K-State Travels to Iowa State for Big 12 Road Test

Senior defensive back Nigel Malone

Oct. 8, 2012

K-State Notes at Iowa State Get Acrobat Reader

Following a 56-16 victory over in-state rival KU, Kansas State begins a two-game Big 12 road swing with a trip to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday. The matchup between the 5-0 Wildcats and the 4-1 Cyclones will kick off at 11:05 a.m., as FX (Justin Kutcher/play-by-play; Eric Crouch/analyst; Darius Walker/sideline) will be on hand to televise the Big 12 battle to a national audience. Wyatt Thompson will call the action for the K-State Sports Network with Stan Weber providing color analysis and Matt Walters giving sideline updates.

Last time out, K-State used a powerful rushing attack and an opportunistic defense to roll past the Jayhawks last weekend. Quarterback Collin Klein combined for 245 total yards and four touchdowns, while running back John Hubert ran for 101 yards and four scores on just 10 carries. The K-State defense forced five KU turnovers and now sit atop the Big 12 rankings and third nationally in turnover margin (+10). The Wildcats, who are 5-0 and ranked as high as No. 5 in this week's national polls, are averaging 264 yards per game on the ground and 177 through the air while also holding steady as the nation's least-penalized unit at 14.2 yards per game. Klein continues to lead the team to victory as he is 16-4 in his career as the starting quarterback, including a 10-3 mark in Big 12 play. The senior, who has a nation-leading 13 games with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown over the last two seasons, has accounted for 60.6-percent of K-State's total offensive yards and half of the Wildcats' offensive touchdowns this year. Helping Klein lead the charge offensively is Hubert, who has rushed for 100 or more yards four times this season, including the last two. Hubert, who is second in the Big 12 and 16th nationally with 107.75 yards per game, teamed with Klein last week to give K-State its first double-100-yard rushers in a game since the Texas matchup in 2010. The Wildcat defense has been salty against the run, yielding just 109 yards per game on the ground, while senior linebacker Arthur Brown continues to put up All-America numbers. Through five games, Brown ranks among the Big 12 leaders with 41 tackles, while the defense has forced 13 turnovers in five games to give the squad a Big 12-best plus-10 turnover margin.

K-State will face an Iowa State team on Saturday that is coming off a big 37-23 win at No. 15 TCU last weekend. The Cyclones got clutch performances from quarterback Jared Barnett and wide receiver Josh Lenz, who accounted for four total touchdowns, while a pick-six from David Irving late in the game secured the win for the 4-1 Cyclones. Iowa State currently has the 28th-best defense in the nation based on total defense, while it is ranked 14th in pass efficiency defense and 18th in scoring defense. Linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein are the defensive leaders as the duo has combined for 83 tackles and three interceptions. On offense, both Barnett and Steele Jantz have started games this season with Barnett leading the offense to last week's road win, while Lenz has grabbed 18 receptions for 279 yards and four touchdowns, three of which came last weekend at TCU.

K-State will look for its third straight road Big 12 win against a ranked opponent this weekend when the Cats face No. 25 Iowa State. The Wildcats won at No. 23 last season on November 19 before defeating No. 5 Oklahoma in Norman earlier this year. The last time K-State has won three straight Big 12 road games altogether was back in 2002, while the last time a Wildcat team has won three straight road conference games versus ranked opponents was over a stretch of the 1998 and 1999 seasons against the likes of No. 14 Colorado, No. 19 Missouri and No. 15 Texas. Under head coach Bill Snyder, K-State is 29-13 in conference road games when the Wildcats are ranked.

Following the Wildcats' win over KU, K-State will look to start the season 6-0 and Big 12 play 3-0 for the second straight season and for just the third time since 1999. Last year, K-State opened up 7-0 on the year and 4-0 in Big 12 play, while the 1999 squad opened up 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the league and went on to finish 11-1. Under Bill Snyder, K-State has opened 6-0 a total of five times, including last season's 7-0 start. With a win on Saturday, the Wildcats will also become bowl-eligible with their sixth win of the season.

Fast starts propelled the Wildcats to winning seasons throughout the Bill Snyder's era at K-State. The Wildcats' success in the month of September under Snyder is well-documented and K-State has also been a solid team in October under Snyder. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, K-State is 33-24 (.579) in October under the legendary head coach.

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 currently ranks fourth among all active FBS coaches with 163 wins since 1990, while he is currently ranked ninth among all active FBS coaches in overall wins.

