K-State Heads to Oklahoma for Morning Matchup

GAME PREVIEW
OCT 15, 11:00 AM

Memorial Stadium
Norman, OK

NR/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
3-2 (1-1 Big 12)

19/20
OKLAHOMA
SOONERS
3-2 (2-0 Big 12)

Coming off a thrilling 44-38 win over Texas Tech in Manhattan, K-State heads back out on the road for a nationally-televised matchup with 19th-ranked Oklahoma. Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 11 a.m., will be televised nationally on ESPN with Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich calling the action. The contest can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sidelines) on the call, as well as SiriusXM channel 80. 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
• Guided by 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Snyder, who is in the midst of his 25th season at the helm of the Wildcats, K-State is looking to win for the third-straight time in Norman following wins in 2012 and 2014.
• K-State continues to play tough defense as it currently leads the Big 12 and ranks 14th nationally in total defense and has held its opponents to an average of 17.6 points and 310.2 yards per game.
• K-State had a solid second half against Texas Tech, holding the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense to just 10 total points, seven of which came in the final seconds. The Cats also held Tech to just a 3-of-9 conversion rate on third down in the second half.
• Eleven players on defense have recorded 10 or more tackles, led by Elijah Lee’s 41 stops, while Jordan Willis currently leads the league in sacks (6.0) and TFLs (7.5).
• K-State has held each of its first five opponents to an average of 80.8 yards a game on the ground.
• K-State scored in all three phases of the game in the win over Texas Tech and is now a perfect 18-0 under Bill Snyder when scoring on offense, defense and special teams.
• K-State is a perfect 26-of-26 in red zone scores so far this season, and, dating back to last year, the Wildcats have been perfect on its last 51 red-zone attempts, 35 of which resulted in touchdowns.

A LOOK AT OKLAHOMA
• Oklahoma boasts one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the Big 12 behind quarterback Baker Mayfield, running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon and wide receiver Dede Westbrook.
• Perine ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing, Westbrook is second in receiving and Mayfield is second in passing efficiency.
• On defense, Jordan Evans ranks third in the Big 12 in tackles, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is second in sacks and Jordan Thomas leads the league in passes defended.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• This weekend’s game against the Sooners is the 97th all-time meeting, as OU holds a 73-19-4 advantage.
• The two teams have split the last five meetings overall with the road team taking each of those matchups.
• Dating back to 1993, K-State has won eight of the 17 meetings with Oklahoma.

TOUGH ROAD SLATE
• The 2016 season opener at then-No. 8 Stanford represented the first of what stands as of now at least three road games against top-20 foes this season.
• K-State’s travels to 19th-ranked Oklahoma this weekend, while the Wildcats are on the road on Nov. 19 at Baylor, which checked in at No. 11 in this week’s Associated Press poll.

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 177 victories, which is ranks 19th in the nation.
• The Cats are only two wins away from 16th and six victories away from the top 15.
• Among current Big 12 teams, only Oklahoma (5th; 199), Texas (11th; 193) and TCU (15th; 183) rank higher.

300 AT ONE
• Last Saturday’s contest against Texas Tech was the 300th K-State game under the direction of head coach Bill Snyder.
• Snyder became just the seventh person all-time to coach 300 games on one FBS school. Among the seven to accomplish the feat, six – Joe Paterno (Penn State), Bobby Bowden (Florida State), LaVell Edwards (BYU), Chris Ault (Nevada), Tom Osborne (Nebraska) and Snyder – are in the College Football Hall of Fame.

SNYDER IN ELITE COMPANY
• Head coach Bill Snyder currently has 196 career victories, 157 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 victories among active coaches overall and 28th in all-time wins.
• He is four wins away from becoming the 25th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins.
• Snyder, who has 113 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories (Tom Osborne [153], Bob Stoops [113], Barry Switzer [100]).

THE CENTURY MARK
• With last week’s 44-38 win over Texas Tech, K-State became just the third Big 12 program to reach 100 league wins since the conference began in 1996.
• The Wildcats joined Texas and this week’s opponent, Oklahoma, in the century club.

