Kansas at 15/15/13 K-State
Date: Saturday, November 26, 2022
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
Series: Kansas leads, 65-50-5
TV: FOX (watch)
Tim Brando (Play-by-Play)
Spencer Tillman (Analyst)
K-State Radio: K-State Sports Network; k-statesports.com (Listen)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 134 or 199, SXM App 953
Twitter Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Following a 48-31 road win at West Virginia, Kansas State returns home to close out the 2022 regular season with the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown against in-state rival KU. The Wildcats can clinch a berth in the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship with a win against the Jayhawks. The game will be televised nationally on FOX with a 7 p.m. kickoff from Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
2) K-State is 8-3 this season with all three losses coming against teams that are currently ranked in No. 4 TCU, No. 19 Tulane and No 24 Texas. The Cats are bowl eligible for the third time under Chris Klieman and will advance to their 24th bowl appearance in school history, including the 11th in the last 13 seasons. Klieman is the first coach in school history to send three of his first four squads to the postseason.
3) Last time out, K-State scored 41 points in a dominant first half against West Virginia – the most first-half points by the Wildcats under Klieman. Will Howard had a big day, throwing for 294 yards (19-of-27) and accounting for three touchdowns, while Malik Knowles eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the third time this season, finishing with six catches and 111 yards and a touchdown.
4) Deuce Vaughn has 1,148 rushing yards this season to record his second-straight season with 1,000 rushing yards – just the third player in school history with multiple 1,000-yard seasons. He ranks second in school history in career rushing yards (3,194) and moved into the top 10 in school history for a season.
5) The Cats have been solid on defense, allowing just 18.7 points per game and 361.8 total yards per game. This week, the Cats rank fourth nationally in turnover margin, 11th in fourth down defense, sixth in interceptions, 15th in scoring defense and 19th in pass efficiency defense. The Cats have kept each of their Big 12 opponents this year under their season scoring average entering its game against K-State while also holding three conference opponents without a touchdown.
113 – K-State’s 113-point margin in first halves this season is the second-highest mark in the Big 12.
20.0 – Points per game allowed by K-State since its switch to the 3-3-5 alignment prior to the 2021 season (24 games).
18 – Number of career 100-yard rushing games by Deuce Vaughn in his 33 games as a Wildcat.
15 – Number of interceptions recorded by the Wildcat defense, which is first in the Big 12 and sixth nationally.
1 – Number of wins needed to clinch a spot in this year’s Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship game (vs. TCU).
A WINNING TRADITION
- Kansas State has been one of the best Big 12 teams since the inception of the conference in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 132 victories, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas.
- The Wildcats are also third in the conference in winning percentage since round-robin play began in 2011. They sit at 58.9% (63-44), trailing only Oklahoma (77.6%; 83-24) and Oklahoma State (65.4%; 70-37).
- During that stretch, the Wildcats are 34-19 (64.2%) at home in Big 12 play and 29-25 (53.7%) on the road.
CONFERENCE WIN NO. 6
- Kansas State remained in second place in the Big 12 standings with its sixth league win last week at West Virginia.
- K-State has won six conference games 12 times in school history, and this is the first time the Wildcats have hit that mark since 2016.
- Of the six wins in Big 12 play, four have come on the road as K-State has won four Big 12 games for just the third time in school history (1998 and 2012).
- K-State has earned its 24th bowl appearance in school history, including its 11th in the last 13 years, this season.
- Entering 2022, K-State was one of just 25 Power 5 programs to play in a bowl game 10 times in the previous 12 seasons.
- Chris Klieman is the first coach in school history to lead three of his first four Wildcat teams to bowl appearances.
TAKING DOWN TOP-10s
- K-State earned its second victory over an AP Top-10 team this season when it shut out Oklahoma State, 48-0. It is the first time in school history the Wildcats have taken down multiple AP Top-10 teams in one season.
- The Wildcats are now 5-3 in their last eight games against top-10 teams dating back to Nov. 18, 2017, a span that began with a 45-40 victory at No. 10 Oklahoma State. Prior to that, the Cats were just 1-15 in their previous 16 tries.
- Prior to Saturday-night’s contest, the Wildcats will honor 28 seniors. The list includes 12 players that hail from the state of Kansas.
A WINNING HISTORY
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 100-32 career record, as his 75.8% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that are in at least their 10th season. He is also one of just 15 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 victories.
- Klieman, who is 28-19 since arriving at K-State, came to Manhattan after capping his five-year stint as head coach at North Dakota State by winning his fourth national championship in 2018. He guided the 2018 Bison to a perfect 15-0 record.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
- Another staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats are second in the nation in fewest turnovers since 2012 (162).
- That figure leads the Big 12 as the Wildcats are 18 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 180).
- The Wildcats enter this week ranked fourth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+1.18 per game). They are plus-13 on the year with 21 takeaways and eight turnovers.
- K-State has not finished in the top 10 nationally in turnover margin since 2016 when it finished fourth (+1.00 per game). The current turnover margin would be K-State’s best since it finished at +1.46 per game in 2012 to rank third nationally.
- K-State has been one of the most disciplined teams in the Big 12, ranking second with 42.5 penalty yards per game.
- The Wildcats have been under 40 penalty yards in seven contests – including each of the last two games – and 30 yards or fewer four times.
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TDs
- K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 23 seasons as it has 129 since 1999, seven more than the next closest team (Alabama – 122).
