Wildcats Return Home, Square Off Against No. 22 Oklahoma State
Wildcats Return Home, Square Off Against No. 22 Oklahoma State
NOV 5, 2:30 PM
Bill Snyder Family Stadium
6-2 (4-1 Big 12)
5-3 (3-2 Big 12)
Sirius 136, XM 199
Following its first road win of the year, Kansas State is back at home on Saturday and hosts a ranked team for the first time this season in No. 22 Oklahoma State. Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m., from Bill Snyder Family Stadium, will be televised on ABC in Big 12 markets and on ESPN2 throughout the rest of the country with Allen Bestwick (play-by-play), Mike Bellotti (analyst) and Kris Budden (sidelines) calling the action. The contest can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), 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 (@ kstate_gameday, @KStateFB) will all be a part of the coverage.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
• K-State continues to rank among the best defenses in the league as it currently leads the Big 12 and ranks fifth nationally in rushing defense (102.9 ypg), while the Wildcats are second in the league in total defense (363.5 ypg).
• Seven players on defense have recorded 30 or more tackles, led by Elijah Lee’s 69 stops. Jordan Willis leads the league in sacks (8.0) and is second in TFLs (11.5).
• K-State has held seven of its first eight opponents below their season average in points.
• Offensively, the Cats ran for 247 yards at Iowa State, their most in a Big 12 game since rushing for 258 yards against No. 2 Baylor last season and most in a Big 12 road game since a 291-yard outburst at Texas Tech in 2013.
• K-State had its nation-leading red zone scoring streak snapped at 56 straight trips after a fumble just inches from the goal line against Texas. The Cats still lead the nation in red zone offense (.974) after a 5-for-5 day at Iowa State.
• K-State has had 26 of its 38 scoring drives this season span seven plays or longer, including 11 that lasted at least 10 plays.
A LOOK AT OKLAHOMA STATE
• The Cowboys are coming off a big 37-20 win over No. 9 West Virginia at home last week.
• Quarterback Mason Rudolph ranks third in the Big 12 in both passing average and efficiency while throwing for 2,532 yards and 17 touchdowns with just two picks.
• The Cowboys have two of the league’s top wide receivers in James Washington and Jalen McCleskey. The duo has combined for 92 catches, 1,459 yards and 11 scores.
• Defensively, Chad Whitener has a team-best 52 tackles, Vincent Taylor has collected 4.5 sacks and the unit has 10 interceptions on the year.
• Kicker Ben Grogan leads the Big 12 in scoring and field goals made with 14.
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• In a series that has been evenly matched since they first met as Big 12 members in 1998, Oklahoma State owns an all-time record of 24-38 over K-State.
• Since 1998, the series is tied 6-6 as the home team has a 10-2 mark during that span, including each of the last five meetings.
• Last year in Stillwater, K-State took a 34-33 lead with 3:01 left, but OSU kicked a 37-yard field goal with 32 second remaining for a 36-34 victory.
• Two years ago in Manhattan, the Wildcats earned a 48-14 victory, the largest margin of victory in the series by either team since a 44-9 K-State win in 2002.
• 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 179 victories, which is tied for 17th in the nation.
• The Cats are only four victories away from the top 15.
• Among current Big 12 teams, only Oklahoma (5th; 202), Texas (11th; 195) and TCU (15th; 183) rank higher.
THE CENTURY MARK
• Earlier this year, K-State became just the third Big 12 program to reach 100 league wins since the conference began in 1996.
• The Wildcats, who have 102 Big 12 wins, are joined Texas (117) and Oklahoma (125) in the century club.
300 AT ONE
• K-State’s game against Texas Tech was the 300th game under the direction of head coach Bill Snyder.
• Snyder became just the seventh person all-time to coach 300 games on one FBS school. Among the seven, 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 198 career victories, 159 more than any other coach in school history.
• Snyder ranks first in the FBS in wins among active coaches at current schools, second in total wins among active coaches overall and tied for 25th in all-time wins.
• He is two wins away from becoming the 25th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins.
• Snyder, who has 115 conference wins, is one of four coaches with 100 Big 8/12 victories (Tom Osborne , Bob Stoops , Barry Switzer ).
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 13 underclassmen starters in the first eight games of 2016, the Wildcats have been flagged more than usual as they are committing 6.6 penalties per game for an average of just over 54 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.
HOME SWEET HOME
• Since 1990, K-State holds a 143-34-1 (.806) record when playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
• That record includes a 70-5 (.933) mark in non-conference games and a 73-29-1 (.714) record in league games.
• K-State is looking to bounce back from a 4-3 (.571) home record in 2015, its worst home winning percentage since also going 4-3 in 2008.
• The Wildcats are currently riding a six-game home winning streak dating back to last year, their longest since a seven-game streak over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
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 159-30 (.841) when scoring first.
• K-State, 4-1 this year when scoring first, is trying 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.
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 the first six games of 2016.
• Over the last 15 games dating back to 2015, K-State has converted on 62 of 63 red zone attempts with 43 touchdowns, but it had its nation-leading scoring streak stopped at 56-straight trips against Texas.