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.
• Penalties were more frequent early in the year, but the Wildcats cleaned up down the stretch. In the final eight games of the regular season, K-State had just 32 (4.0 per game) penalties to jump back to No. 1 in the Big 12.
• With 13 underclassmen starters in the first five games of 2016, the Wildcats have been flagged more than usual as they are committing 6.8 penalties per game for an average of just under 50 yards.
• K-State has ranked first or second in the conference in fewest penalty yards per game each of the previous five years. The Wildcats led the league in 2014, 2013 and 2011, while they ranked second in 2012 and 2010.
• The Cats have work to do to get back into the top two in the conference as they currently rank fourth in the Big 12.

YOUTH IS SERVED
• The season-opening depth chart featured 24 combined underclassmen (Fr. or So.; does not count special teams), including 17 on offense. It was the most on the initial depth chart of a year since at least 1988.
• K-State started 11 underclassmen – including four freshmen – in the opener at No. 8/7 Stanford. It was the most for either category since at least 1997.
• The previous high of underclassmen starting during that stretch was nine in 2005.
• The four freshmen starters at Stanford marked the second-straight year the Wildcats started at least three freshmen in a season opener.
• K-State had no more than two freshmen starters in a season opener in any of the previous 18 years, while the Wildcats had started a combined total of eight freshmen in season openers from 1998-2014.

DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
• Since 1990, K-State is 157-30 (.840) when scoring first.
• K-State, 2-1 this year when scoring first, will be looking to bounce back from a 3-2 record in 2015 when getting on the board first, defeating South Dakota, Louisiana Tech and Kansas, but losing to Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
• In 2014, the Cats held a perfect 7-0 record when scoring the game’s first points.

OFFENSIVE NOTES
RED ZONE ALERT

• Kansas State has been one of the best red zone teams over the past few years, including a perfect mark over the final seven games of the 2015 season and again so far in 2016 through five games (26-for-26).
• The Wildcats, one of two Power 5 teams to be perfect in the red zone thus far in 2016, led the league last year and ranked second nationally by converting on 94.5-perecent (52-of-55) on their red-zone attempts, which included 35 touchdowns.
• Over the last 12 games dating back to 2015, K-State is perfect on 51 red zone attempts with 35 touchdowns.
• In their 47 wins over the last six seasons, the Cats are 218-for-238 (.916) in red zone chances with 159 touchdowns, while four of their non-scoring trips have come via kneel downs to close out victories.

QUICK OUT OF THE GATE
• Kansas State has started games on the right side of the scoreboard this season, outscoring opponents 56-17 in the opening 15 minutes.
• That mark improves to 124-45 through the first two quarters and 137-51 after three, but opponents have gotten the best of K-State in the final quarter to the tune of 37-34.

ERTZ ON THE RUN
• Quarterback Jesse Ertz was injured on a five-yard rush on the first offensive play of 2015, a play that ended his season. However, he’s not letting that deter him from his rushing abilities through five starts in 2016.
• Although his passing numbers may not be what he wants, Ertz has been able to be effective as he has at least 80 rushing yards in two contests, including a career-high 85 yards against Missouri State in a game that lasted just one half due to weather.
• Ertz has rushing touchdowns in three of the five games this year, including one on 4th-and-Goal last week against Texas Tech. The Burlington, Iowa, native was effective running the ball against the Red Raiders, going for 83 yards on just 10 carries.

JONES CLIMBING THE CHARTS
• In the midst of his third year serving as the primary running back, Charles Jones is using his final season to climb up the school’s career rushing yardage list.
• Last week against Texas Tech, Jones ran for a career-best 128 yards on 19 carries – also a career high – with one touchdown as he climbed three spots on K-State’s career rushing list.
• A native of Mandeville, Louisiana, Jones now sits in 15th place all-time at K-State with 1,523 career rushing yards and needs just 57 yards to tie for 14th and 70 yards to tie for 13th.
• The rushing score against the Red Raiders was the 20th of his career as he is just three rushing touchdowns shy of entering K-State’s career top-10 list.

HEATH MAKING HEADWAY
• Receiver Dominique Heath has had a great start to his sophomore season, but he is looking to remain consistent throughout the year.
• Heath leads the team with 12 receptions for 170 yards, which includes touchdowns against both Florida Atlantic and Missouri State.
• A product of Huntersville, North Carolina, Heath also paces the squad with five catches that have gone for third-down conversions.
• Heath, who is averaging 34.0 yards per game this year, was at a 39.2-yard clip through five games last year. However, that number dropped to 14.6 yards over the final eight contests.

