K-State Hosts West Virginia For Homecoming at SOLD OUT Bill Snyder Family Stadium
On the heels of a tough 35-25 loss to 15th-ranked Baylor and a bye week, K-State hosts West Virginia Saturday in the school’s 150th birthday celebration and annual homecoming festivities. The sold-out game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is slated for a 2:45 p.m., kickoff and will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1 with Adam Alexander (play-by-play) and Chris Simms (analyst) on the call. Wyatt Thompson will also call the action on the K-State Sports Network with Stan Weber providing color analysis and Matt Walters giving sideline updates. A free live audio broadcast is available at k-statesports.com and on SIRIUS/XM satellite radio channels 117/202. Additionally, K-State Gameday, hosted by Brian Smoller and former K-State great Ian Campbell, will begin at 1:45 p.m., on K-StateHD.TV. Live stats will be available at k-statesports.com, while Twitter updates (@kstatesports and @kstate_gameday) will also be a part of the gameday coverage.
K-State’s Homecoming 2013: A Tale of Traditions will be full of activities for all alumni and students back in town for the annual celebration. Visit k-state.com for more information and a full schedule of events, including Saturday’s pregame tailgate in Cat Town.
A LOOK AT THE CATS
The Wildcats, thanks largely in part to a terrific defensive performance and a 327-yard afternoon on the ground, took a 25-21 lead late in the second half against the 15th-ranked Bears on before falling late. K-State was able to hold the nation’s No. 1 offense to half of its season average in two categories (total offense and scoring) but did not take advantage of several scoring opportunities which proved to be the difference.
Continued improvement is evident as Daniel Sams showed his play-making ability at the quarterback position by rushing for 199 yards, the second-highest total by a quarterback in school history, and three touchdowns. The K-State defense turned in arguably its best performance of the season by limiting Baylor to 35 points, while the Bears finished with just six more total yards (451-445) than the Cats.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ryan Mueller had a massive game, totaling seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and a pass breakup. His sack, forced fumble and recovery on the same play was one for the highlight reel, as the former walk-on has been the most consistent defensive linemen for the Cats this season. Linebacker Blake Slaughter leads the team in tackles this season with 52.
The special teams units have been solid again so far this season with the Wildcats’ punt return unit ranking No. 2 nationally this week, averaging 24.7 yards per return. In the kicking game, Jack Cantele is 5-for-6 in field goals, including a career-long 42-yarder, while punter Mark Krause is averaging 43.2 yards a kick with nine being downed inside the 20-yard line.
A LOOK AT WVU
West Virginia heads to Manhattan this week with a 3-4 record and 1-3 mark in league play following a 37-27 setback at home to No. 15 Texas Tech. Earlier this season, West Virginia upended then-11th-ranked Oklahoma State, 30-21, at home for its first league win in 2013.
