No. 3 K-State Returns Home to Host No. 14 Texas Tech

Tyler Lockett is coming off a nine-catch, 194-yard game with two touchdowns at West Virginia

Oct. 22, 2012

K-State Notes vs. Texas Tech Get Acrobat Reader

Following an impressive 55-14 win at No. 13 West Virginia on Saturday - the Wildcats’ school-record fourth straight win on the road over a ranked opponent - third-ranked Kansas State returns home for a key Big 12 Conference matchup as 15th-ranked Texas Tech visits Bill Snyder Family Stadium for homecoming. The contest between the 7-0 Wildcats and the 6-1 Red Raiders will be featured as FOX’s College Football Game of the Week with a 2:30 p.m. (CT) kickoff. Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) and Julie Alexandria (sidelines) will have the call on FOX. Wyatt Thompson will call the action for the K-State Sports Network with Stan Weber providing color analysis and Matt Walters on the sidelines. Additionally, a live pregame show - K-State Gameday - will begin at 1:30 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.

The Wildcats, who are 7-0 and ranked third in this week’s BCS rankings, are averaging 234 yards per game on the ground on offense, have not yielded more than 21 points in a game all season on defense and are also holding steady as the nation’s least-penalized unit with 24 total on the year.

Last time out, K-State went on the road and handled West Virginia, 55-14, for its fourth straight win over a ranked opponent on the road while scoring the most points in school history on the road against a ranked team. Quarterback Collin Klein turned in a career night, throwing for 323 yards on 19-of-21 aim and accounting for seven touchdowns. In fact, Klein now leads the nation with eight three-plus rushing touchdown games for his career, and he set a new FBS record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in consecutive seasons (41). Klein continues to lead the team to victory as he is 18-4 in his career as the starting quarterback, including a 12-3 mark in Big 12 play.

Helping Klein lead the charge offensively is John Hubert, who has rushed for 100 or more yards four times this season. Hubert is second in the Big 12 with 94.0 yards per game, while Klein checked in at No. 5 in the league’s rushing charts this week with his 78.7 yards per game.

The Wildcat defense has been salty against the run, yielding just 99.3 yards per game on the ground, while senior linebacker Arthur Brown continues to put up All-America numbers. Through seven games, Brown ranks among the Big 12 leaders with 55 tackles, while the defense has forced 16 turnovers in seven games to give the squad a Big 12-best plus-12 turnover margin.

K-State will again face one of the nation’s most prolific offenses this weekend when the Wildcats host Texas Tech on Saturday. The Red Raiders, ranked 15th in this week’s AP poll, have won two straight league games over West Virginia and TCU and head into Manhattan just one game behind the Wildcats in the Big 12 standings. Quarterback Seth Doege has led the offense this season, throwing for 2,209 yards and 28 touchdowns this year, while 15 different Tech receivers have caught five or more passes this season. One of the most improved defensive units in the country, Tech currently ranks seventh nationally in total defense, 13th in pass efficiency defense and 20th against the run. Safety Cody Davis leads the team with 56 tackles and three interceptions, while Kerry Hyder has a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks.

Texas Tech leads the all-time series with K-State, 8-4, with last year’s K-State win in Lubbock snapping a five-game skid for the Cats in the series. K-State is 2-2 all-time at home against the Red Raiders, which includes a 21-14 win in 1996 in the inaugural game of the Big 12 Conference.

K-State will look to open Big 12 play 5-0 when Texas Tech visits Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday. The last time a K-State team opened 5-0 in league play was 1999 when the Cats went 6-0 to start the conference season, while K-State has opened 5-0 in league play a total of two times under head coach Bill Snyder (1998 and 1999).

Following the Wildcats’ win over West Virginia, K-State will look to start the season 8-0 for just the third time since 1998. Last year, K-State opened up 7-0 on the year and 4-0 in Big 12 play before suffering its first loss, while the 1999 squad opened up 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the league and went on to finish 11-1. The 1998 squad went 11-0 before falling to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship game. Currently at 7-0, K-State joins defending national champion Alabama as the only FBS schools to start 7-0 in each of the last two seasons.