• In their 48 wins over the last six seasons, the Cats are 227-for-248 (.915) in red zone chances with 166 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 66-34 in the opening 15 minutes.
• That mark improves to 172-79 through the first two quarters and 202-106 after three, but opponents have gotten the best of K-State in the final quarter to the tune of 67-41.
• In the era of quick strike offenses in college football, K-State remains a team that likes to possess the ball.
• Of K-State’s 38 scoring drives this season, 26 have been seven plays or longer including 11 of 10-plus plays.
• Twelve scoring drives have taken five minutes or longer with a 17-play, 8:32 drive at Oklahoma being the longest.
ERTZ ON THE RUN
• Quarterback Jesse Ertz was injured on a five-yard rush on the first offensive play of 2015, a play that ended his season. However, he’s not letting that deter him from his rushing abilities through seven starts in 2016.
• Ertz has been effective running the ball, recording at least 75 rushing yards in four contests this year, including a career-high 106 yards last week at Iowa State.
• His effort was the first 100-yard rushing game by a quarterback since Joe Hubener went for 153 yards against Baylor on Nov. 5, 2015.
• His day was highlighted by a 54-yard rush in the first quarter, K-State’s longest rush since John Hubert went 63 yards at Texas Tech on Nov. 9, 2013.
• The Mediapolis, Iowa, native, who has six rushing scores this year, enters play this week ranked sixth nationally among quarterbacks by averaging 5.89 yards per rush.
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.
• Against Texas Tech, Jones ran for a career-best 128 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown as he climbed three spots on K-State’s career rushing list.
• Two weeks later against Texas, Jones ran for 81 yards to move from 15th to 13th in school history, a spot he currently holds with 1,675 career yards.
• In addition to Charles Jones’ career rushing yardage, he has also hauled in 31 career passes for 313 yards.
• Jones’ 313 career receiving yards ranks 14th in school history among running backs/fullbacks.
• Those two categories, in addition to 12 kickoff-return yards, has added up to an even 2,000 career all-purpose yards, a mark he hit last week at Iowa State. The senior became the 28th player in school history to reach the 2,000-yard mark in a career.
HEATH MAKING HEADWAY
• Dominique Heath has become K-State’s go-to receiver, leading the team with 35 catches.
• He has hauled in at least seven receptions in each of the last three games, including a career-high nine at Iowa State, while he set a career high with 101 yards at OU.
• His nine catches against the Cyclones were the most by a Wildcat since Tyler Lockett (13) and Curry Sexton (10) in the Alamo Bowl following the 2014 season, while his 23 catches over a three-game stretch is the most since Lockett had 36 in the final three games of his career in 2014.
WORK CONTINUES ON THE LINE
• The Wildcats’ 2016 offensive line has been growing up on the job this season as the unit has a combined 58 career starts, led by 21 from Dalton Risner and 12 by Terrale Johnson.
• K-State had just 17 combined starts entering this season, which was the fewest for the Wildcats since the 1990 squad also had 17 combined starts entering the year.
• Four players, left tackle Scott Frantz and guards Will Ash, Abdul Beecham and Tyler Mitchell, have earned their first-career starts this year.
• Despite the inexperience, Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line coach Charlie Dickey does have a good track record when it comes to developing offensive lines quickly.
• The 2012 line had just a collective 26 starts but ended up placing four linemen on the All-Big 12 team, including first-time starters Cornelius Lucas, Tavon Rooks and Cody Whitehair.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOES
• Kansas State, which ranks 27th nationally in scoring defense, has been one of the nation’s best in keeping opposing offenses off the board.
• The Wildcats have held seven of their first eight opponents to a total average difference of 18.5 points per game below their season averages at the time.
• In the season opener, K-State held Stanford to 17.2 points below its scoring average from 2015, while the Wildcats have forced three of its five Big 12 opponents to at least 16.0 points per game lower than their averages.
• 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).
• K-State has seen its defense force 12 turnovers through the first eight games of the season as the Cats currently rank third in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+5).
• In 2015, K-State was -5 in the turnover margin through eight games.
• More significantly, K-State has not allowed any points off its seven turnovers, while the Wildcats have turned their 12 turnovers into 45 points, good for a 5.6-point average per game.
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 23 of the last 33 games.
• Of K-State’s seven picks this year, five have come from defensive backs after only one in 2015.
• With the interceptions by Kendall Adams and D.J. Reed against FAU, it marked the first multi-interception game by defensive backs since the 2014 KU contest.
• Matt Seiwert picked up the lone Wildcat interception against Missouri State, becoming K-State’s first defensive lineman with an interception since 2011.
• Elijah Lee’s interception at WVU was the fourth of his career, the most by a K-State linebacker since the early 2000s, while Reed’s pick-six against Texas Tech was the first since the 2014 Oklahoma game.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
• The Wildcats have recorded at least 6.0 tackles for loss in six of their last 10 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 11.5 and ranks second 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.
• 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 sacks against FAU.
• The Wildcats have at least three sacks in three of its four Big 12 games.
• Willis leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally in sacks.
SECOND HALF RESURGENCE
• The Wildcats have turned in some terrific performances on defense in the second half of games over the last 14 regular-season contests.
