K-State Wraps Up Non-Conference Slate with North Texas

Sophomore Tyler Lockett

K-State Notes vs. North Texas

Coming off an impressive 52-13 win over Miami on Saturday, 14th-ranked K-State will look to move to 3-0 for the third straight season and 16th time under head coach Bill Snyder as the Wildcats host North Texas Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Kickoff for the sold-out contest is slated for 6 p.m., as FSN will televise the matchup to a full national audience. Mike Morgan (play-by-play), J.C. Pearson (analyst) and Laura McKeeman (sideline) will have the call for FSN.

A free live audio broadcast is also available on www.k-statesports.com and on SIRIUS satellite radio channel 128. Wyatt Thompson will call the action with Stan Weber providing color analysis and Matt Walters giving sideline updates. Additionally, a live pregame show - K-State Gameday - will begin at 5:10 p.m., on K-StateHD.TV. The show is hosted by Brian Smoller and former Wildcat great and 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Mark Simoneau. Live stats are also available through Gametracker, while Twitter updates @kstatesports and @kstate_gameday, in-game highlights on facebook.com/kstatesports and a live in-game blog will all be a part of k-statesports.com’s gameday coverage.

Last week, the Wildcats fired on all cylinders in a 52-13 win against Miami as a balanced offense totaled 498 yards, the defense pushed its streak of not surrendering a touchdown to seven quarters before a late fourth-quarter score, and the special teams unit collectively turned in one of its better outings in the Bill Snyder era at K-State. Offensively, quarterback Collin Klein continues to show that he is one of the best football players in the nation, finishing the Miami game with 210 yards passing on 9-of-11 aim while totaling four touchdowns - three on the ground and one through the air - as he garnered Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. Running back John Hubert has rushed for over 100 yards in both games this season and ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing. The Wildcat defense held Miami to just 40 yards rushing, collected 10 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks while forcing three turnovers. K-State continues to rank among the best teams in the country in terms of turnover margin as the Wildcats are a Big 12-best plus-four in turnovers with five gained and one surrendered so far in 2012.

North Texas heads into Saturday’s matchup with a 1-1 record following last week’s 34-7 win over Texas Southern. The Mean Green opened the season with a 41-14 setback at No. 3 LSU. North Texas, led by former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney, is averaging 214 yards per game on the ground and 144 through the air following its first two contests. Brandin Byrd is the squad’s leading rusher with 176 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Derek Thompson has thrown for 288 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-45 aim. His favorite target has been Brelan Chancellor who has averaged 28.5 yards per catch and scored two touchdowns. On defense, North Texas has five players with 10 or more tackles as Lairamie Lee leads the way with 16 stops and one interception. Aaron Bellazin leads the defense in tackles for loss with 3.0, while North Texas has collected four interceptions as a team through its first two games - two coming from Zac Whitfield.

K-State has been one of the most dominant teams nationally in terms of non-conference success, especially under head coach Bill Snyder. Since 1990, K-State has won 64 of its 71 (.900) regular season non-conference games under Snyder, while the Wildcats have had perfect regular season non-conference ledgers 13 times in the last 19 years overall. K-State was perfect in the non-conference last season, defeating Eastern Kentucky and Kent State in Manhattan before wrapping up non-conference play with a 28-24 win at Miami. The Cats have been perfect in regular-season non-conference play in each of the last two seasons, the first time they have accomplished the feat since 2001 and 2002. The 2002 season was the final year of a 10-year stretch in which K-State went undefeated in non-conference play during the regular season.

Fast home starts have propelled the Wildcats to winning seasons under Bill Snyder. Since 1992 under Snyder, K-State is a combined 53-5 (.914) in games played during the month of September. Of the five losses, three came on the road, as the Cats are 43-2 in September home games during that stretch. Last season, the Wildcats were 3-0 in September, including two wins at home and a 28-24 road victory at Miami, while K-State is 2-0 heading into Saturday’s game with North Texas.

Few teams in college football have taken care of their home field as well as the Wildcats since the start of the 1990 season. Over the past 20 years, K-State is an amazing 119-27-1 (.811) when playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, including a 58-24-1 (.705) mark in league games (combined Big 8/12), while the Wildcats are 61-3 (.953) in non-league home games since 1990.