K-State has had a terrific start to the 2012 season, currently sitting at 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play, but the meat of the conference schedule remains as all five of the Cats’ remaining opponents are either currently ranked or have been ranked at some point this season. Also, K-State’s No. 3 national ranking this week is its highest since being ranked No. 2 in 2000, while the Cats have joined only Alabama as FBS schools who started both 2011 and 2012 with 7-0 records.

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 35-24 (.593) 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 165 wins since 1990, while he is currently ranked ninth among all active FBS coaches in overall wins.

Kansas State’s defense has done a masterful job of keeping its opponent out of the endzone through the first seven 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. So far this season, K-State’s defense has not allowed an offensive score in 17 of 28 quarters, while it has held all seven opponents to 21 points or less. In fact, of this week’s top 20 scoring defenses, only K-State, Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame have held each opponent this year to three scores or less.

Following a slow start offensively in the season opener against Missouri State, K-State has picked up the pace considerable over the last 24 quarters of play. Since the fourth quarter of the season opener, K-State has scored 284 points and has outscored its opponents, 284-104, 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, 97-35, in the fourth quarter through seven 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 13-3 dating back to last season when controlling the clock and possessing the ball more than its opponent, including doing so in five of seven 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. At Iowa State, K-State held the ball for 40:54, the most in a game by a Wildcat team since holding the ball for 41:17 in the 1997 Texas A&M game, while it held the ball for 33:22 at West Virginia.

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 20 games, the Cats have outscored their opponents, 186-117, in the final 15 minutes and also 220-144 closing out the first half of games. In K-State’s last 17 wins, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents, 172-82, 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 100 trips inside its opponent’s 20-yard line, the Wildcats have scored on 90 of those trips, with 70 of those being touchdowns. Over the course of the last 17 regular season games, the Wildcats are 82-of-89 in the red zone with 64 touchdowns. Additionally, the Cats are 46-for-51 in red zone chances with 37 touchdowns in their last 10 wins dating back to last season with three of those non-scoring trips coming via a kneel down in the final minutes of a game.

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 seven games, K-State ranks 14th nationally in rushing, averaging 234 yards per game. In fact, over the last 25 quarters of play, the Wildcats have rushed for 1,490 yards and 26 touchdowns while outscoring their opponents, 284-104.

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 120.1 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, 87 to Oklahoma and 88 to West Virginia. The Cats are currently ranked 11th nationally in rush defense at 99.3 yards per game.

K-State has made tremendous strides at the line of scrimmage in the first seven 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 second in the league in sacks with 18. 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 and 4.0 more sacks and 8.0 TFL’s against West Virginia.

Kansas State extended one of the nation’s longest scoring streaks against West Virginia as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 197 consecutive games. The 197-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 128 conference games, 72 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 fewest 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 (24 total) and ranks among the league’s best in time of possession (32:00) and turnover margin (+12).

Along with capacity crowds for the home opener against Missouri State and games against North Texas and KU, K-State has announced sellouts for Saturday’s matchup with Texas Tech, the November 3 game against Oklahoma State and the December 1 regular season finale with Texas. The six sellouts announced tie the 1999 season for the most in school history, while K-State will have 14 sellouts since the beginning of Bill Snyder’s second tenure in 2009.

Kansas State has been the Big 12 leader in all-sports graduation rate in four of the past five years, and the same holds true specifically for football as the program has also led the conference in graduation rate over the same time frame. Individually, a total of 11 Wildcat players on the 2012 roster have already earned their degrees from K-State. Those 11 players include four community-college transfers and two four-year transfers, while nine the 11 have earned starting roles this season for the Cats. The 11 graduates are Javonta Boyd, Arthur Brown, Anthony Cantele, Ryan Doerr, Roman Fields, Chris Harper, Collin Klein, Zach McFall, Jarard Milo, Justin Tuggle and Braden Wilson.

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 fourth-most wins as a starting quarterback under head coach Bill Snyder despite just 22 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.