Giving K-State an extra week to prepare has traditionally been bad news for opponents. The Cats have had 21 previous mid-season bye weeks under head coach Bill Snyder and have turned the extra week of preparation into a 15-6 record the following week. Below is a recap of coming off a bye week since 1991:
Bye Week Next Game
Off 10/5/91 returned to beat Kansas, 16-12
Off 10/2/93 returned to beat Kansas, 10-9
Off 9/10/94 returned to beat Rice, 27-18
Off 10/1/94 returned to win at Kansas, 21-13
Off 9/16/95 returned to beat Akron, 67-0
Off 9/28/96 returned to lose to Nebraska, 39-3
Off 11/2/96 returned to win at Kansas, 38-12
Off 9/20/97 returned to beat Bowling Green, 58-0
Off 10/3/98 returned to win at Colorado, 16-9
Off 9/9/2000 returned to beat Ball State, 76-0
Off 9/15/2001 returned to beat New Mexico State, 64-0
Off 9/28/2002 returned to lose at Colorado, 35-31
Off 9/27/2003 returned to lose at Texas, 24-20
Off 9/25/2004 returned to lose at Texas A&M, 42-30
Off 9/17/2005 returned to beat North Texas, 54-7
Off 10/2/2010 returned to lose to Nebraska, 48-13
Off 9/10/2011 returned to defeat Kent State, 37-0
Off 11/26/2011 returned to defeat Iowa State, 30-23
Off 9/29/2012 returned to defeat Kansas, 56-16
Off 11/24/2012 returned to defeat Texas, 42-24
Off 9/28/2013 returned to lose at Oklahoma State, 33-29
CLOSING IN ON 175
One of the longest-tenured active coaches in the nation, Bill Snyder is approaching victory No. 175 of his career. After guiding K-State from 1989 to 2005, and again over the last four seasons, the 2012 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year has accumulated the fourth-most victories at FBS-only schools among all active coaches. Snyder, who ranks 50th all-time in victories at four-year institutions, can become the 46th coach ever to reach the 175-win plateau but just the 11th ever to do so at only one school.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Sitting at 2-4 overall and 0-3 in league play heading into Saturday’s game, Kansas State is just a play or two away from being 5-1 on the year. In close losses to North Dakota State, #21 Oklahoma State and #15 Baylor, the Wildcats held leads late in the games before dropping all three contests in the final minutes. In those games, K-State has committed eight turnovers which have led to 23 points by the opponent.
LOOKING FOR MORE
Kansas State has had success coming off bowl seasons, most notably under head coach Bill Snyder. The Wildcats had played in 15 bowl games in program history prior to last year, and Kansas State has followed a bowl season with another postseason berth on 12 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 fourth-straight bowl for the first time since the end of an 11-year bowl stretch in 2003.
SNYDER IN OCTOBER
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 36-26 (.581) in October under the legendary head coach.
CATS CONTINUE CONSECUTIVE SCORING STREAK
K-State extended one of the nation’s longest scoring streaks against Baylor as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 209 consecutive games. The 209-game stretch is the eighth-longest in the nation and the second-longest in the Big 12. The Cats have not been kept off the board since Colorado shut out K-State, 12-0, on Nov. 16, 1996. The streak includes 136 conference games, 76 true road games and 18 neutral-site contests.
DRAWING FIRST BLOOD
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 141-27 (.839) when drawing first blood. Last season, K-State was a perfect 6-0 when scoring the game’s first points and is 2-1 so far in 2013.
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 in 161 of its last 166 (.971) games when leading at the half. Last season, Kansas State went 10-0 when leading at the half and is 2-0 this season.
When the Wildcat defense picks off two or more passes, K-State usually comes out with a victory. Over the last 26 contests that the Wildcats have recorded two or more interceptions, Kansas State is 21-5, including a 5-1 record over the last two seasons. The Wildcats tied for second in the Big 12 and 12th nationally with 18 interceptions last season, the second-straight season K-State picked off 18 passes. Ty Zimmerman, who had five interceptions last year, now has 11 interceptions to tie for sixth in school history and needs four more to tie the school record. Kip Daily picked off two passes in the Cats’ win over UMass.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
In the Wildcats’ season opener against North Dakota State, the K-State defense managed to make 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage - which included three sacks - for the first time since the 2012 KU game and the first time in a season opener since the 2010 debut. The Wildcats added four more against Louisiana, seven against UMass, six against Texas and five against Baylor as Ryan Mueller (8.5), Travis Britz (4.5) and Chaquil Reed (3.5) have combined for 16.5 of the 35 stops.
KICKOFF RETURN STREAK
K-State has ranked among the nation’s best on special teams under Bill Snyder, especially as it relates to kickoff returns. In fact, following Tramaine Thompson’s 94-yard dash against Louisiana, the Wildcats have returned a kick for a score at least once in each of the last nine seasons, which currently ranks as the longest streak in the nation. Louisiana Tech has done so in each of the last seven years, while Auburn and Central Florida currently have streaks of six straight seasons.
