Kansas State at Oklahoma
Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005 • 6:10 p.m. (CT) • Fox Sports Net (National)
Norman, Okla. • Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (82,112) • Natural Grass
Radio • K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play
Stan Weber, color
Matt Walters, sidelines
Television • Fox Sports Net (national)
Bill Land, play-by-play
Gary Reasons, color
Jim Knox, sidelines
K-State opens Big 12 play at OU
Kansas State (3-0) opens Big 12 competition with an unblemished record for the first time since 2002 this week, when the Wildcats travel to Oklahoma to take on the defending Big 12 champion Sooners Saturday at 6:10 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Norman.
The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net with Bill Land (play-by-play) and Gary Reasons (analyst) calling the action. Jim Knox rounds out the broadcast team as the crew's sideline reporter.
Fox Sports Net's telecast of the game will mark the sixth straight meeting between Kansas State and Oklahoma to appear on television. The previous five, including Big 12 Championship game match-ups in 2000 and 2003, all aired on ABC. It is also the Wildcats' second national television appearance of the young season. K-State's victory at Marshall on Sept. 10 was televised nationally on ESPN2.
For those not near a television set, the game will also air live on radio across the 32-station K-State Sports Network. Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and former Wildcat quarterback Stan Weber (analyst) will call the action, with Matt Walters providing updates from the sidelines.
A Quick Look at the Wildcats
Kansas State has gotten off to a fast start in 2005 on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcat offense, which ranks 18th nationally in scoring with 36.7 points per game, is one of just 12 teams in the country this week averaging over 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing. K-State has featured a strong running game with just enough passing mixed in to keep opposing defenses honest.
The Wildcats open Big 12 action ranked 12th in the country in rushing (253.0 ypg) after topping the 200-yard mark in all three games this season. Through the air, K-State is averaging 213.3 yards per game and has proved to be one of the most efficient squads in the nation, ranking 16th with a rating of 154.93.
On defense, Kansas State appears to be re-emerging as one of the nation's best units. The Wildcats, who have yet to yield 100 yards rushing in a game, enter the week ranked 13th in rushing defense (81.0) and ninth in total defense (243.3 ypg).
On the scoring front, K-State ranks 25th and is yielding an average of 15.7 points per game. However, 31 of the 47 points (10.3 per game) the Cats have given up are a direct result of four turnovers inside the K-State 20-yard line and a blocked punt. The unit has also forced eight turnovers (3 interceptions/5 fumble recoveries) in three games after coming up with just 19 all of last season.
Kansas State will make its first conference call of the season when the Wildcats travel to Norman, Okla., to face the defending Big 12 champion Sooners Saturday. K-State is 4-5 overall and 2-5 on the road in Big 12 openers since the conference's formation in 1996 and will be out to snap a four-game slide in league lid-lifters. The Wildcats fell at Oklahoma in 2001, 38-37, in their last visit to Memorial Stadium to start the slide. Subsequent losses at Colorado in 2002 (35-31), at Texas (24-20) and last season at Texas A&M (42-30) followed as K-State's record in Big 12 openers slipped to 4-5 after after going 4-1 in conference debuts during the first five years of the league. Overall, Kansas State is 8-8 in conference openers under head coach Bill Snyder.
On the road again
For an unprecedented seventh straight season, Kansas State will be making its Big 12 debut on enemy turf. Overall, the Wildcats are 2-5 when opening conference play on the road. Overall, K-State's 2005 league lid-lifter at Oklahoma marks the eighth time in the 10-year history of the Big 12 that the Cats have opened conference action away from KSU Stadium. Only Oklahoma State, which opens its 2005 league schedule at home Saturday vs. Colorado, has been forced to open Big 12 play on the road as many times as Kansas State. Texas Tech made its seventh Big 12 debut on the road last season, but opens up 2005 at home vs. Kansas. And there appears to be no end in sight as Kansas State is scheduled to open its Big 12 season on the road in 2006 (at Baylor) and 2007 (at Texas) as well, according to the league's master schedule.