Head coach Bill Snyder picked up the 150th victory of his career in last year’s season opener, joining Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Mack Brown (Texas) and Gary Pinkel (Missouri) as active coaches with 150 wins at BCS schools. He picked up win No. 160 in the Cats’ 51-9 season-opening win over Missouri State. After guiding K-State from 1989 to 2005, and again over the last three-plus seasons, Snyder is also one of the longest-tenured active coaches in the FBS. The Wildcat head coach ranks fourth among active coaches behind Nevada’s Chris Ault (28th), Beamer (26th) and Troy’s Larry Blakeney (22nd). Even more impressive is that Snyder is the lone BCS coach who has served at the same school for at least 20 years and has never held the same position at another school. Snyder has tallied the fourth-most victories among active coaches since 1990 with 160 despite a three-year hiatus from 2006-2008.

Kansas State has had success coming off bowl seasons, most notably under head coach Bill Snyder. The Wildcats had played in 14 bowl games in program history prior to last year, and Kansas State has followed a bowl season with another postseason berth on 11 occasions, each coming under Snyder. The only three times K-State had a losing season following a bowl trip occurred in 1983 (3-8) after the 1982 Independence Bowl, in 2004 after the Fiesta Bowl (4-7) and in 2007 (5-7) after the 2006 Texas Bowl. K-State will be looking to make its third-straight bowl appearance since the end of an 11-year bowl stretch in 2003.

Kansas State’s defense has done a masterful job of keeping its opponent out of the endzone through the first two weeks of the season. The Wildcats had a string of seven straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown until Miami scored late in last week’s 52-13 win. In fact, Miami’s touchdown came with 3:51 left in the game on a 17-yard drive and was setup by a 77-yard kickoff return. The last time that a Wildcat defense opened a season with at least seven straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown was back in 2002. The 2002 squad opened the year with eight straight quarters of no touchdowns.

Following a slow start offensively in the season opener against Missouri State, K-State has picked up the pace considerable over the last five quarters of play. Since the fourth quarter of the season opener, K-State has scored 87 points in the last five quarters and has outscored its opponent, 87-13, over that period. The 103 points scored in the first two games are the most since the Wildcats scored 114 in the first two games of the 2008 season and marks just the second time under head coach Bill Snyder that K-State has eclipsed 50 points in the first two games of a season - the 1998 team scored 66 and 73 points.

Kansas State was on the positive side of the ledger in terms of time of possession in 2011, leading the Big 12 and finishing fourth nationally in that department. The Wildcats held the ball for an average of 33:55 per game. K-State is 10-3 dating back to last season when controlling the clock and possessing the ball more than its opponent, including doing so in both games so far this season. K-State currently leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally (34:31).

Not only has Kansas State been able to possess the ball and sustain long drives over the course of the last two seasons, but the offense has managed to make the most of those opportunities once it has reached the red zone. Of K-State’s last 74 trips inside its opponent’s 20-yard line, the Wildcats have scored on 66 of those trips, with 50 of those being touchdowns. Over the course of the last 12 regular season games, the Wildcats are 58-of-64 in the red zone with 48 touchdowns. Additionally, the Cats are 24-for-25 in red zone chances with 19 touchdowns in their last five wins dating back to last season.

K-State’s offense and defense has especially good on third down as opponents converted just 40 percent of their third downs all of last year, while the offense converted 42 percent. In 2012, K-State has held its opponent to just 31-percent (9-of-29) while converting 54.2-percent (13-of-24) on offense.

K-State opened the season with 324 yards rushing in its 51-9 win over Missouri State which included 152 by junior running back John Hubert. The 324 rushing yards were the most by a Wildcat team since gaining 373 against North Texas in 2010 and marked the third time since Bill Snyder’s return in 2009 that K-State has eclipsed 300 yards on the ground in a game. Through two games, K-State ranks sixth nationally in rushing, averaging 306 yards per game. In fact, over the last five quarters of play, the Wildcats have rushed for 465 yards and nine touchdowns while outscoring their opponents, 87-13.

K-State’s biggest improvement on defense over the course of the last two seasons has come against the run. Dating back to last season, K-State has yielded just 122.8 yards per game on the ground, which includes giving up 95 to Missouri State in the 2012 opener and just 40 to Miami last week.

When the Wildcat defense picks off two or more passes, K-State usually comes out with a victory. Over the last 15 contests that the Wildcats have recorded two or more interceptions, Kansas State is 12-3, including victories in 11 of its last 13 games and four in 2011. In last year’s season opener against Eastern Kentucky, Nigel Malone picked off a pair of passes to give K-State two interceptions in each of its last three season openers. The Wildcats were second in the Big 12 and tied for 12th nationally last season in interceptions with 18 - the most since the 2003 squad had 20. Individually, Malone led the Big 12 and tied for fourth nationally with seven interceptions and also opened 2012 with a pick against Missouri State.

