Louisiana at Kansas State
Date: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
Series: K-State leads, 3-1
TV: FOX Sports 1
Adam Alexander (Play-by-Play)
Chris Simms (Analyst)
Radio: K-State Sports Network; k-statesports.com;
SIRIUS Satellite Radio Ch. 98
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sideline Reporter)
Twitter Updates: @kstatesports and @kstate_gameday
Live Blog: k-statesports.com
Tickets: Scattered singles only
K-STATE LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK AS LOUISIANA HEADS TO MANHATTAN
Following a tough 24-21 setback to North Dakota State before a record sold-out 2013 opener, Kansas State welcomes Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday. The game is slated for a 5:30 p.m., kickoff and will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1 with Adam Anderson and Chris Simms on the call. Wyatt Thompson will 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 satellite radio channel 98. Additionally, K-State Gameday, hosted by Brian Smoller and former K-State great Kevin Lockett, will begin at 4:30 p.m., on K-StateHD.TV. Live stats are available, 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 the gameday coverage. Following the second largest crowd in school history for last week’s opener, Bill Snyder Family Stadium is expected to be at full capacity again Saturday evening.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS
Despite the largest home-opening crowd in school history and the second-largest ever to fill Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Wildcats came up just short on the scoreboard in the 2013 opener by dropping a 24-21 contest to two-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State. Junior quarterback Jake Waters showed flashes of why he was named the 2012 Junior College National Player of the Year as the signal caller threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-29 aim in his Wildcat debut. His favorite targets were junior Tyler Lockett and senior Tramaine Thompson as Lockett caught seven balls for 113 yards and a score, while Thompson caught six for 108 yards and a score. It marked the first time since 2008 that two Wildcat receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the same game. On defense, linebackers Blake Slaughter and Jonathan Truman led the effort with 10 stops each. Slaughter also collected two sacks, while defensive end Ryan Mueller recorded a sack and three tackles for loss. As a team, the Cats recorded 10 total stops behind the line of scrimmage, while safety Dante Barnett recorded his first career interception in the game. Dorrian Roberts led the secondary with five tackles and two pass breakups against the Bison. Place kicker Jack Cantele played for the first time in his career, hitting all three extra points, while Mark Krause held a 43.8-yard average on five punts.
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: LOUISIANA
Coming off a 9-3 campaign in 2012, which included a win in the New Orleans Bowl, Louisiana opened up the 2013 season with a 34-14 loss at Arkansas on Saturday. The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by quarterback Terrance Broadway, a threat on the ground and through the air, as the signal caller threw for 171 yards on 15-of-28 aim in the opener. Alonzo Harris led the ground attack with 56 yards and a score on 10 carries, while Jacob Maxwell caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown from his wide receiver position. On defense, Louisiana was paced by Justin Anderson’s 14 tackles, while Sean Thomas collected 13.
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 65 of its 73 (.890) regular-season non-conference games under Snyder, including winning 56 of 59 (.949) at home during that stretch. K-State, which has had perfect regular season non-conference ledgers 14 times in the last 20 years, has been perfect in the non-conference each of the last three seasons. The Cats three-year streak is the best since winning all regular-season non-conference games from 1993-2002. Last week’s setback to North Dakota State was the first home opener Snyder has dropped since 1989 and the first FCS opponent to knock off the Cats since that same season.
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 2013 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.
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 appearance for the first time since the end of an 11-year bowl stretch in 2003.
SNYDER IN SEPTEMBER
Fast starts have propelled the Wildcats to winning seasons under Bill Snyder. Since 1992 under Snyder, K-State is a combined 55-5 (.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.
HOME SWEET HOME
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 21 years, K-State is an amazing 124-28-1 (.814) when playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, including a 64-4 (.941) record in non-conference games and a 62-24-1 (.718) mark in league games (combined Big 8/12). The Wildcats have gone 22-5 at home since Snyder’s return in 2009, including a 13-2 mark over the last two seasons and a perfect 7-0 ledger in 2012.
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 three seasons, including last week’s matchup 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, K-State is on track to set new school records for number of sellouts and total attendance for a season.
CATS CONTINUE CONSECUTIVE SCORING STREAK
Kansas State extended one of the nation’s longest scoring streaks last week as the Wildcats have now tallied points in 204 consecutive games. The 204-game stretch is the eighth-longest in the nation and the second-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 133 conference games, 74 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 139-26 (.842) when drawing first blood. Last season, K-State was a perfect 6-0 when scoring the game’s first points and did not score first last week.
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 159 of its last 164 (.970) games when leading at the half. Last season, Kansas State went 10-0 when leading at the half and was tied at the break last week.