Wildcats in Norman
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium has not been among the most friendly of venues for Kansas State through the years (6-33-3 all time). Still, the Wildcats have more than held their own on the Sooners' home turf of late, coming away victorious in two of their last three trips to Norman. Since the start of the Big 12 in 1996, Oklahoma and Kansas State have split their two meeting at Memorial Stadium, with the Wildcats posting a 26-7 victory in 1996 and the Sooners eking out a 38-37 decision in 2001 during K-State's last visit to Norman.
Familiar foe, unfamiliar turf
Saturday's game will be the sixth meeting between Kansas State and Oklahoma since the start of the 2000 season, but just the second in Norman. In fact, just eight current Wildcats were listed in K-State's 2001 media guide the last time the Cats played in Memorial Stadium, with only Carlos Alsup making the trip to OU.
Including Big 12 Championship games, K-State has faced Oklahoma more times than any other South Division opponent since the formation of the league in 1996, going 3-4 vs. the Sooners. By the end of the 2005 season, Kansas State will have squared off with Oklahoma (8 games) twice as many times as Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State (4 games each).
K-State among the Big 12's best
As the Big 12 begins closing the books on the league's first decade, few teams can claim to have fared better in conference play than Kansas State. With four North Division titles, three championship game appearances, a league title and 51 wins, the Wildcats have plenty to be proud of. In terms of overall success, only Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska have laid claim to more conference victories than K-State, which has won over 70 percent of its league games since joining the Big 12.
Cats top dog on the Big 12 road
Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas State has been the conference's top road team (not including neutral site games), winning nearly 65 percent of its games in enemy stadiums. In nine years, the Wildcats are 23-13 when playing on the Big 12 road. In those nine seasons, Kansas State has won at least one Big 12 road game each season and have produced three or more road wins six times - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. K-State is also one of a select few teams in the league that have laid claim to a victory in every Big 12 stadium.
Saturday night's game at Oklahoma will be Kansas State's first of a tough three-game draw vs. Big 12 South Division opposition this season. And despite being swept by its southern division rivals a year ago, the Wildcats enter the match-up looking to build on one of the North Division's best resumes against the South in inter-divisional play. Not including Big 12 title games, K-State is 16-11 vs. the Big 12 South since the inception of the league. With the exception of the 2001 and 2004 seasons, when the Wildcats were swept by Big 12 South teams Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, K-State has notched at least one victory vs. the South each season, including perfect 3-0 marks in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Saturday's game at Oklahoma will be Kansas State's first test under the lights this season. Since the start of the 2002 season, the Wildcats are 11-5 in evening kicks, including a 10-4 mark in non-bowl games. However, K-State will be out to snap a three-game slide in evening kicks when the Wildcats take the field against the Sooners. K-State entered Big 12 play a year ago riding a seven-game winning streak in non-bowl night games. But their luck quickly ran out as the Wildcats struck out in evening tilts at Texas A&M, Kansas and at home vs. Texas Tech. In televised night games, Kansas State is 17-9 under head coach Bill Snyder.
Lid-lifters are tube time for Kansas State
Lights. Camera. Action! Big 12 Conference openers have been universally televised affairs for Kansas State. With Fox Sports Net on hand to nationally televise the Wildcats' 2005 Big 12 lid-lifter at Oklahoma to a national audience, all 10 of K-State's conference debuts have come before a television audience. The game will also mark Kansas State's 30th appearance on Fox Sports Net since 1996 and the Wildcats' 16th national broadcast on the network.
Sooner series stuff
The Wildcats and Sooners met in game six last season, with OU taking a 31-21 decision at KSU Stadium... Saturday's game between Kansas State and Oklahoma will be the 89th in a series that dates to 1908, the sixth since the start of the 2000 season, but just the second in Norman in the last eight years... Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 67-17, with four ties, however, K-State has won six of the last 10 meetings... OU has won four of the seven encounters since the two teams joined the Big 12... Five of the seven contests during the Big 12 era have been decided by 10 points or less, including all four Sooner victories... OU defeated K-State, 38-37, the last time the two teams met at Memorial Stadium in 2001... Kansas State and Oklahoma have split their two Big 12 Championship game meetings, with the Sooners winning in 2000 and the Wildcats taking the 2003 game.
• Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was a member of Bill Snyder's first staff at Kansas State, serving as defensive backs coach (1989-90) and co-defensive coordinator (1991-95)... Kansas State posted a 46-33-1 record during his seven-year tenure, including a 40-17-1 mark during the last four seasons, and participated in three bowl games.
• Stoops served on the staff with current Wildcat coaches Del Miller (offensive coordinator), Mo Latimore (defensive line), Greg Peterson (wide receivers) and Michael Smith (graduate assistant) as well as current Sooner assistant Brent Venables, who first served as a graduate assistant under Snyder before being elevated to linebackers coach and defensive run game coordinator.
• Stoops got his start in coaching as a graduate/volunteer assistant at Iowa from 1983-87 on a Hawkeye staff that included future head coaches Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Dan McCarney (Iowa State), Del Miller (Southwest Missouri State) and Don Patterson (Western Illinois).
• Snyder coached three members of the Oklahoma coaching staff as student-athletes, including two at Kansas State... Oklahoma offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chuck Long was tutored as an undergraduate at Iowa by Snyder, while assistants Venables (1989-92) and Darrell Wyatt (1986-89) played at K-State.
• Oklahoma administrative coordinator for football Matt McMillen is a 1985 graduate of Kansas State and served as associate athletic director for external affairs from 1987-97... OU Assistant AD/Media Relations Kenny Mossman previously served as the SID at K-State, while video coordinator Brian Martin was an assistant video coordinator with the Wildcats.
Undefeated K-State rolls into conference play
Coming off the biggest offensive yardage output in school history, Kansas State heads into Big 12 action with an undefeated record for the first time since the 2002 season. At 3-0, the Wildcats have now completed non-league play without a blemish in eight of 10 seasons since the league's founding. K-State has outscored its opposition by and average of three touchdowns thus far, including a 54-7 rout of North Texas in its last outing. Against the Mean Green, the Cats rolled up a school-record 658 yards and posted their largest margin of victory (47 points), since notching a 51-point win over Iowa State on Nov. 9, 2002.
Kansas State secured its 13th 3-0 start of the Bill Snyder era last week with its 54-7 victory over North Texas. The Wildcats will now look to go 4-0 out of the gate for the 10th time in the last 13 seasons when they take the field at Oklahoma. Since the start of the 1993 season, K-State has opened 4-0 in every year with the exception of 1997 (3-1), 2001 (2-2) and 2004 (2-2). As for omens, Kansas State has won or shared the Big 12 North Division title following four of its last six 4-0 starts, with the lone misses coming in 1996 and 2002.
Cats give bye blues the boot
Kansas State reversed a recent trend in a big way with its 54-7 victory over North Texas. The win snapped a three-year trend that had seen the Wildcats drop three straight regular-season games when coming off a bye week. However, each of those games were league openers played on the road vs. the likes of Colorado, Texas and Texas A&M. Last Saturday's victory over the Mean Green marked K-State's first win following a regular-season bye since 2001. During the Bill Snyder era, K-State is now 8-1 when playing at home the week after being idle.
Non-Conference success a staple for Cats
After closing out its non-conference slate at 3-0, Kansas State now stands at 60-12 (.833) overall vs. non-conference opposition under Head Coach Bill Snyder, including a 59-9 (.866) record since the start of the 1990 season. Of the nine losses since 1990, five occurred in bowl games, giving K-State a 53-4 (.930) record in all regular-season non-conference match ups over the past 16 years. The Wildcats are 47-4 (.922) in all non-conference home games under Snyder, with a 46-2 (.958) mark at KSU Stadium since the start of the 1990 campaign.
Snyder scintillating in September
Fast starts have propelled the Wildcats to winning seasons throughout the Bill Snyder era at Kansas State. Since the start of the 1992 season, K-State is a combined 42-3 (.933) in games played during the month of September. The lone losses during that stretch occurred vs. Fresno State on Sept. 11, 2004, vs. Marshall on Sept. 20, 2003 and on Sept. 29, 2001, at then-No. 3 Oklahoma, 38-37.