Kansas State extended one of the nation’s longest scoring streaks against Miami as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 192 consecutive games. The 192-game stretch is the 10th-longest in the nation and the longest in the Big 12. The Wildcats have not been kept off the scoreboard since Colorado shut out K-State, 12-0, on Nov. 16, 1996. The streak includes 124 conference games, 69 true road games and 17 neutral-site contests.

Scoring first has been a big sign of good things to come for the Wildcats. Since 1990, K-State’s record when scoring first is very impressive as the Wildcats have gone 135-26 (84-percent) when drawing first blood. Dating back to last season, K-State is a perfect 8-0 when scoring the game’s first points.

There is no better indicator of a Wildcat victory than when K-State leads or is tied at the half. Since 1990, the Cats have protected a halftime lead 97-percent of the time, going 151-5 when leading at the half. Last season, Kansas State went 6-0 when leading at the half and is 2-0 so far this season.

A big part of K-State’s success over the past two seasons has been attributed to the discipline and fundamentals that head coach Bill Snyder and his coaching staff have instilled in the program. During the Cats’ 10-3 season, K-State managed to limit penalties (led the Big 12), possess the ball (ranked fourth nationally), limit turnovers (led the Big 12 in turnovers lost with 15), create turnovers (ranked second in the Big 12 in turnover margin) and make the most of their possessions (30 scoring drives of 60-plus yards and led the nation during the regular season converting touchdowns on first and goal-to-go). In 2012, K-State currently leads the Big 12 in fewest penalties (13.5 ypg), time of possession (34:31) and turnover margin (+4).

The rise of K-State football over the last two decades has much to do with the emphasis on special teams. Since 1990, Kansas State is 46-15 when scoring on special teams and 17-1 when scoring on special teams and on defense, including a 15-0 mark under Bill Snyder. And, in non-offensive touchdowns, the Cats have ranked among the nation’s best over the past 14 seasons. Since 1999, the Wildcats rank second nationally in non-offensive touchdowns with 82, which ties Virginia Tech for the most in the nation. K-State had five non-offensive touchdowns last season and has one already in 2012. Tyler Lockett led the way with a pair of kickoff-return scores, while David Garrett (Kent State), Nigel Malone (Texas Tech) and Allen Chapman (Oklahoma State) each returned interceptions for touchdowns. In the 2012 season opener, Tramaine Thompson took a punt and raced 89 yards to the house for a fourth-quarter score.

K-State broke open a 16-9 contest with Missouri State by erupting for a school-record 35 fourth-quarter points en route to a big win. While the fourth-quarter point total may have been something new for the Cats, the ability to finish strong is something Bill Snyder teams have done consistently. In K-State’s last 15 games, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 145-89, in the final 15 minutes and also 154-113 closing out the first half of games. In K-State’s last 12 wins, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents, 131-54, in the fourth quarter.

Much has been made about the Wildcats’ success last year in the clutch as eight of K-State’s 10 wins were decided by seven points or less. It was the most of any school in the country, while the Wildcats eight victories by one score or less were the most ever among BCS AQ schools, topping Washington (2000), Penn State (1985) and Purdue (1979) that had years with seven wins by seven points or less. Although many don’t expect K-State to duplicate the crunch-time success of last year, the 2011 late-game heroics weren’t anything new as the Cats are 13-4 in games decided by seven points or less since Bill Snyder’s return in 2009. K-State was 3-1 in 2009 and 2-2 in 2010 before going 8-1 in said games last year.

Following the 2012 spring game, head coach Bill Snyder named four captains for the 2012 season as Arthur Brown, B.J. Finney, Collin Klein and Ty Zimmerman earned the nod. Additionally, reserve linebacker Jared Loomis was elected the special teams’ captain prior to the season. Klein is a three-time team captain, the first offensive player to be selected three times in the 117-year history of K-State football. Brown is a second-year captain after transferring from Miami prior to the 2010 season. Finney, the youngest offensive player and first non-senior offensive lineman captain since 2002, along with Zimmerman are first-time captains.

Collin Klein used his legs to lead K-State down the field last year, but he was also able to push the Wildcats into the end zone on a consistent basis, and that trend has continued in 2012. During his breakout season of 2011, Klein finished fifth in touchdown responsibility, while he jumped into the top 10 nationally this week after accounting for four scores last week against Miami. In terms of only rushing touchdowns, Klein is one of the best among active quarterbacks as he is second in career multi-touchdown games with 10, just two behind Michigan’s Denard Robinson, while he ranks first since last season with 30.

