K-State Kicks Off 2015 Against South Dakota

GAME PREVIEW
SEPT 5, 6:10 PM

Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Manhattan, KS

RV (FCS)
SOUTH DAKOTA
COYOTES
0-0 (0-0 MVC)

RV/RV
K-STATE
WILDCATS
0-0 (0-0 Big 12)

K-STATEHD.TV
Sirius Ch. 102, XM 200

Coming off four-straight seasons of eight or more wins and five-straight bowl berths, Kansas State opens the 2015 season against South Dakota at 6:10 p.m., Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The seventh-annual K-State Family Reunion game will be extra special as K-State welcomes four new members into its Ring of Honor. Fans are also encouraged to help Stripe Out the stadium by wearing purple or white depending on their ticket location in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Fans can view the stadium map showing the shirt color for their section.

The game will be shown world-wide on K-StateHD.TV and can be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sideline) on the call. The game can also be heard on Sirius channel 109, XM channel 200.

K-StateHD.TV will go on the air at 5:10 p.m., with K-State Gameday, hosted by Brian Smoller and former K-State greats Ian Campbell and Nick Leckey. Live stats are available at the new k-statesports.com, while Twitter updates (@kstatesports and @kstate_gameday) and in-game highlights on facebook.com/kstatesports will all be a part of the coverage.

A LOOK AT K-STATE
• Guided by 2015 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Snyder, K-State returns 44 letterwinners, including 16 starters, from the 2014 squad that went 9-4 and earned the program’s fifth-straight bowl berth.
• Six of the returning starters earned All-Big 12 honors a year ago, including three on the defensive side of the ball.
• Offensively, K-State will be able to build around four returning starters on the line, but the Wildcats must replace its starting quarterback and pair of 1,000-yard receivers.
• Experience litters the defensive side with six returning starters and three more that made at least two starts in 2014.
• Most of the experience is in the backfield with All-Big 12 safety Dante Barnett and cornerback Danzel McDaniel back along with a 12-game starter in Morgan Burns.
• K-State also brings back its regular placekicker in Matthew McCrane and punter in Nick Walsh.

A LOOK AT SOUTH DAKOTA
• Guided by fourth-year head coach Joe Glenn, the Coyotes are looking to bounce back from a 2-10 season.
• USD was out-scored by an average of 35.6-19.4 in 2014.
• One of USD’s two wins last year was a 28-21 triumph over No. 23 (FCS) Northern Arizona.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• K-State leads the all-time series, 3-0, after winning games in 1980, 1981 and 1982, all in Manhattan.
• The Wildcats won those games by an average of 27 points, including a 42-3 triumph in 1982.

SEASON OPENERS
• K-State owns an 81-33-5 (.702) record all-time in season openers, including a 21-2 mark under Bill Snyder.
• The Cats have won 24 of 25 home openers since 1990.
• K-State will have opened the season at home in 11 of the last 12 years following Saturday’s game.
• Saturday marks the second time the Wildcats will open a season against South Dakota after a 31-10 win in 1981.

SEASON NO. 120
• Saturday’s contest marks the beginning of the 120th season of football at Kansas State.
• The Wildcats enter the year with an all-time record of 503-624-41 (.448).
• Of the 503 wins, 37.2-percent have come under Bill Snyder (187 wins)

SNYDER IN SEPTEMBER
• Fast starts have propelled the Wildcats to winning seasons under Bill Snyder. Since 1992 under Snyder, K-State is a combined 59-7 (.894) in September.
• Of the losses, four came on the road, as the Cats are 45-3 in September home games during that stretch.
• Since Snyder’s return to the sidelines in 2009, K-State is 17-4 in the month of September.

SNYDER AMONG BEST EVER
• Head coach Bill Snyder enters the 2015 season with 187 career victories, which are 148 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 32nd in all-time wins.
• He is two wins away from entering the top 30 all-time and 13 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).

NON-CONFERENCE NOTABLES
• Since 1990, K-State has won 69 of its 78 (.885) regular-season non-conference games under Bill Snyder, including 60-of-64 (.938) at home.
• K-State has had perfect regular season non-conference ledgers in 14 of the last 22 years.

BIG 12’S BEST
• K-State currently holds a 27-9 (.750) record in Big 12 play since the start of 2011, which is the most wins and best winning percentage in the league.