Kansas State's prowess in August - 6-0 all time - and September - 42-3 since 1992 - are well documented. However, the Wildcats have also been a solid team in October under head coach Bill Snyder. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, K-State is 23-15 (.622) in October.
Streaking with the Cats
It seems unthinkable, but Kansas State's three-game winning streak to open the 2005 season is the Wildcats' longest since K-State won seven in a row down the stretch of the 2003 season en route to the school's first Big 12 championship. The streak was the fifth longest in the nation heading into Kansas State's appearance in the 2005 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Included in that streak is also the last time K-State won consecutive road dates [at Iowa State (11/8/03) and at Nebraska (11/15/03)].
Kansas State extended its consecutive games scoring streak to 107 vs. North Texas. The 107-game stretch is a school record and one of the longest in the nation as the Wildcats have not been kept off the scoreboard since Colorado blanked K-State, 12-0, in 1996. The previous longest streak in school history was 60 games and occurred between 1991 and 1996. In the Big 12, only Colorado (199 games - sixth longest in the country) and Nebraska (114 games) own longer streaks than the Wildcats).
Kansas State extended its streak of scoring at least 21 points to 22 games in its 54-7 win over North Texas. In fact, the Wildcats have now scored 20 or more points in 35 straight contests. The last time Kansas State was held below 20 points occurred in a 17-14 loss to then-No. 13 Texas on Oct. 19, 2002 at KSU Stadium. The Wildcats's 35-game streak of scoring 20 or more points in a game is currently the second longest in the country. Only defending national champion Southern California has strung together more consecutive 20-plus point outings as the Trojans are currently in the midst of a 42-game run.
Rushing to victory
Annually one of the most productive ground attacks in the country, Kansas State is one of just two teams along with Rice to rank in the top 25 nationally in rushing offense in each of the last eight years. And with their 253.0 yard-per-game average in 2005's first three games, it appears that the Wildcats are at it again. Heading into the Oklahoma game, Kansas State ranks 12th nationally in rushing yards per game. At their current rate, K-State is on pace to rush for just nearly 2,800 yards this season. That figure would mark the ninth straight season that the Cats have rushed for over 2,000 yards.
With its 305 yards on the ground last week vs. North Texas, Kansas State has now topped 200 yards rushing in six of its last eight games. Ironically, K-State's 305-yard performance vs. North Texas was the first time the Cats have gone over the 300-yard mark since rushing for 393 in game three last season vs. Louisiana-Lafayete. In their last 34 games, the Wildcats have gone over the 200-yard mark on the ground 23 times (67.6 percent). And when K-State has been able to run the ball, the Wildcats have been overwhelmingly successful. Since 1990, K-State is 79-12 (.867) with a 100-yard rusher and an impressive 76-5 (.938) with at least 200 yards on the ground.
Kansas State rolled up 658 yards last week vs. North Texas to set the school record for total offensive yards in a game. It marked the first time K-State had been over the 500-yard mark since grinding out 502 in last year's season opener. The last time K-State totaled over 600 yards occurred during the 1998 campaign, when the Wildcats totaled 607 vs. NE Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe). The previous school record for total offense was set on Sept. 27, 1997, when Kansas State amassed 638 yards in a 58-0 win over Bowling Green.
Though its still early in the 2005 seasons, Kansas State's defense appers to have rebounded quite nicely from a tough 2004 campaing. Through three games, the Wildcats are yielding an average of just 244.3 yards per game to rank ninth nationally in total defense. K-State has also each of its first three opponents below 100 yards rushing and ranks 13th in against the run.
In addition to playing with improved spirit, Kansas State's defense has begun showing some moxie with their backs against the wall. Against Florida International, the Wildcats' defense thwarted three scoring chances, coming up with a fumble, an interception and a stop on downs inside their own 30-yard line. At Marshall, the K-State defense was even more impressive, forcing two fumbles, an interception, blocking a field goal and forcing two other attempts for a total of just six points on six drives that ended inside the Wildcat 30. In its most recent outing, the Wildcats allowed North Texas to cross midfield on only two of 13 drives.
