PREVIEW: WILDCATS HEAD TO THE ROCKIES

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State puts its 6-4 record on the line against 4-6 Colorado Saturday at 1:30 (central time) at the Buffs' Folsom Field. Who will K-State start at quarterback? Tuesday coach Bill Snyder said he wasn't certain. One thing for sure is Daniel Thomas will start and needs only 104 yards to become the No. 3 rusher in Wildcat history.

"I do not have a time limit on when we are going to make a decision," said Wildcat coach

Bill Snyder at his weekly press conference. "Whenever it seems apparent to do what is best for us, we will make that decision."

With that being said, K-State headed west for a Big 12 meeting with Colorado leaving the fans to speculate on which quarterback – Carson Coffman or Collin Klein – will start against the Buffs. Klein, a native of Loveland, Colo.,

quarterbacked the Wildcats to victory against Texas two weeks ago, but last week Coffman got the start against Missouri in a game where the two would share snaps.

From that game, Snyder said, "Both graded out quite high, but that doesn't take away the fact we made some dramatic mistakes that were very costly."

Klein has rushed for consecutive 100-yard games, which is a first for a K-State quarterback since Allen Webb did so in 2004. As wild as it sounds, Klein's two-game rush total of 268 yards – 127 vs. Texas and 141 vs. Missouri – is more than the fleet-footed Michael Bishop ever rushed for in consecutive games from the quarterback position.

An interesting fact, Snyder will agree, but he will add, "In one game it was significant because we won; in one game it was not as significant because we lost." No matter which quarterback starts, Snyder indicated that, like last week, both quarterbacks will likely play.

One thing that is certain is that 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior Cody Hawkins will quarterback for Colorado.

The son of coach Dan Hawkins, who was released from his position two weeks ago, Hawkins needs 331 passing yards in the final two games (KSU and at NU), to catch school record-holder Joel Klatt's mark of 7,375 yards. Hawkins currently holds the CU school record for most touchdowns accountable for – rushing and passing – with 61.

"He's a very competitive young guy and a quality leader," Snyder said of Hawkins. "He's a gym rat-type guy who has been around the game all his life and is really into it. He has the capacity to manage the game quite well because of his knowledge in the system. He's elusive and a good scrambler."

The week following his father's firing, Hawkins completed 16-of-24 passes for 266 yards with three touchdowns in CU's victory over Iowa State.

"I admire him for that performance under those circumstances," Snyder said. "I'm sure that provided a great deal of motivation."

IT'S NOT ABOUT ALTITUDE:

Snyder dismisses the chatter about how difficult it is to play in the Rockies and at Folsom Field.

"The first couple years (early-1990s) we took all those oxygen tanks and prepared for the altitude," Snyder said. "After doing that a time or two, I said, ‘This is nonsense.' It doesn't make any difference. If you were up in the mountains it might be a different story, but it's not up in the mountains."

KEY TO THE GAME:

Taking care of things at the line of scrimmage will key K-State's victory. The ‘Cats rank second in the Big 12 and 21st in the nation in running the football (200 yards per game), and will be going against a rush defense that ranks second in the league and 35th in the nation (132 yards per game).

BY THE NUMBERS: KSU CU

Scoring Offense 31.8 22.9
Scoring Defense 25.7 28.8
Rushing Offense 200 129
Rushing Defense 220 132
Passing Offense 168 228
Passing Defense 216 266
Total Offense 368 358
Fumbles/Lost 18-8 18-7
Penalties/Yd. Avg. 50-40 74-54

SERIES NOTES:

CU 44, KSU 20, Tie 1 … K-State has won three of the last four games, but only four of the last nine … from 1985-1996, K-State went 0-11-1 against the Buffs, but then the ‘Cats won four in a arrow from 1997-2000 … in the Rockies K-State is only 5-26. With the Buffs headed to the Pac 10, this is the last scheduled game between the two teams.

UPDATING MR. THOMAS:

Daniel Thomas has rushed for 1,168 yards, which is 97 yards shy of his 2009 total of 1,265. No K-State back has had a higher total through 10 games than Thomas' 2010 start. Darren Sproles had 1,151 after 10 games in 2004, and 1,099 yards in 2003. Last year Thomas had 1,087 yards after 10 games.

He has rushed for 14 touchdowns, which is three more than last year. His 116.8-yard-per-game average is second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally.

"If we're going to have any chance, we have got to be able to tackle that guy," Cabral said. Thomas is just 104 yards away from tying Eric Hickson for third on the all-time rushing charts. Every back ahead of Thomas played four seasons at K-State. Thomas has played two seasons and just 22 games. Of those, he has been over 100 yards in 11 games. 1. Darren Sproles, 4,979; 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; 4. THOMAS, 2,433.

BY THE NUMBERS: KSU CU

Scoring Offense 31.8 22.9
Scoring Defense 25.7 28.8
Rushing Offense 200 129
Rushing Defense 220 132
Passing Offense 168 228
Passing Defense 216 266
Total Offense 368 358
Fumbles/Lost 18-8 18-7
Penalties/Yd. Avg. 50-40 74-54

SERIES NOTES:

CU 44, KSU 20, Tie 1 … K-State has won three of the last four games, but only four of the last nine … from 1985-1996, K-State went 0-11-1 against the Buffs, but then the ‘Cats won four in a arrow from 1997-2000 … in the Rockies K-State is only 5-26. With the Buffs headed to the Pac 10, this is the last scheduled game between the two teams.

BY THE NUMBERS:

1 – K-State leads the league in fewest penalty yards with 39.7 yards per game.

1 – Colorado leads the league in possession time with 32:34.

2 – Colorado needs two more wins – K-State and at Nebraska – to become bowl eligible.

8 – CU had eight sacks last week against Iowa State.

9-10 – The Buffs are ninth in scoring defense (28.8) and tenth in scoring offense (22.9). 49,816 – That was K-State's fan average for its six home games this season. The figure ranks ninth high in the Big 12. CU averages 48,007 per home game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

K-STATE:
• TRE WALKER (No. 50) led the team in tackles last week with 12. Walker is a true-freshman.

• BRANDON HAROLD (No. 91) has been demoted to second team after starting the season as one of the headliners on defense.

• AUBREY QUARLES (No. 89) has caught nine, nine and six passes in three of the last four games. Against the Tigers, he had 133 yards on receptions.

COLORADO:

• RB RODNEY STEWART (No. 5) ranks third in the league in rushing with 103 yards per game.

• CB CODY HAWKINS (No. 7) is the son of former head coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins ranks 10 in the league in passing yards at just 118 yards and has thrown just nine TDs. Last week he was 16-of-24 with 266 yards and three TDs. He was the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Week.

• LB B.J. BEATTY (No. 59) ranks fifth in the league with 11 tackles for negative yards.

• WR PAUL RICHARDSON became the first CU freshman to have two 100-yard receiving games.

NEXT WEEK:

K-State concludes regular season play at 3-7 North Texas at 3 p.m. next Saturday.


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