The rise of K-State football over the last three decades has much to do with the emphasis on special teams. Since 1990, Kansas State is 49-16 when scoring on special teams and 19-1 when scoring on special teams and on defense, including a 17-0 mark under Bill Snyder. And, in non-offensive touchdowns, the Cats are the nation’s best over the past 14 seasons. Since 1999, the Wildcats rank first nationally in non-offensive touchdowns with 91.
K-State had six non-offensive touchdowns last season. Tyler Lockett led the way with a pair of kickoff-return scores (vs. North Texas and Oklahoma State), while Tramaine Thompson returned a punt for a score against Missouri State, Jarell Childs returned a fumble for a touchdown at Oklahoma, and Arthur Brown (Texas Tech) and Allen Chapman (Oklahoma State) returned an interception for scores. In 2013, the Wildcats have recorded four with Thompson’s kick return (Louisiana), interception returns from Ty Zimmerman (Louisiana) and Kip Daily (UMass) and a blocked field goal return from Daily (Oklahoma State).
RECORD NUMBERS AT BILL SNYDER FAMILY STADIUM
A new tradition was born when head coach Bill Snyder returned for his second tenure roaming the sidelines for the Wildcats as the K-State Family Reunion game was introduced for the 2009 season opener. The contest against UMass was a huge success as it was the largest crowd in school history for a home opener at the time with 50,750 fans pouring into Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Fans also came out in droves the last four seasons, including this year’s season opener with North Dakota State which drew a season-opening record crowd of 53,351. That mark was also good enough for the second-largest mark to ever watch a Wildcat game in Manhattan. With a record 43,000-plus season tickets sold for this season, and four crowds so far of 52,000-plus, K-State is on track to set new school records for number of sellouts and total attendance for a season. Dating back to last season, K-State is riding a streak of nine consecutive sellouts.
SAMS ON THE RUN
Although it came in a loss, quarterback Daniel Sams had one of the best games of his career two weeks ago against No. 15 Baylor. The Slidell, La., product rushed 30 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns, setting career highs in all three categories. His yardage total was the second-most by a Wildcat quarterback in school history, while his 30 attempts were tied for this by a QB. Even more impressive is the fact that Sams did not have any negative yardage as he rushed for the second-highest total in school history without losing a single yard (Daniel Thomas, 269 vs. North Texas, 11/27/2010).
Daniel Sams has put together some runs for the highlight reel thanks to his 6.1-yard average on 86 attempts this year. In fact, Sams ranks sixth nationally in yards per carry among quarterbacks with 60 or more attempts. If he continues at his current pace, Sams will rank second in school history in single-season rushing yards by a quarterback and will have the highest per-carry average among the top three. Additionally, Sams ranks third overall in the Big 12 in yards per game and fourth in yards per carry.
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams saw his most extensive action in terms of passing at Oklahoma State as he set career highs in virtually every category, throwing for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-21 aim a year after totaling just 55 yards on 6-of-8 passing.
Quarterback Jake Waters entered 2013 known for his throwing abilities and he has not disappointed. The community-college transfer from Iowa Western has been on point to start the season as he has totaled 1,036 passing yards thanks to three games of 275-yard passing games, the first by a K-State signal caller since Josh Freeman in 2008 (5). He needs 464 yards to become the 26th player in school history with 1,500 career passing yards and the first by a newcomer under Bill Snyder since Michael Bishop in 1997 (1,557).
GRONK GOES THE DISTANCE
Although he has just four touches this year, fullback Glenn Gronkowski has made the most of the opportunity when his number is called. Through six games, Gronkowski has two 50-plus yard touchdown receptions, including a 67-yarder at Oklahoma State. He became the first Wildcat with touchdown receptions of 50 yards or more since Aubrey Quarles, who had a 67-yard touchdown at Baylor and a 58-yard score against UCF in 2010.