PLAYING KEEP AWAY
Kansas State has been on the positive side of the ledger in terms of time of possession over the last two seasons, ranking fourth (33:56) and 17th (32:03) nationally in 2011 and 2012, respectively. K-State, which has ranked in the top two of the Big 12 in each of the last two seasons, is 18-4 dating back to 2011 when controlling the clock and possessing the ball more than its opponent. Last week, North Dakota State played that role as the Bison controlled the ball for 36:03 to K-State’s 23:57.
K-State was one of the best in the country last season in converting on third downs as the Wildcats ranked second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally by moving the sticks 50-percent (80-of-160) of the time on third down. Kansas State, which improved its conversion percentage by 8-percent from the 2011 season, was able to spread the ball out when it counted most as 11 different players converted on third down in 2012. Last week, the Cats converted on just 2-of-10 third downs, while NDSU was 10-of-17 during the Bison win.
RED ZONE ALERT
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 132 trips inside its opponent’s 20-yard line dating back to 2011, the Wildcats have scored on 118 of those trips, with 89 of those being touchdowns. Over the course of the last 23 regular season games, the Wildcats are 107-of-118 in the red zone with 84 touchdowns. Additionally, the Cats are 66-for-73 in red zone chances with 50 touchdowns in their last 14 wins dating back to 2011 with four of those non-scoring trips coming via a kneel down in the final minute of a game.
K-State opened the 2013 season with 280 passing yards as Jake Waters earned his first career start at quarterback for the Wildcats. The 280 yards were the most by a Wildcat quarterback in a home opener since Dan Manucci passed for 343 yards in the 1978 game against Auburn.
When the Wildcat defense picks off two or more passes, K-State usually comes out with a victory. Over the last 25 contests that the Wildcats have recorded two or more interceptions, Kansas State is 20-5, including a 4-1 record last year. 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, enters his senior campaign with 10 to tie for seventh in school history and needs five more to tie the school record. K-State safety Dante Barnett picked off one pass in the season opener for the Cats’ lone turnover of the ballgame.
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.
KEY TO SUCCESS
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 last year’s Big 12 Championship season, K-State led the Big 12 and ranked third in the nation in turnover margin (+19), ranked second in the league and fourth nationally in fewest penalties (49 total) and also ranked second in the conference in time of possession (32:03). The Wildcats made the most of the turnovers forced last season, converting them into a nation-leading 142 points.
TOP TURNOVER MARGIN
K-State showed the ability to force turnovers at a high clip in 2012, which was evidenced by the fact that the Wildcats forced multiple turnovers in 10 of 13 games. In fact, K-State’s +19 (31 turnovers forced, 12 turnovers surrendered) turnover margin in 2012 ranked third nationally, while the Wildcats’ 12 turnovers surrendered tied for the fourth fewest in the nation. To take it a step further, the Wildcats turned their 31 forced turnovers into 149 points, while K-State’s opponents scored just 24 points following a Wildcat turnover - both figures that topped in the nation.
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, the Wildcats have returned a kick for a score at least once in each of the last eight 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 48-15 when scoring on special teams and 18-1 when scoring on special teams and on defense, including a 16-0 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 87. 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.
Following the 2013 spring game, head coach Bill Snyder named five captains for the 2013 season as B.J. Finney, Tyler Lockett, Blake Slaughter, Tre Walker and Ty Zimmerman earned the nod. Finney is a two-time captain and was the youngest offensive player and first non-senior offensive lineman captain since 2002 when he was elected last year. Walker and Zimmerman are also in their second years, while Lockett and Slaughter are serving as captains for the first time in their careers.
Quarterback Jake Waters entered 2013 known for his throwing abilities and he did not disappoint last Friday against North Dakota State. The community-college transfer from Iowa Western was on point for a majority of the night, throwing for 280 yards on 21-fo-29 aim with touchdown passes of 56 and 45 yards. His 280 yards were the most by a Wildcat in a home opener since 1978 when Dan Manucci threw for 343 against Auburn, while he had two touchdowns passes of 45 yards or more for the first time since Josh Freeman at Louisville in 2008.
Jake Waters, who enrolled at K-State last spring, is hoping to have a smooth transition from the community-college ranks to Division I. The 2012 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading Iowa Western to a 12-0 record and a National Championship, Waters became the first player to enter K-State straight from the community-college ranks and start the season at quarterback since Michael Bishop in 1997.
SAMS I AM
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams dazzled last season in the running game as he rushed for 235 yards, the most ever by a freshman quarterback in school history, and had three touchdowns in the first two games. It was more of the same in the 2013 opener as he registered a 17-yard touchdown run on his first play of the season. Sams began his career in the 2012 season opener against Missouri State by rushing for 61 yards and touchdown before rushing for two scores the next week against Miami.
