K-State Returns Home, Hosts Texas Tech

GAME PREVIEW
OCT 8, 6 PM

Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Manhattan, KS

NR/RV
TEXAS TECH
RED RAIDERS
3-1 (1-0 Big 12)

NR/NR
K-STATE
WILDCATS
2-2 (0-1 Big 12)

Following a heartbreaking 17-16 loss at West Virginia last weekend to open Big 12 play, K-State returns home to Bill Snyder Family Stadium as the Wildcats host the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a primetime nationally-televised league matchup. Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 6 p.m., will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Clay Matvik and Dusty Dvoracek 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 Sirius channel 136, XM channel 199. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, while Twitter updates via @ kstate_gameday and @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 bounce back from a tough 17-16 loss at West Virginia.
• K-State continues to play tough defense as it currently leads the Big 12 and ranks fourth nationally in total defense and has held its opponents to an average of 12.5 points and 239.8 yards per game. This week, the Cats rank tops in the league in rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense and will face the league’s most potent offense on Saturday.
• Seven players on defense have recorded 10 or more tackles, led by Elijah Lee’s 33 stops, while Jordan Willis currently is tied for the league lead in sacks with 4.0.
• K-State has held each of its first four opponents to an average of 85.2 yards a game on the ground.
• K-State held high-powered West Virginia scoreless in the first half of last week’s contest, marking the first time since the 2014 Iowa State game that the Wildcats pitched a shutout in a half in a Big 12 road game.
• K-State is a perfect 20-of-20 in red zone scores so far this season, and, dating back to last year, the Wildcats have been perfect on its last 45 red-zone attempts, 32 of which resulted in touchdowns.

A LOOK AT TEXAS TECH
• Texas Tech currently boasts the top offense in the Big 12, leading the league in pass offense, total offense and scoring offense.
• Patrick Mahomes II has thrown for a Big 12-best 442.5 yards per game has totaled 483.8 yards per game.
• Wide Receiver Jonathan Giles has caught a Big 12-best 31 passes for 565 yards and seven touchdowns.
• The Red Raiders have scored 55 or more points in each of their first four games while giving up 37.2 per game.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• This weekend’s game against the Red Raiders is the 17th all-time meeting, including the 14th in Big 12 play, as Texas Tech holds a 7-9 advantage.
• The Wildcats have won four of the last five meetings but are looking to bounce back from a 59-44 loss in Lubbock last year.
• K-State holds a 4-2 advantage in games played in Manhattan and have won two-straight in Bill Snyder Family Stadium by an average of 50.0-18.5.

CONFERENCE HOME OPENER
• K-State is 12-8 all-time in Big 12 home openers, including an 11-6 mark under head coach Bill Snyder.
• Since Snyder’s return to the sidelines in 2009, K-State is 4-3 in Big 12 home openers after dropping last year’s conference opener to No. 2 TCU, 52-45.
• The Wildcats also opened up its 2014 home Big 12 schedule against Texas Tech with a 45-13 victory.

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 176 victories, which is ranks 19th in the nation.
• The Cats are only three wins away from 16th and six victories away from the top 15.
• Among current Big 12 teams, only Oklahoma (6th; 198), Texas (11th; 193) and TCU (15th; 182) rank higher.

GAME NO. 300
• Saturday’s contest against Texas Tech represents the 300th K-State game under the direction of head coach Bill Snyder.
• Snyder will become 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 195 career victories, 156 more than any other coach in school history.
• Snyder ranks first in the FBS in wins among active coaches at their current schools, second in total victories among active coaches overall and 28th in all-time wins.
• He is five wins away from becoming the 25th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins.
• Snyder, who has 112 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories (Tom Osborne [153], Bob Stoops [113], Barry Switzer [100]).

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 11 underclassmen starters in the first four games of 2016, the Wildcats have been flagged more than usual as they are committing 7.0 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.

RECORD ATTENDANCE
• Attendance at K-State games have been at an all-time high over the last four-plus years as K-State has recorded 29 consecutive sellouts, a number that is expected to reach 33 after the 2016 season.
• For a third-straight year, K-State finished second nationally by filling up its stadium at a 106.20-percent clip, a number that was just 0.52-percent behind Oregon (106.72).
• 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-two of the largest 25 crowds in stadium history have come in the last three-plus years, including six of the seven home games in 2015.

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 three games (20-for-20).
• The Wildcats, one of two Big 12 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 11 games dating back to 2015, K-State is perfect on 45 red zone attempts with 32 touchdowns.
• In their 46 wins over the last six seasons, the Cats are 212-for-232 (.914) in red zone chances with 156 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 42-3 in the opening 15 minutes.
• That mark improves to 93-17 through the first two quarters and 106-20 after three, but opponents have gotten the best of K-State in the final quarter to the tune of 30-21.

BY LAND
• Kansas State has recorded 11 rushing touchdowns in the last three games – seven against FAU, three against Missouri State and one against West Virginia.
• The last time the Wildcats had 10 rushing scores over a two-game stretch was against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M back in 2011.

ERTZ GAINING EXPERIENCE
• A year after sustaining an injury on the first offensive play of 2015 and missing the rest of the year, quarterback Jesse Ertz has started all four games in 2016.
• In the season opener, Ertz threw for only 58 yards in the first half but was better in the second 30 minutes, accumulating 149 yards and a touchdown.
• The running game was the theme in the home opener against FAU as he rushed nine times for 40 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown rush, the first of his career.
• Although it was only a half, the Missouri State game may have been his most complete game, going 7-of-8 through the air for 94 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 268.7 pass efficiency rate to rank fifth in school history.
• He also set career highs in rushing yards (85) and long rush (40) against the Bears.