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 after the Texas Bowl (5-7). K-State will be looking to make its third-straight bowl appearance since the end of an 11-year bowl stretch in 2003 and will become bowl eligible with its next win.

Kansas State's defense has done a masterful job of keeping its opponent out of the endzone through the first five weeks of the season. The Wildcats had a string of seven straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown until Miami scored late in K-State'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. Also, in its win over Oklahoma, K-State held the Sooners to just 19 points which were the third-fewest points scored by a Stoops-led team, while the defense held in-state rival KU out of the endzone for the final 43 minutes of last week's win. So far this season, K-State's defense has not allowed an offensive score in 12 of 20 quarters.

Following a slow start offensively in the season opener against Missouri State, K-State has picked up the pace considerable over the last 17 quarters of play. Since the fourth quarter of the season opener, K-State has scored 202 points in the last 17 quarters and has outscored its opponent, 202-69, over that period. K-State scored 138 points in the first three games, which were the most since 143 in the first three games of the 2008 season. Also, the 51 points against Missouri State and the 52 points against Miami marked just the second time under head coach Bill Snyder that K-State had eclipsed 50 points in the first two games of a season - the 1998 team scored 66 and 73 points. The Cats have also shown the ability to close strong as they currently have outscored their opponent, 91-21, in the fourth quarter through five games, and have yielded no more than one touchdown in the final 15 minutes of each game this season.

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 11-3 dating back to last season when controlling the clock and possessing the ball more than its opponent, including doing so in three of five games so far this season. Ironically, North Texas held the ball for 37:04 in a 35-21 K-State win, marking the first time since 2002 that the Wildcats won a game when their opponent possessed the ball more than 37 minutes. Eastern Illinois had 37:45 of possession back in 2002 in a game that K-State won, 63-13. The Cats got the time of possession back in their favor in the 24-19 win at Oklahoma by controlling the ball for 34:47.

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 18 games, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 180-103, in the final 15 minutes and also 185-123 closing out the first half of games. In K-State's last 15 wins, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents, 166-68, in the fourth quarter.

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 87 trips inside its opponent's 20-yard line, the Wildcats have scored on 78 of those trips, with 61 of those being touchdowns. Over the course of the last 15 regular season games, the Wildcats are 70-of-76 in the red zone with 55 touchdowns. Additionally, the Cats are 34-for-38 in red zone chances with 28 touchdowns in their last eight wins dating back to last season.

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 eclipsed 300 yards on the ground in a game. Through five games, K-State ranks ninth nationally in rushing, averaging 264 yards per game. In fact, over the last 17 quarters of play, the Wildcats have rushed for 1,167 yards and 19 touchdowns while outscoring their opponents, 202-69.

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 125.0 yards per game on the ground, which includes giving up 95 to Missouri State in the 2012 opener, 40 to Miami, 145 to North Texas and 87 to Oklahoma. The Cats are currently ranked 20th nationally in rushing defense at 108.4 yards per game.

K-State has made tremendous strides at the line of scrimmage in the first five weeks of the season. After not collecting a sack and just two tackles for loss in the 2012 season opener, the Wildcats have turned things around and head into this weekend's game ranked first in the league in sacks with 14. Against Miami, K-State had 5.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss and then followed that up with 3.0 more sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss against North Texas. The last time a K-State team had back-to-back games with 10.0 or more tackles for loss was back in 2006 against Illinois State (10.0) and Florida Atlantic (12.0). Against Oklahoma, K-State recorded 2.0 sacks and 5.0 tackles for loss, before adding 10.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks in the win over Kansas.

Kansas State extended one of the nation's longest scoring streaks against Kansas as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 195 consecutive games. The 195-game stretch is the eighth-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 126 conference games, 70 true road games and 17 neutral-site contests.

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 47-15 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 lead the nation in non-offensive touchdowns at 84. K-State had five non-offensive touchdowns last season and has three already in 2012. Tyler Lockett led the way with a pair of kickoff-return scores last season, 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 before Tyler Lockett's 96-yard kickoff return against North Texas. Against OU, Jarell Childs scooped up a fumble following a Justin Tuggle sack and fell into the endzone for the Wildcats' first defensive score 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 and nation in fewest penalties (14.2 ypg) and ranks among the league's best in time of possession (29:58) and turnover margin (+10).