WORK CONTINUES ON THE LINE
• The Wildcats’ 2016 offensive line must grow up in a hurry as the unit has a combined 42 career starts, led by 18 from Dalton Risner and nine by Terrale Johnson.
• K-State had just 17 combined starts entering this season, which was the fewest for the Wildcats since the 1990 squad also had 17 combined starts entering the year.
• Four players, left tackle Scott Frantz and guards Will Ash, Abdul Beecham and Tyler Mitchell, have earned their first-career starts this year.
• 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.
• The 2012 line had just a collective 26 starts but ended up placing four linemen on the All-Big 12 team, including first-time starters Cornelius Lucas, Tavon Rooks and Cody Whitehair.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOES
• Kansas State, which ranks 15th nationally in scoring defense, has been one of the nation’s best in keeping opposing offenses off the board.
• The Wildcats have held each of their first five opponents at least 16.0 points below their season scoring average from a total average difference of 22.9 points.
• In the season opener, K-State held Stanford to 17.2 points below its scoring average from 2015, while the Wildcats forced its first two Big 12 opponents, West Virginia and Texas Tech, to 16.0 and 21.5 points below their scoring averages, respectively.

UNDER 300
• K-State held its first three opponents to less than 300 total yards for the first time since the 2007 season.
• The last time a Bill Snyder team opened the year with such a feat was in 1998 against Indiana State (87), Northern Illinois (170) and Texas (292).
• That season, K-State held its first five opponents to under 300 total yards as the Cats continued the streak against Louisiana-Monroe (273) and Colorado (262).

TURNOVER TURNAROUND
• K-State’s +6 turnover margin this season is the highest for the Wildcats since finishing the 2014 season +8 in that department.
• In 2015, K-State was +2 in the turnover margin through the first five games of the year.
• K-State has seen its defense force nine turnovers through the first four games of the season as the Cats currently lead the Big 12 in turnover margin (+6).
• More significantly, the Wildcats have not allowed any points off their four turnovers, while they have turned their 10 turnovers into 38 total points, good for a 7.6-point average per game.

PICKING THEM APART
• Over the last 36 contests K-State has recorded multiple interceptions in a game, the Wildcats hold a 30-6 record.
• The Wildcats are 10-1 over the last two-plus seasons when recording two or more picks.
• Kansas State has notched at least one interception in 21 of the last 30 games.
• With the interceptions being recorded by Kendall Adams and D.J. Reed against FAU, it also marked the first multi-interception game by defensive backs since the 2014 KU game.
• Matt Seiwert picked up the lone Wildcat interception against Missouri State, becoming K-State’s first defensive lineman with an interception since 2011.
• Elijah Lee’s interception at WVU was the fourth of his career, the most by a K-State linebacker since the early 2000s, while Reed’s pick-six against Texas Tech was the first since the 2014 Oklahoma game.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

• The Wildcats have recorded at least 7.0 tackles for loss in four of their last six regular season games, including 8.0 TFLs in the 2016 season opener at Stanford.
• Over half of the TFLs against the Cardinal came from senior safety Dante Barnett and junior defensive end Tanner Wood. Barnett had 2.5 TFLs, just 0.5 shy of his career high, while Wood had a career-best 2.0 TFLs.
• Jordan Willis leads the team with 7.5 and ranks first in the league.
• The Cats recorded 4.0 TFLs in the first half of the Missouri State game before it was called due to weather.

SACK MASTERS
• Kansas State had one of its better seasons in terms of sacks in 2015, recording 38 to rank third in the Big 12, tie for ninth in the nation and tie for eighth in school history.
• K-State finished in the top-10 nationally in sacks for the first time since 2006.
• K-State started 2016 with a pair of sacks at Stanford, including a sack-strip by defensive end Jordan Willis and the first sack of safety Dante Barnett’s career, and followed up with four against FAU and three in each of the last two games.
• Willis leads the league and ranks fourth nationally with 6.0 sacks.

SECOND HALF RESURGENCE
• The Wildcats have turned in some terrific performances on defense in the second half of games over the last 10 regular-season contests.
• Over the final six games of 2015 (Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, KU and West Virginia) and through the first four second halves, the Cats yielded up an average of 179.1 total yards and 9.9 offensive points in the final 30 minutes.
• At Stanford, the Cats allowed just 70 total yards and one touchdown in the second half. Included in those figures are a 41-yard touchdown by Christian McCaffrey as the Wildcats held last year’s Heisman Trophy runner up to just 11 rushing yards and six receiving yards in the second half when taking away his late scamper.
• In last week’s win over Texas Tech, K-State held the nation’s top offense to just 10 total second-half points, seven of which came in the final seconds with a 13-point lead.