DIMEL GETS IT DONE
• Winston Dimel has 12 of K-State’s 40 (30.0-percent) rushing scores over the last two years, including six of the 11 rushing scores this year.
• All six of Dimel’s rushing touchdowns in 2016 came within a two-game stretch against FAU and Missouri State as he became the first Wildcat with six in two games since Collin Klein vs. West Virginia (4) and Texas Tech (2) in 2012.
• Dimel found paydirt four times against FAU – tying for third in school history and third nationally this year – as he enters this week’s contest ranked 19th in the NCAA and third in the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns.

HEATH MAKING HEADWAY
• Receiver Dominique Heath has had a great start to his sophomore season, but he is looking to remain consistent throughout the season.
• Heath leads the team with 149 yards this year, which includes touchdowns against both FAU and Missouri State.
• A product of Huntersville, North Carolina, Heath leads the team with four catches that have gone for third-down conversions.

DEEP, BUT INEXPERIENCED, AT RECEIVER
• K-State has had six different wide receivers tally a catch through four games, but many of those players came in with limited experience as four new receivers – sophomore Byron Pringle, redshirt freshman Isaiah Zuber and true freshmen Isaiah Harris and Corey Sutton – have received their first Division I experience this year.
• Pringle tallied his best game of the year at West Virginia, carding four catches for 61 yards.
• Against FAU, Harris had a team-high six receptions, which was tied for the fifth most by a freshman in school history and the most since Aaron Lockett had six against Nebraska in 1998.
• Zuber hauled in a 15-yard touchdown reception at Stanford, becoming the first freshman to catch a touchdown pass in a season opener since David Allen at Northern Illinois in 1997.

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.
• Jones enters this week with 1,395 career yards to rank 18th in school history as he is five yards shy of a tie for 17th and 39 yards away from 16th.
• Jones can easily reach the top 15 by replicating the second half of 2015. Over the final six regular-season games last season, Jones averaged 79.3 yards compared to a 30-yard average in the first half of the year.

DEFENSIVE NOTES
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 +5 turnover margin this season is the highest for the Wildcats since finishing the 2014 season +8 in that department.
• In 2015, K-State forced just three total turnovers in the first three games, compared to seven so far this season.
• 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 (+5).

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 20 of the last 29 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. Adams and Reed are tied for third in the Big 12 in interceptions.
• Matt Seiwert picked up the lone Wildcat interception against Missouri State and currently is the only defensive lineman in the Big 12 to record a pick this season.
• Elijah Lee’s interception at WVU was the fourth of his career, the most by a K-State linebacker since the early 2000s.

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 5.5 and ranks fifth 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.

SECOND HALF RESURGENCE
• The Wildcats have turned in some terrific performances on defense in the second half of games over the last nine regular-season contests.
• Over the final six games of 2015 (Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, KU and West Virginia) and through the first two games this season, the Cats yielded up an average of 164.1 total yards and 8.1 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 year’s win over Iowa State, K-State gave up 144 yards and zero points, which helped lead to the largest comeback victory in school history (21 points).
• K-State also allowed just 10 second-half points to Baylor last season, which was averaging 61.1 points per game entering the contest.

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 33 tackles, nearly double the among of the player in second place.
• Lee, who ranks fourth 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 stops last week at West Virginia.
• For his efforts against the Mountaineers, he was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

LEE LIKES INTERCEPTIONS
• Another area where Elijah Lee has produced is in pass defense as he tallied his fourth-career interception last week 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 the first Wildcat linebacker with four career interceptions since Bryan Hickman (2000-03), and is one of four Wildcat linebackers with at least four picks under head coach Bill Snyder.

WILLIS THE SACK ARTIST
• Preseason All-Big 12 defensive end Jordan Willis, who has had sacks in six of the last eight games entered K-State’s career top-10 list with his performance at WVU.
• Willis recorded two sacks against the Mountaineers, giving him 18.5 in his career to tie for eighth in K-State history.
• Willis, who leads all active Big 12 players in career sacks, is now looking to jump up the list as he is 2.0 sacks shy of a tie for fifth place, 3.5 away from fourth and 5.5 shy of third.

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 102 since 1999.
• Since 1990, the Wildcats are 57-17 when scoring on special teams and 19-1 when scoring on special teams and defense, including a 17-0 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.
• Morgan Burns had all five of the Wildcats’ non-offensive scores in 2015 with four kickoff-return touchdowns, while he also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a score in a win at Kansas.
• 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.

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 41 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns since 2005, 13 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 21 and 20 touchdowns, respectively, during the current stretch.

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 41 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 last week, the Wildcats are currently 37th.
• 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 28 games.

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 in the top 15 nationally.
• Heath enters play this week ranked sixth in the nation with an 18.5-yard punt return average and is second in punt-return touchdowns. Pringle is 14th with his 30.2-yard kickoff-return average, which features a 58-yard return at West Virginia.
• Both players have earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors this year – Heath after his 75-yard punt return touchdown against FAU and Pringle following a combined 78 return yards in just one half against Missouri State.
• 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 ninth in school history in career field goals made with 30, while he also connected on a school-record tying nine PATs 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 41.6-yard average to rank sixth in K-State history.
• Walsh’s career averaged was aided by a 48.7-yard mark in the 2016 season opener at Stanford, which was the second-highest best of his career.