• Over the final six regular-season games of 2015 (Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State, KU and West Virginia) and through the first seven second halves this year, the Cats yielded an average of 196.8 total yards and 11.5 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 its win over Texas Tech, K-State held the nation’s top offense to just 10 total second-half points, seven of which came in the final seconds with a 13-point lead.
LEE LEADS THE CHARGE
• Junior linebacker Elijah Lee, a Second Team All-Big 12 pick in 2015 after leading K-State with 80 tackles, is improving his production in 2016 with a team-leading 69 stops to rank second in the Big 12.
• Lee, who is on pace to end the regular season with 103 tackles, set a new career high with 14 stops at West Virginia en route to Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
• A native of Blue Springs, Missouri, Lee has at least seven tackles in 10 of the last 15 games – including every Big 12 contest this year – while he has reached double digits in tackles on four occasions in 2016.
WILLIS LIVES BEHIND THE LINE
• Defensive end Jordan Willis, who has sacks in eight of the last 12 games, is flying up the K-State career chart.
• Willis, who first entered the school’s career top-10 list with 2.0 sacks at West Virginia, added two more quarterback takedowns against both Texas Tech and Texas to move into fourth in school history.
• His effort against UT, which also included seven total tackles, 3.0 TFLs, a forced fumble and a pass breakup, earned him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
• A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Willis now has the most career sacks by a Wildcat since Darren Howard set the school record with 29.5 from 1996-99.
• Willis, who leads all active Big 12 players in career sacks, is tops in the Big 12 in sacks and second in tackles for loss (11.5) this year, while he ranks ninth and 18th in the nation, respectively.
• Willis can also set his sights on K-State’s TFL top-10 list. The senior has 34.5 career TFLs, needing 4.5 to tie for 10th in school history.
• K-State’s current top-10 list for TFLs does not include any Wildcats who played in the last 15 seasons.
WALKER A QUICK LEARNER
• Trying to emulate Jordan Willis, redshirt freshman Reggie Walker has made an impact in his first eight career games.
• Walker, who has started every game this year opposite of Willis, has provided 3.0 sacks of his own in addition to 6.0 tackles for loss.
• The Ponchatoula, Louisiana, product is just a half sack shy of tying for third in school history among freshmen.
BARNETT SERVES AS VETERAN PRESENCE
• A year after seeing his season end with an injury in the first half of the 2015 season opener, safety Dante Barnett has been his usual self during his second senior season.
• Barnett, who received a medical hardship for the 2015 season, leads all K-State defenders with 225 career tackles, sitting 25 stops shy of becoming the 27th player in school history with 250 career tackles.
• The Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is tied for third among active Big 12 players in career tackles, also has 164 career unassisted tackles to sit four away from K-State’s career top-10 list.
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 104 since 1999.
• Since 1990, the Wildcats are 58-17 when scoring on special teams and 20-1 when scoring on special teams and defense, including an 18-0 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.
• 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.
• Byron Pringle’s 99-yard kick return and D.J. Reed’s pick-six against Texas Tech marked the first time the Wildcats had two non-offensive scores in a Big 12 game since doing so against Oklahoma State in 2012.
NON-OFFENSIVE TDs PART II
• Under Bill Snyder, K-State is 69-20 (.775) when scoring a non-offensive touchdown, and since 1999, the Cats are 50-13 (.794) when scoring a non-offensive touchdown.
• Since Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009 K-State is 25-6 (.806) in this same category.
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 42 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns since 2005, 14 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 22 and 20 touchdowns, respectively, during the current stretch.
• K-State also extended its kickoff-return streak to 12 straight years with a return for a score, which is the longest current streak in the nation.
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 45 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 the Wildcats are currently 35th with an 18.8-yard average allowed.
• 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 32 games.
• Kansas State enters this week’s game 19th nationally by allowing just 4.1 yards per punt return.
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 Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath rank highly in the nation in the return categories.
• Pringle is ranked 10th in the nation with a 28.7-yard kickoff-return average – a mark that currently ranks ninth in school history – while he has 569 combined kickoff- and punt-return yards rank 14th in the country. Heath enters play this week ranked sixth nationally in punt-return touchdowns.
• Both players have earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week accolades this year. Heath was honored after his 75-yard punt return touchdown against FAU, while Pringle earned nods following a combined 78 return yards in just one half against Missouri State and his effort against Texas Tech.
• 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 at Stanford to extend a streak to a career record 16-straight makes.
• Additionally, he is ranks seventh in school history in both career field goals made (36) and career extra-points made (85).
• Included in McCrane’s PAT total is a school-record tying nine earlier this year against Florida Atlantic.
• McCrane, who has 193 career points scored, is three points away from entering K-State’s top-10 list.
• A 2015 All-Big 12 punter and two-time member of the Ray Guy Award watch list, Walsh has booted to a career 41.72-yard average to rank sixth in K-State history, while he is 10th in career attempts (137).
• Walsh’s career averaged has been aided by two big games this year when he recorded a 48.7-yard average in the season opener at Stanford prior to a career best 50.3-yard mark against Texas Tech.