It's not our fault
Kansas State's defense ranks 25th nationally in scoring defense, yielding an average of 15.7 points per game. However, the unit has actually played even better than that. Of the 47 points the Wildcats have given up this year, 31 (or 10.3 points per game) have come as a direct result of four turnovers inside the K-State 20-yard line and a blocked punt, meaning that opponents have need to drive a grand total of 43 yards to score two-thirds of their points. Overall, K-State has yielded just three scoring drives over 20 yards this season resulting in two TDs and a field goal.
Kansas State continues to be the nation's most effecient team on third downs on both sides of the ball. K-State is the only team in the country to rank in the top five nationally in both third down offensive and defensive conversions. The Wildcats offense is converting at a 63-percent clip, including third-and-goal situations, to rank No. 2 in the nation. On defense, K-State has allowed its opponents to convert on just 24 percent of their third down, good for fifth nationally. A big reason for the defensive success has been K-State's ability to force third-and-long situations. Through three games, opponents have needed to travel at least seven yards on 26 of 42 third downs 62 percent).
Third down go-to guys
Kansas State has converted 32 of its 51 (63 percent) third downs this season and has gone to numerous offensive weapons for the conversions. Thomas Clayton has converted on four third down plays, including his 38-yard touchdown run and 26-yard touchdown reception against Marshall. Jermaine Moreira and Jordy Nelson have also converted four times each while Allen Webb has called his own number four times in key third down situations.
Hurray For "Hollywood"
Perhaps no Wildcat had bigger shoes to fill coming into 2005 than Thomas Clayton, as the junior attempted to fill the void at running back left by the departure of Kansas State's all-time leading rusher Darren Sproles. But those shoes appear to be fitting just fine through the first two games of the year. Clayton has rolled up 329 yards, the most in school history for the first two games of a season. He would currently rank third nationallyand tops in the Big 12 in rushing with 164.5 yards per game but his absence from the North Texas game kept him out of the NCAA statistics for the week. Clayton was the first K-State player to gain over 100 yards on the ground in the first two games of a season since Josh Scobey did it during the 2001 campaign.
Webb is in the zone
Allen Webb may not have thrown for a ton of yardage just yet, but he has made the most of his chances. Through three games, the junior signal caller has completed 62.8-percent of his passes and has accumulated a 158.7 quarterback rating, which ranks 16th nationally. In fact, after completing 10-of-12 passes for a career-high 256 yards against North Texas, Webb set a school record for efficiency in a game with a efficiency rating of 300.9, shattering the previous record of 274.2 set back in 1997 by Michael Bishop against Northern Illinois. Webb also has thrown six touchdown passes through the first three games of the season, marking the first time for a K-State quarterback to do so since Jonathan Beasley also threw six through three games back during the 2000 season.
Quarterback Allen Webb evened his record as Kansas State's starting quarterback to 4-4 after K-State's 54-7 win over North Texas. Last season, Webb was just 1-4 when opening under center for the Cats.
High rate of returns
Coming off an impressive stretch run in 2004, junior Jermaine Moreira has picked up right where he left off in 2005 and then some. In two games, Moreira is K-State's leading pass catcher with 11 receptions but has really made his mark on special teams. Moreira ranks 15th nationally in punt returns. After producing a 67-yard punt return vs. Florida International, Moreira put his kick return abilities on display at Marshall, with three for 92 yards, including a 42-yarder that nearly went the distance. He then took one to the house against North Texas, a 62-yarder in which he dodged several defenders before breaking loose down the sidelines. He also had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown called back due to a penalty at Marshall.
Nose for the end zone
After toiling in the Kansas State secondary for the past two seasons, sophomore Jordy Nelson has taken to his new role in the Wildcats' receiving corps like a fish to water. In just three games, Nelson has hauled in a team-high 11 receptions, four of which have come on a third down conversion, for 142 yards and a team-best three touchdowns. Nelson has caught a touchdown reception in each of the first three games this season, marking the first receiver to do so since Quincy Morgan caught six touchdown passes in the first three games of the 2000 season.