Although football is the ultimate team sport, there is a lot to be said about the leadership of a starting quarterback coinciding with team victories. Some of the great K-State teams of the past have had great leadership at signal caller, and this year's squad is no different. Collin Klein has the fifth-most wins as a starting quarterback under head coach Bill Snyder despite just 20 starts under center, while he is third in winning percentage among the top five wins leaders. Even more impressive is the list of quarterbacks he joins in 1998 Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Bishop and multi- all-conference honorees Ell Roberson, Jonathan Beasley and Chad May. In addition to their honors, each quarterback also holds at least one school career record in passing or rushing.

Collin Klein used his legs on a consistent basis to score touchdowns last season and that trend has continued in 2012. During his breakout season of 2011, Klein finished fifth in touchdown responsibility. 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 11, just one behind Michigan's Denard Robinson, while he is tops among quarterbacks and second nationally among all active players in rushing touchdowns.

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). Additionally, Klein has a nation-leading 13 games since 2011 with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown in a game.

Thanks to Collin Klein's career-best 254.0 passing efficiency rating against Miami and his 67-percent completion rating this season, teams must be on the lookout for the K-State passing game as well. Klein currently ranks ninth nationally and sixth in the pass-first Big 12 Conference with a 166.6 rating, while his career mark of 136.7 ranks third in school history.

Kansas State has shown a penchant for opening up the passing game more in 2012 compared to last year and that has resulted in more big plays for the Wildcats. Klein has already tossed 18 passes for 20 or more yards in just five games (3.6 per game) after just 26 over the 13-game schedule last season (2.0 per game).  In addition, the Wildcats did not complete a pass play for 35 yards or greater until week six last year, while they already have five this year, including a season-long 58-yarder against Miami in week two.

After missing out on a 1,000-yard season by 30 yards last season, John Hubert has taken it upon himself to make sure he doesn't miss out in 2012. The junior running back has totaled 527 yards in five games this year, an average of 105.4 per game to rank which is second in the Big 12. The Waco, Texas, product already has four 100-yard games - which leads the Big 12 - while his 101 yards last week against Kansas gave him seven in his career to tie for eighth in K-State history. His top rushing game this season was a 152-yard performance in the season opener against Missouri State. That contest featured a 95-yard scamper, 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.

Running back John Hubert, who had just three touchdowns as the Wildcats' starting running back a year ago, has been on a feverish pitch this season as he has eight in five games to rank second in the Big 12 and tied for 11th nationally. His total was given a boost last week against Kansas when he tallied four rushing touchdowns, which was tied for the third most in school history and the third most nationally this season.

Tyler Lockett may have taken teams by surprise last season with his kickoff-return abilities, but the speedy sophomore continues to excel as he ranks third nationally with a 35.0 average this year. Even more impressive is that he currently holds the Big 12 career average return record at 35.1 yards. If he keeps on his current pace, he will end the season holding the conference record, a mark currently held by former Wildcat Brandon Banks (28.5 yards). Lockett's average was given a huge boost against North Texas when he returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, his third career return for a score. He is now in sole possession of second place in K-State history in return touchdowns, while he also ranks third nationally among active players.

K-State's leader in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns this season, Tramaine Thompson has become a reliable option for quarterback Collin Klein, especially in the clutch. Of Thompson's 16 receptions this season, eight have been third-down conversions that have generally gone for big plays as he has tallied 138 of his 260 receiving yards and two of his three touchdowns on third down.

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 tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 41 tackles, including a career-best 13 against North Texas. Nicknamed "The Judge" by his teammates, Brown is a candidate for the 2012 Bednarik, Butkus, Walter Camp, Lombardi and Nagurski awards.

Adam Davis has shown a tendency for putting pressure on the quarterback this season, which is evidenced by the fact he is tied for fifth in the Big 12 with three sacks and tied for fourth with six tackles for loss. Each his three sacks have led to fumbles as he leads the conference and is tied for sixth nationally in forced fumbles. His three forced fumbles are already the most by a Wildcat since 2009 (Jeffrey Fitzgerald), while he is halfway to Darren Howard's school record for six in 1999. Davis has been a major contributor in K-State's six sack-fumbles this season.

Following a seven-interception season in 2011, senior defensive back Nigel Malone is at it again. Although he hasn't had many opportunities this year, the former community college transfer has still come away with two interceptions, including one he returned for a career long 55 yards last week against Kansas. Malone, who has nine career interceptions, needs just one more to enter the school's career top 10. Also, Malone is tied for 14th national among active players in career picks but tops among players that are in their second year.