HUBERT SETS SIGHTS ON 1,000
Following two years of 900-plus yard rushing seasons, senior John Hubert enters his third year as the starting running back looking to garner his first 1,000-yard campaign, while he can also become the school’s ninth career 2,000-yard rusher. Hubert, who is currently 10th in school history in career rushing yards, needs 32 yards to crack the 2,000-yard barrier. He entered the school’s career top-10 list last Friday by passing Eric Gallon (1989-92; 1,960 yards) with 1,968 yards.
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Junior center B.J. Finney is the true testament that hard work pays off. A former walk-on from Andale, Kan., Finney impressed during his redshirt season of 2010 and has started every game over the last two-plus seasons, including the last 26 games at center. Finney, who anchors an offensive line that boasts 78 combined career starts, is a preseason candidate for the Rimington and Outland trophies as well as the Lombardi Award.
GOING... GOING... GONE
Tyler Lockett may have taken teams by surprise as a freshman in kickoff returns by tallying a 35.2-yard average with two touchdowns, but the speedster continued to excel in that specialty in 2012 by putting together a 32.8-yard average with two more scores. A Preseason All-Big 12 selection as a kick returner, Lockett remains first in career kickoff-return average among active players and currently sits atop the Big 12 record book, bettering second-place Brandon Banks - also a product of K-State - by an astonishing 5.3 yards per return. Lockett, whose four return touchdowns are one shy of the school career record held by Banks, has two of the four 100-yard returns in school history as he had one at Texas Tech in 2011 before taking one the distance last season against Oklahoma State.
A THREAT AT RECEIVER AS WELL
Aside from his kick-return abilities, Tyler Lockett has also turned into one of the best threats at wide receiver in the Big 12. The Tulsa, Okla., product finished the first week of play with the second-most receiving yards in the Big 12 at 113 and teamed with fellow receiver Tramaine Thompson (108) to have two 100-yard receivers in one game for the first time since 2008. In addition, Lockett’s performance against North Dakota State put his career total at 1,046 yards to become the 27th player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. Lockett is now on a list that includes his father Kevin, who is first in school history with 3,032 yards, and his uncle Aaron, who is fourth with 2,400 yards.
GRONK READY FOR HIS TURN
Glenn Gronkowski, who redshirted during the Wildcats’ Big 12 Championship run last season, started his first college game against North Dakota State and caught one pass. The youngest of the famed football family that includes New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski, Glenn was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Section VI Class AA North during his senior year playing for Williamsville North.
GETTING HIS SHOT
Used as a pass-rush specialist each of the last two seasons, junior defensive end Ryan Mueller received his first-career start last Friday and was active against the Bison. The Leawood, Kan., product made five tackles, including three for a loss and one sack. His three TFLs were the second-most in the Big 12 during the opening weekend. Throughout his career, Mueller has been around the ball as he came into the season with seven passes defended and three fumble recoveries.
PLAYING CENTER FIELD
Senior All-American safety Ty Zimmerman returns for his fourth year as a starter. A candidate for four major awards and a Preseason All-Big 12 selection, Zimmerman’s 37 career starts rank as the fifth-most nationally among active players, while he is the top returning tackler on the team with 189 career stops and needs 11 more to become the 51st player in school history with 200 tackles. However, the Junction City, Kan., product improved his interception production last season as he came away with five. Zimmerman, who has 10 career picks, entered his senior campaign tied for seventh in school history in interceptions and eighth in interception-return yards at 146.
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 started the 2013 season on fire by tying for team-high honors with 10 tackles - the fourth most in the Big 12 during the first weekend of play - to go along with a pair of sacks. The unselfishness he displayed by redshirting last year was rewarded as his teammates elected him a team captain prior to the 2013 campaign.
THE TRUMAN SHOW
Junior Jonathan Truman made his mark last year on special teams by leading the Wildcats with nine tackles on kickoffs and three on punts. The former walk-on from Kechi, Kan., earned a starting nod at linebacker in the 2013 opener and performed well as he notched a career-best 10 tackles, including a half tackle for loss.
BARNETT IN THE BACKFIELD
Sophomore safety Dante Barnett was thrown into the fire last year as he replaced an injured Ty Zimmerman for the final two regular-season contests. That experience helped Barnett as he made his third-career start and first alongside Zimmerman last Friday and turned in a seven-tackle performance, including one for a loss. He also carded his first-career interception early in the third quarter, which led to a Wildcat touchdown.
KRAUSE BEGINS FULL-TIME DUTY
Punter Mark Krause showcased his abilities in last year’s season opener in place of regular starter Ryan Doerr but did not play the rest of the year. He took the time to improve and punted well in the 2013 season opener by hitting five punts for a 43.8-yard average, including a long of 49 and one that was downed at the North Dakota State two-yard line.