end in high school, linebacker Elijah Lee has been learning on the job and has impressed through 11 starts as he leads the team with 70 tackles.
• The Blue Springs, Missouri, product set a career high with 12 tackles against LA Tech, while he has at least eight stops in five games, including four of the last five games.
• Lee also has two of K-State’s four interceptions this year, both coming against TCU. He became the first K-State linebacker with two picks in a game since Bryan Hickman against Oklahoma State in 2002.

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 total 16.0 tackles for loss.
• They rank first in the Big 12 in tackles for loss among starting tackles in four-down linemen defenses.
• Britz had his best career game at Texas with nine tackles and 4.0 TFLs. His TFL total was the most by a Wildcat since Ian Campbell had 5.0 in the 2006 season opener against Illinois State, while it was the most by a Wildcat defensive tackle since at least 1989.
• Britz ranks third among Big 12 defensive tackles with 10.0 TFLs, which are the most by a Wildcat DT since 2010 (Jeffrey Fitzgerald, 10.0).
• Geary is on pace for 47 this year, which would be the most by a Wildcat DT since Jermaine Berry in 2004 (55).
• His season total was given a boost against Oklahoma as he carded career highs in tackles (8), tackles for loss (3.0) and sacks (2.0).

FORCING THE ISSUE
• K-State had a stellar game against Iowa State in terms of forced fumbles with four as a team, including a pair from defensive end Jordan Willis.
• Willis’ two forces are the most by a Wildcat since Adam Davis had two against Miami in 2012.
• A product of Kansas City, Willis has four forced fumbles this season to lead the Big 12 and rank seventh nationally. He is also one away from entering the top-five in school history for a season.
• He has two sacks in each of the last two games, becoming the first Wildcat with at least 2.0 sacks in consecutive contests since Monty Beisel in 2000.

BREAKOUT GAMES
• Combing for 4.5 tackles per game entering the Iowa State contest, linebacker Charmeachealle Moore and safety Kendall Adams have teamed to average 17 tackles over the last two contest.
• Both shattered their previous career bests as Moore’s top performance entering the game against the Cyclones was three tackles on two occasions and he came away with 10 in that contest followed by six at KU.
• Adams’ previous high was seven at Texas before totaling 12 against ISU and six against the Jayhawks.
• Both players have recorded TFLs in each of the last two games, and both had sacks against Iowa State.

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 100 since 1999.
• Since 1990, K-State is 55-17 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.
• Burns opened the 2015 season with a 100-yard kick return and has added a 93-yarder (Texas Tech) and a 100-yarder (Iowa State) as well. Burns then recovered a blocked punt for a score in a win over KU.

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 14 kickoffs for touchdowns as opposed to only four in his first tenure, which lasted 17 years.

BURNING DOWN THE SIDELINE
• Senior Morgan Burns has had one of the best seasons in school history in terms of kickoff returns as he has returned 28 kicks for 846 yards (30.2-yd avg) and three TDs.
• His total includes a school-record 221 kickoff-return yards at Texas Tech – featured by a 93-yard touchdown – which was the most by a Big 12 returner since Texas’ Fozzy Whittaker went for 252 yards against Oklahoma State in 2011. It is also the third-most nationally this season as he went on to earn Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
• A product of Wichita, Kansas, Burns ranks fifth nationally this season in kickoff-return average (30.2), while he is second in school history in single-season kickoff-return yards and fifth for a career (1,280).

GOING THE DISTANCE
• When Morgan Burns returned an Iowa State kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, it marked the first time in school history a player took a kickoff the entire length of the field twice in one season, and, en route, earned his second-straight Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
• He returned the season-opening kickoff 100 yards for a score against South Dakota, which is believed to be the first time K-State returned the first kickoff of the season for a touchdown.
• He is the first Big 12 player since 2011 (Texas’ Fozzy Whittaker) to have two 100-yard returns in a season, while he is the only player nationally to accomplish the feat this season.

BLOCK PARTY

• 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 3.1 blocked kicks per year – which includes two this season – while K-State has recorded at least three blocks in five of those seven seasons.
• Jordan Willis blocked an Oklahoma State extra point, while Sam Sizelove got his hand on a KU punt that resulted in a touchdown recovery by Morgan Burns.
• Senior Travis Britz has five blocked kicks – including a national-leading four in 2013 – to tie the school’s career record. (Raphael Guidry)
• 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.

PRESSURE-PACKED KICKS
• Senior place kicker Jack Cantele has had a knack for making pressure-packed kicks this season.
• Cantele, who has been true on 12-of-14 field goals, made four-field goals against Louisiana Tech en route to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week and Lou Groza Award Star of the week honors.
• He had a 44-yard field goal in a “must-make” situation to send the game to a third overtime where the Wildcats eventually won.
• Cantele also recorded a game-winning 42-yard field goal with three seconds left against Iowa State. It was his second-career game-winner as he hit a 41-yarder with three seconds left against TCU in 2013.