CATS CONTINUE CONSECUTIVE SCORING STREAK
• K-State has tallied points in 229 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 151 conference games, 83 true road games and 20 neutral-site contests.
• In addition, K-State has not been held scoreless in 155 consecutive home games dating back to 1991.

HOME SWEET HOME
• Since 1990, K-State holds a 135-31-1 (.811) record when playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
• That record includes a 66-5 (.930) mark in non-conference games and a 69-26-1 (.724) record in league games.

RECORD ATTENDANCE
• Attendance at K-State games have been at an all-time high over the last three years as K-State has recorded 20 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 its 50,000-seat stadium in 2014, a number that increased from the 2013 season (52,887).
• Each of the last six home openers since Bill Snyder’s return – dubbed the “K-State Family Reunion” – have been sellouts with an average of 51,382 fans in attendance.
• Fifteen of the largest 20 crowds in stadium history have come in the last two years, while every game last season drew at least 52,726 fans.

DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
• Since 1990, K-State is 153-27 (.850) when scoring first.
• Last season, the Cats held a perfect 7-0 record when scoring the game’s first points, while K-State has won 13-straight games when scoring first.
• Dating back to the beginning of 2011, the Wildcats have gone 25-1 when scoring first with their lone blemish being a loss at Oklahoma State in 2013.

HALFWAY HOME
• Since 1990, the Cats have protected a halftime lead in 173 of its 178 (.972) games when leading at the half.
• K-State has won 47 straight games when leading at the half, which is the longest active streak in the country.
• The Wildcats opened 2014 with the third-longest active streak until Oregon saw a 63-game streak end earlier this year and Oklahoma had a 48-game streak end on the final day of the regular season.

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).

OFFENSIVE NOTES
THIRD-DOWN SUCCESS

• Kansas State has been efficient on third downs over the last three years as the Cats are one of only four teams nationally to rank in the top 25 in third-down conversions since 2012, joining Alabama, Baylor and Marshall.
• During that span, K-State has converted 238-of-494 (.482) of its third downs.
• K-State ranked 25th nationally and second in the Big 12 last year with a 45.9-percent conversion rate (79-of-172).
• The Wildcats were especially good in the fourth quarter, converting 24-of-44 (.545) of their attempts, while they put themselves in a good position in earlier downs as they went 55-of-95 (.579) when needing six or fewer yards.

RED ZONE ALERT
• Kansas State has been one of the best red zone teams over the past few years and 2014 was no exception.
• K-State was successful on 56-of-62 red zone chances in 2014, including a streak of 12 straight to open the year.
• Since the 2011 season, the Wildcats have scored 213 times in 241 trips (.884) to the red zone. Of those 213 scores, 160 have been touchdowns.
• In their 38 wins over the last four seasons, the Cats are 173-for-190 (.911) in red zone chances with 128 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.

OFFENSIVE OUTPUT
• Last season, Kansas State finished in the top six in school history in both total offensive yards (4th; 5,481) yards and scoring (6th; 465 points).
• The Wildcats ranked sixth in the Big 12 in yards and fourth in scoring a year ago.
• Much of the production was thanks to the single-season record holder for passing and total offense in Jake Waters, as well as a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton.
• K-State will need to replace those dynamic playmakers, but will be able to rebuild around an experienced line.

OFFENSIVE LINE RETURNS EXPERIENCE
• Kansas State returns a large majority of its offensive line from last season as returning players account for 78.5-percent of the total starts in 2014.
• Three 13-game starters return in left tackle Cody Whitehair, left guard Boston Stiverson and right tackle Matt Kleinsorge in addition to a 12-game starter at right guard in Luke Hayes.
• Although experience litters the line, K-State must replace a four-year all-conference center in B.J. Finney.