Although much was made about his 27 rushing touchdowns last year to tie a FBS quarterback record, the tough and determined Collin Klein topped the school record chart in another rushing category - attempts. Klein finished third nationally in rushing attempts, while he was the top quarterback and finished with an astonishing 75 more attempts than the player in second. Additionally, his 317 rushing attempts last season were the most by a quarterback since at least 1999, while he was just the second signal caller since 1999 to top 300 carries (Ricky Dobbs, Navy, 315, 2009). In his career, Klein has rushed at least 20 times on 13 occasions, including a career-high 35 carries in a four-overtime victory over Texas A&M in 2011.

With his stellar 2011 campaign, Collin Klein can lay claim to a feat that had only been accomplished by former Heisman Trophy winners. The Wildcat signal caller is one of just four players from all BCS AQ schools in the BCS era to record 20 rushing touchdowns and 10 passing scores the same season. The other three were Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Eric Crouch (Nebraska, 2000).

Collin Klein’s rushing abilities speak for themselves, but the Loveland, Colo., product rapidly progressed in the passing game over the final few games of 2011, and he has extended that progression into 2012. In the first eight games of 2011, Klein averaged 124 passing yards per game, but he’s upped his production to 186.4 yards in his last seven contests.

Thanks to a career-best 254.0 passing efficiency rating last week against Miami, Collin Klein is third in the Big 12 and 10th nationally in that department at 173.68. Additionally, his career pass efficiency mark of 132.7 is currently tied for fifth in school history as he trails only Matt Miller, Michael Bishop, Brian Kavanagh and Carson Coffman. Klein’s passer rating against the Hurricanes was given a huge boost due to the fact he averaged 23.3 yards per completion, threw just two incompletions and tossed one touchdown pass. His average per completion ranked as the fifth highest under head coach Bill Snyder by a quarterback that completed at least nine passes for at least 200 yards. Coupled with his three rushing scores against Miami, Klein picked up Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Backup quarterback Daniel Sams has had quite the start to his collegiate career in 2012. Over the first two contests, the Slidell, La., product has rushed for 108 yards and three scores on just six carries, including a two-touchdown performance last week against Miami. Teamed with Collin Klein’s three touchdowns against the Hurricanes, it marked the first time under head coach Bill Snyder that two quarterbacks rushed for at least two touchdowns in the same game.

If the first two games of the season are any indication, junior running back John Hubert is going to make sure he won’t narrowly miss on a 1,000-yard season after falling 30 yards short last year. In his first two games, Hubert has topped the 100-yard mark twice, including a 152-yard performance in the season opener. The Waco, Texas, product ranks second in the Big 12 and 13th nationally at 129 yards per game, while he already has two touchdowns after three all of last  year. One of his touchdowns was a 95-yard scamper against Missouri State, which was the second-longest in school history, the longest in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history and the longest in the Big 12 this season.

After leading the Wildcats with 101 tackles last season, senior linebacker Arthur Brown has not let up in his second season in Manhattan as he is second on the squad with 15 stops, while he leads the Wildcats and ranks second in the Big 12 with three tackles for loss. The 2011 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-Big 12 performer, Brown had a great game against his former team, Miami, last week. All the Wichita, Kan., product did was record 10 tackles - his third career double-digit tackle game - including two for a loss, one sack and a fumble recovery that led to a K-State touchdown.

A Second Team Walter Camp All-American and First Team All-Big 12 performer last year, Nigel Malone has picked up where he left off in 2011. The senior cornerback, who led the Big 12 last year with seven interceptions, picked off his eighth career pass vs. Missouri St. in the 2012 opener. The Manteca, Calif., product, who also deflected away another pass, is now two away from entering the school’s career top 10 chart.

A former community-college walk on, Jarard Milo has earned starts in each of the first two games this season, and he has been one of K-State’s most consistent defenders. The Olathe, Kan., product leads the Wildcats with 16 tackles, including a 10-tackle effort in the season opener against Missouri State. With his quick start to the season, Milo ranks seventh in the Big 12 and first among defensive backs in total tackles.

Following a solid 2011 season, Anthony Cantele has begun his senior season on the right foot as he has been true on all 13 of his extra-point tries and four of his five field-goal attempts. Following the first two games, the Wichita, Kan., product has moved into eighth (67) and ninth (22) on the school’s career list. Aside from his place-kicking abilities, Cantele, along with the kick coverage team, has been dominant as he has booted nine of his 19 kickoffs for touchbacks (47.4 percent), while K-State’s opponents have an average drive start of their own 24-yard line following kickoffs.