Collin Klein, the FBS quarterback record holder for rushing touchdowns in consecutive seasons, had the best night of his career at No. 13 West Virginia when he accounted for seven touchdowns (four rushing, three passing). He set a career high in total touchdowns and passing touchdowns, while his four rushing scores were one shy of his career high. In the process, Klein also broke the school record for career rushing touchdowns with 47, topping Darren Sproles’ (2001-04) mark of 45. Klein, who is tops among quarterbacks and second nationally among all active players in rushing touchdowns, leads the nation with 33 rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations since the beginning of 2011, while he ranks eighth in Big 12 history and second among quarterbacks in career rushing scores.

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).

If Klein keeps his current pace of two rushing scores per game, he will become the first quarterback to do so twice in a career in week 11 at TCU.

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 28 passes for 20 or more yards in just seven games (4.0 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 eight this year, including a season-long 58-yarder against Miami in week two.

Thanks to a 70.5-percent completion percentage and 175.79 passing efficiency this season, teams must be on the lookout for Collin Klein in the passing game. Klein currently ranks ninth in school history with 271 career completions, but the Wildcat signal caller is tops among the group in completion percentage. Klein’s pass efficiency rating is season is 16.2 points better than the K-State record of 159.95 (Michael Bishop, 1998) and currently ranks second nationally, while his career total of 142.72 is third in school history.

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 has totaled 658 yards in seven games this year to rank second in the Big 12 at 94 yards per game. The Waco, Texas, product already has four 100-yard games - which ranks second in the Big 12 Big 12 - while his 101 yards vs. 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.

Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Lockett was the benefactor of Collin Klein’s outstanding passing evening at No. 13 West Virginia. The Tulsa, Okla., product set career highs in receptions (9), yards (194) and touchdowns (2). His 194 yards were the fifth-most in a single game in school history, while he was just six yards shy of recording just the fourth 200-yard receiving game in school history. In addition to his receiving yards, Lockett returned two kickoffs for 64 yards, including one for 49 yards.

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 sixth nationally with a 30.9 average this year. Even more impressive is that he currently holds the Big 12 career average return record at 33.6 yards, a mark that is top nationally among active players. If he keeps on his current pace, he will end the season holding the Big 12 record, a mark currently held by former Wildcat Brandon Banks (28.5 yards).

Arthur Brown led the Wildcats in tackles last season with 101 and is tops again this year with 55, but the Wichita, Kan., product might have more significance in his interceptions despite the fact that his career total equals two. Last year, Brown became the first player to intercept eventual Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, breaking a streak of 110 attempts without a pick. His pick against RGIII and 15th-ranked Baylor led to the game-winning field goal in a 36-35 victory.

Ironically, Brown, who is nicknamed “The Judge” by his teammates, became the first player to pick off West Virginia’s Geno Smith after a NCAA record of 273 attempts without an interception this year. His pick against the Mountaineers was on the first play of the third quarter and set up a Collin Klein-to-Chris Harper touchdown that extended K-State’s lead to 38-7.

For a second-straight season, Meshak Williams and Adam Davis have shown a tendency for putting pressure on the quarterback this season, which is evidenced by the fact they are third (5.5) and fourth (4.5), respectively, in the Big 12 in sacks. The duo also ranks highly in tackles for loss as Davis is tied for fifth (8.5) in the league and Williams is eighth (6.5). Williams’ sack total was given a boost at No. 13 West Virginia when he totaled 2.5, the top mark in the Big 12 this year.

When the K-State defensive line is able to put pressure on the quarterback, defensive back Ty Zimmerman has usually been the benefactor as he has interceptions in each of the last four games. Zimmerman, who ranks second in the Big 12 overall and tops in the conference in league-only games, became the first Wildcat since at least 1989 to record interceptions in four-straight games. Zimmerman also sits highly in the national rankings as he is tied for sixth this season. His nine career interceptions are 15th nationally among active players and one away from entering the school’s record book. Zimmerman’s interception last week at No. 13 West Virginia was the second for the Wildcats on the day against Geno Smith, who broke a NCAA record of 273 attempts without a pick earlier in the contest.