CROWDED AT QUARTERBACK
• K-State will not be short on depth at the quarterback position with four players vying for the starting honor, but the Wildcats are short on experience at the position.
• Two returners, junior Joe Hubener and sophomore Jesse Ertz, have combined to play in 12 games and account for 428 yards of total offense,
• If Ertz opens under center on Saturday, he will be the first underclassman (Fr. or So.) to start a season opener since Dylan Meier in 2004 and the first overall since Collin Klein started the Texas and Colorado games in 2010.
• Two players new to the program, true freshman Alex Delton and community-college transfer Jonathan Banks – who arrived in June – are also in the mix for the starting spot.
• If Delton were to see time this season, he would be the second true freshman to play the position under Bill Snyder, while he is trying to become the first true freshman under Snyder to earn a start at quarterback.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
OUT OF THE GATE
• K-State was able to get off to a quick start to games last season as it gave up just three touchdowns on its opponents first drive, while the Wildcats scored six touchdowns and two field goals on their first outing of the game.
• In fact, of the 13 game-opening drives, four resulted in three-and-outs for the opposition.
• The Wildcats were equally as impressive to open the second half by allowing just three touchdowns in to open the third quarter, two of which came on the road against top-15 teams Oklahoma and TCU.

TOUGH AGAINST THE RUN
• Dating back to 2011, K-State has yielded 133.0 rushing yards per game (over 52 games), which includes an average of 140.3 yards in 2014.
• The Wildcats ranked 33rd nationally in rushing defense last year, while they allowed only 17 rushing scores to tie for 31st nationally.
• Since 2011, K-State has held 20 of its 52 opponents to under 100 yards, including four foes in 2014 – Stephen F. Austin (69 yards), UTEP (59), Texas (90) and KU (58).

SOLID D RETURNING FROM 2014
• Against high-powered offenses in the Big 12, the K-State defense proved to be one of the best in the league a year ago and look poised for another solid year with six starters – including three in the secondary – returning.
• The Wildcats ranked second in scoring defense (23.2 pts/gm) and third in total defense (369.3 yds/gm) overall, but was even better in conference play by ranking first (21.9 pts/gm) and second (380.1 yds/gm), respectively.
• K-State held No. 5 Auburn to 359 total yards, which included just 128 rushing yards and a 2.8-yard per carry average as the Tigers had averaged more than 300 yards on the ground per game entering the contest.
• The Cats held Texas to just 196 total yards, marking the fewest yards surrendered in a conference game since the 2003 Iowa State matchup (140 yards).
• After surrendering 128 yards to Oklahoma State on the first two drives of the game, K-State held the Cowboys to just 133 total yards the rest of the game (2.4 per play) including a total of 48 in the second half (2.0 per play).
• K-State also surrendered just 14 combined points vs. Texas and Oklahoma State (only one offensive score), marking the fewest points yielded by the Wildcats in Big 12 play in a two-game stretch since shutting out Iowa State and giving up nine to Nebraska in 2003.

EXPERIENCE IN THE BACKFIELD
• The defensive backfield, led by safety Dante Barnett and cornerbacks Morgan Burns and Danzel McDaniel, is the most experienced unit on the team entering 2015.
• Each player made at least 12 starts in 2014 – including 13-game starters in Barnett and McDaniel – and combined for seven picks and 25 total passes defended.
• This year marks the first time since 1999 that three defensive backs return after making at least 12 starts the year prior.
• The 1999 group of Lamar Chapman (13 starts), Jarrod Cooper (13) and Dyshod Carter (12) led a defense that tied the school record for interceptions (21) and set the school record for interception-return touchdowns (5), a mark that was later tied by the 2002 squad.
PICK ME
• Over the last 34 contests K-State has recorded multiple interceptions in a game, the Wildcats hold a 29-5 record.
• The Wildcats are a perfect 9-0 over the last two seasons when recording two or more picks, including a 5-0 mark in 2014 (TTU, OU, OSU, WVU, KU).
• Kansas State has notched at least one interception in 15 of the last 20 games.
• The Wildcats’ top interception man entering 2015 is Dante Barnett with seven in his career as he needs three more to enter the school’s career top-10 list. Morgan Burns recorded three, including two against Texas Tech, in his first year as a starting cornerback.

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.
• Ryan Mueller led the team with 11.5 tackles for loss, while 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.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS
• The Wildcats are the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 15 seasons as they have 96 since 1999.
• Since 1990, K-State is 52-16 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. He then added a second punt-return touchdown at West Virginia.
• 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.

KICK RETURN STREAK
• Kansas State has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in each of the last 10 seasons, which is the longest streak in the nation.
• Auburn is second on the list by doing so six-straight seasons, while Northern Illinois and Florida are tied for third with five apiece.
• Morgan 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 12 kickoffs for touchdowns as opposed to only four in his first tenure, which lasted 17 years.

(For complete notes, click on the link at the top of the page)