HUBERT REACHES 2,000-YARD PLATEAU
Following two years of 900-plus yard rushing seasons, senior John Hubert joined an exclusive club against Louisiana as he eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing barrier, the ninth player in school history to reach the milestone. Hubert, who is at 2,303 career rushing yards, passed Mike Lawrence (2,265; 1994-97) for seventh place against Baylor and is 182 yards shy of Collin Klein (2,485; 2009-12) for fifth. And although me has been known for more of a rusher in his career, Hubert has been a threat receiving out of the backfield as he already has 111 receiving yards in six games, more than he had in 13 games last year and just 77 yards shy of his career high of 188 in 2011.
FINDING THE END ZONE
Not only has John Hubert put up big numbers in terms of yards, but the Waco, Texas, product has also scored rushing touchdowns on a consistent basis. Hubert carded two at Texas to give him 22 in his career and move into the school’s top-10 list. He needs one more to tie for eighth and two to move into sole possession of eighth place.
LOCKETT’S BIG NIGHT
Although it came in a loss, Tyler Lockett’s performance at Texas was one for the record books. The junior hauled in 13 receptions for 237 yards to set Kansas State’s single-game record for receiving yards while tying for second in single-game receptions. His 237 yards were 23 more than Jordy Nelson’s 214-yard performance in 2007 at Iowa State, while it was just the fourth 200-yard game in school history and the 10th-most yards in Big 12 history. In addition to his receiving yards, Lockett add 96 yards in kick returns to give him 333 all-purpose yards, the fourth-most in school history.
GOING... GOING... GONE
Tyler Lockett may be known more for his receiving abilities this season, but the Tulsa, Okla., product made his name originally as a kickoff returner. After tallying a 35.2-yard average with two touchdowns as a freshman and being named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year with a 32.8-yard average as a sophomore, Lockett continues to excel in the specialty as he ranks second nationally in career kickoff-return average among active players and currently sits atop the Big 12 record book. He ranks 3.3 yards better than the player second on the all-time Big 12 list, former Wildcat Brandon Banks.
FROM WALK-ON TO STAR
Junior Ryan Mueller, a former walk-on who was used mainly as a pass rush specialist for the last two years, has turned into one of the best defenders in the Big 12. The high-motor Mueller has 29 tackles this year, including 8.5 TFLs and five sacks to go along with three pass breakups. The Lenexa, Kan., product is tied for first in the Big 12 in sacks and ranks third in tackles for loss. He also produced one of the best highlights in the conference this season against No. 15 Baylor when he made a full-out dive towards quarterback Bryce Petty and in one fell swoop forced and recovered a fumble. That turnover lead to a K-State touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 25-21 lead late in the third quarter.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM
Linebacker Blake Slaughter, who was a four-game starter in 2010, is back this season after electing to redshirt the 2012 campaign while playing behind All-American Arthur Brown. Slaughter used the year off to improve and has started the 2013 season on fire totaling a team-leading 52 tackles to rank third in the Big 12. His season total includes three 10-tackle games, and he needs one more to give K-State a linebacker with four or more in two-straight seasons after Brown had four last year.
Senior Kip Daily, who is in his first season as the full-time starter at cornerback, has had a nose for the football this year on both defense and special teams. The College Station, Texas, product had two interceptions against UMass, including one he returned 37 yards for a touchdown to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Then at Oklahoma State, Daily did something that hadn’t been done by a Wildcat in over 10 years as he returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown to give K-State a 14-10 lead. It was the first score off a blocked field goal since Randy Jordan returned one 93 yards against Baylor in 2002.
PLAYING CENTER FIELD
Senior All-American safety Ty Zimmerman picked off his 11th career pass against Louisiana and returned it 32 yards for his first-career touchdown. A candidate for four major awards and a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, Zimmerman’s 11 picks are tied for sixth in school history, while he now has 178 interception return yards rank fourth. Zimmerman, who has 42 career starts to rank fifth nationally among active players, also reached another milestone this year as he became the 51st player in school history with 200 career tackles.