LEE LEADS THE CHARGE
• Junior linebacker Elijah Lee, a Second Team All-Big 12 pick in 2015 after leading K-State with 80 tackles, has hit the ground running in 2016 with a team-leading 41 stops, including 28 solo tackles to rank 25th in the nation.
• Lee, who is tied for fifth in the Big 12 with 8.2 tackles per game, started his year with a career-high tying 12 stops at Stanford before breaking that mark with 14 at West Virginia en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
• Lee has carded at least eight tackles in seven of the last 12 games dating back to last season.

LEE LIKES INTERCEPTIONS
• Another area where Elijah Lee has produced is in pass defense as he tallied his fourth-career interception at West Virginia.
• Lee, who had three picks as a sophomore in 2015, is one of 19 linebackers in the nation with four or more career interceptions, including the only one from the Big 12.
• The Blue Springs, Missouri, native is one of four Wildcat linebackers with at least four career interceptions under head coach Bill Snyder, joining Bryan Hickman (2000-03), Mark Simoneau (1996-99) and Travis Ochs (1995-98).

WILLIS THE SACK ARTIST
• Preseason All-Big 12 defensive end Jordan Willis, who has had sacks in seven of the last nine games, is flying up the K-State career sack chart.
• Willis, who first entered the school’s career top-10 list with 2.0 sacks two weeks ago at West Virginia, added two more quarterback takedowns last week against Texas Tech as he is tied for fifth in school history.
• Willis, who leads all active Big 12 players in career sacks, is tops in the Big 12 in both sacks and tackles for loss (7.5), while he ranks fourth and 17th in the nation, respectively, in those two categories.

REED RUSHES TO PAYDIRT
• Sophomore D.J. Reed recorded a first-quarter interception against Texas Tech and raced 35 yards for a touchdown.
• Reed, who is tied for fifth in the league in interceptions, tallied K-State’s first pick-six since Danzel McDaniel had a quick five-yards return for a score two years ago at Oklahoma.
• Reed’s 35-yard return was also the longest by a Wildcat since Dante Barnett had a 51-yard return against Michigan in the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
• For his play against Texas Tech, Reed earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week accolades.

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 104 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 four of the last five years and in 15 of the 17 seasons since 1999.
• Dominique Heath gave K-State its first non-offensive score of 2016 as he raced 75 yard on a punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic.
• Byron Pringle’s 99-yard kick return and D.J. Reed’s pick-six against Texas Tech gave K-State its 18th straight win under Snyder when scoring on special teams and on defense in the same game.

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 42 games as the last time an opponent took a kickoff back for a score was Louisiana on Sept. 7, 2013.
• K-State finished the 2015 season ranked 12th nationally in kickoff return defense, but after Florida Atlantic averaged 23.5 yards on six returns, the Wildcats are currently 26th.
• 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 29 games.
• Kansas State enters this week’s game tied for 19th nationally by allowing just 2.6 yards per punt return.

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 Dominique Heath and Byron Pringle rank highly in the nation in the return categories.
• Heath enters play this week ranked second nationally with an 18.5-yard punt return average and is second in punt-return touchdowns. Pringle jumped from 14th to fourth in kickoff-return average at 34.0 yards thanks to his 99-yard touchdown return last week against Texas Tech.
• Both players have earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors this year. Heath was honored after his 75-yard punt return touchdown against FAU, while Pringle earned nods following a combined 78 return yards in just one half against Missouri State and his effort against Texas Tech.
• Heath also had a touchdown reception against the Bears, becoming the first Wildcat since Tramaine Thompson against Missouri State in 2012 to have a receiving touchdown and punt-return score in the same game.

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 in at Stanford to extend a streak to a career record 16-straight makes.
• Additionally, he is ranks seventh in school history in career field goals made with 33 and eighth in career extra-points made with 77.
• Included in McCrane’s PAT total is a school-record tying nine earlier this year against Florida Atlantic.
• A 2015 All-Big 12 punter and two-time member of the Ray Guy Award watch list, Walsh has booted to a career 41.8-yard average to rank sixth in K-State history.
• 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 last week against Texas Tech.