Reserve backs make most of chances
Senior tailback Carlos Alsup and junior Donnie Anders both made the most out of their time in the backfield against North Texas. Alsup scored his first career touchdown in the second quarter on a six-yard run and went on to carry the ball nine times for 43 yards on in his first carries since the Troy State game in 2003. Anders scored on runs of three and 17 on the day in his first extensive playing time since 2003 as well.
Diaper dandy in backfield
Redshirt freshman tailback Parrish Fisher made his first career start last Saturday against North Texas and became the first freshman tailback to start for the Wildcats in the Bill Snyder era. Fisher carried 21 times for 169 yards against the Mean Green, becoming the first freshman ever at K-State to rush for over 100 yards in a game. Fisher also set a freshman record with 21 carries and is currently second all-time in single-season rushing by a freshman with 247 yards. Fisher needs 58 yards to become K-State's all-time freshman rushing leader as Roosevelt Duncan currently is tops with 304 yards back in 1976.
Archer on target to lead defense
Junior captain Brandon Archer heads into the Oklahoma game leading the Wildcat defense with 16 total tackles, including four for a loss of 14 yards. He opened the season with a team-best five tackles, including one for a loss of a yard, in the season opener against Florida International then continued his steady play at Marshall with eight stops and a fumble recovery. Through the North Texas game, Archer has recorded five or more tackles in nine of his last 10 games dating back to last season. In those nine games, Archer led the Wildcat defense in tackles three times and has also collected 10 or more stops on three occasions.
Justin the nick of time
Sophomore Justin McKinney is evolving into quite a player in the secondary early in his Wildcat career as he has come up with numerous big plays at crucial times. Through three games, McKinney, a reserve corner, is tops in the Big 12 in passes defended with four pass breakups and two interceptions for a 2.0 passes defended average. In week two, he finished the game at Marshall with just three total tackles, but forced a key fumble on a kickoff return during the first half that led to a K-State touchdown drive. His lone assisted tackle on the day also resulted in a Marshall fumble near the K-State goal line, though Marcus Watts was given credit for the force. Playing in just his second Division I-A game, the sophomore put an exclamation point on his performance by recording a pair of interceptions, with the last one coming at the Wildcat 12-yard line with just three seconds to play as the Thundering Herd was driving for a potential game-winning field goal.
Spreading the wealth
Through three games in 2005, quarterbacks Allen Webb and Allan Evridge have spread the ball around and found numerous targets through the air as 12 different receivers have caught passes so far this season. Against North Texas, 11 different Wildcats made receptions, including first career catches by Parrish Fisher, Ro Grigsby, Casey Hausman, Toney Coleman and Brett Alstatt. Jordy Nelson and Jermaine Moreira lead the receivers with 11 catches each so far during the 2005 season.
Snodgrass gives Cats a leg up
Junior placekicker showed signs of his strong right leg by kicking a 56-yard field goal in the spring game. Now, during the regular season, Snodgrass is 4-for-6 on the year in field goals with his makes coming from 31, 33, 39 and 57 yards. Against North Texas, Snodgrass booted a 57-yarder, which tied Jamie Rheem for the fourth-longest in school history. Rheem kicked a 57-yarder back in 1999. Snodgrass' 57-yard boot is also the third longest so far this season nationally and the second longest in the Big 12.
The start of the 2005 season saw numerous players not only switch positions but also making the transition to the other side of the ball. Marcus Watts switched from wide receiver to safety, Jordy Nelson from mainly a special teams player to wide receiver, fullback Ayo Saba from fullback to nose tackle and Jordan Bedore from defensive line to offensive line. Against North Texas, Watts saw time on both sides of the ball at safety and wide receiver while reserve nose tackle Ayo Saba carried the ball three times for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Clary holds down o-line
Senior offensive lineman Jeromey Clary is the anchor to a very young K-State offensive line in 2005. The All-Big 12 candidate has made 29 consecutive starts on the line for the Wildcats, the first 26 at right tackle before moving to left tackle this season.