- Kansas State has three non-offensive scores this year. The Wildcats began the year with a Desmond Purnell blocked punt return against South Dakota, while Phillip Brooks took a punt 76 yards for a score against Missouri. Cincere Mason had a 37-yard interception return touchdown at West Virginia.
KLEIN IS ONE OF FOUR
- A 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist and one of the best signal callers in school history, Collin Klein is in his first season as K-State’s offensive coordinator.
- Klein is one of just four Power 5 offensive coordinators to play quarterback at the school in which they work. The other three are Brandon Streeter (Clemson), Tommy Rees (Notre Dame) and Tavita Pritchard (Stanford).
• K-State has put together eight high offensive outputs in Big 12 play, going at least 375 yards in every conference game, including 450 yards on four occasions.
- It marks the first time ever in Big 12 play (since 1996) that the Wildcats have had eight games with at least 375 yards.
- Overall, the Wildcats have averaged 419.6 yards of offense in their 11 games this year, which currently ranks fifth in school history. Their 6.2 yards per play ranks seventh.
- K-State has averaged 6.5 yards per play in Big 12 games, which ranks third in the league.
QUICK STARTS & QUICK STRIKES
• The K-State offense has been getting out to quick starts as the Wildcats are outscoring opponents, 232-119, in first halves this season. The Wildcats’ 113-point margin in the first 30 minutes ranks second in the league to Texas (143).
- Included in that are some of the fastest scores in school history. Malik Knowles scored on the first offensive play of the year – a 75-yard end around against South Dakota – just 10 seconds into the game, which was the fastest score in a game in school history. The other was an 18-yard run by Adrian Martinez just 40 seconds into the Texas Tech game, the 10th-fastest score in school history.
- Going somewhat against the norm of how K-State has traditionally operated, the Wildcats have 18 touchdown drives of five plays or less, while 22 have lasted three minutes or less.
EFFICIENCY ON THE GROUND…
• The Cats enter this week ranked 17th nationally and 10th among Power 5 teams with 208.2 rushing yards per game.
- K-State’s current 5.2 yards per carry ranks 21st nationally and is the third-best mark in school history.
- The Wildcats had a season-high 343 rushing yards against Texas Tech, their most in a Big 12 game since posting 345 yards against Oklahoma State in 2016.
…AND THROUGH THE AIR
• Although the Cats do not air it out as much as their Big 12 brethren, they are efficient and have some explosive plays.
- K-State’s current 64.8% completion percentage ranks third in school history, while the Wildcats have thrown only five interceptions this season. K-State’s current 1.33% interception clip is the lowest in school history.
- Additionally, K-State holds a team passing efficiency mark of 145.6 to rank eighth in school history.
- The Wildcats have three pass plays that have gone for 60 or more yards – including an 81-yard touchdown at Iowa State – to tie for 13th nationally, while they are one of just 17 teams to have a pass of at least 80 yards this season.
- The 81-yarder from Adrian Martinez to Phillip Brooks against the Cyclones was the only touchdown by either team in the game. It is tied for the 11th-longest pass play in the nation this year and was the 10th-longest pass play in school history.
VAUGHN BACK AT IT
• Running back Deuce Vaughn ranks 16th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 with 1,148 rushing yards.
- Vaughn also ranks 14th nationally and third in the Big 12 in scrimmage yards (rushing plus receiving) per game at 128.5.
- A threat virtually every time he touches the ball, Vaughn has gone for at least 10 yards on 133 of his 690 career scrimmage touches (19.3%) and at least 20 yards 47 times (6.8%).
HITTING 1,000 AGAIN
• Deuce Vaughn reached the 1,000-yard mark for a second-straight year as he currently has 1,148 yards to rank ninth in school history.
- He is just the third player in school history with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Darren Sproles (2002, 2003, 2004) and Daniel Thomas (2009, 2010).
• The high marks by Deuce Vaughn are not only due to his prowess as a runner, but he has been one of the best backs in the nation on the receiving end as he has 3,194 rushing yards and 1,168 receiving yards over his 34 career games.
- He was the fastest player in Big 12 history to go over 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a career, reaching those marks in his 32nd career game. He was also tied for the fastest to get there by any player in the country since 1996.
• Deuce Vaughn has four career games in which he has totaled at least 70 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards, including this year against Texas (73 rush/86 receive).
- In the Big 12 era, only Vaughn and Darren Sproles have tallied such games for the Wildcats as Sproles did it on three occasions.
- Besides the Texas game, Vaughn’s other 70/70 games have come against Kansas (2020 and 2021) and Texas Tech (2020).
WILL SLINGING IT AROUND
• Quarterback Will Howard has thrown 11 touchdown passes in his last four games played, tied for the most in four-consecutive games by a Wildcat in which they played.
- He is tied with Ell Roberson (2003 vs. Oklahoma State, Colorado, Kansas and Baylor) and Josh Freeman (2008 vs. North Texas, Montana State, Louisville and Louisiana).
- Impressively, two of Howard’s games have come in relief, throwing for two score at TCU and three more at Baylor.
- In Howard’s first start of the season – a 48-0 win at Oklahoma State – he tied the school record with four touchdown passes while also setting a career high with 296 passing yards.
- It was the first time a Wildcat had four passing touchdowns in a game since Jesse Ertz in the 2017 season opener against Central Arkansas, while it was the first against a Big 12 opponent since Jake Waters against Kansas in 2014.
- Each of his scoring strikes against the Cowboys came in the first half, marking the third time in school history a player had four in a half. The other two were by Michael Bishop (1997 vs. Northern Illinois) and Paul Watson (1988 vs. Louisiana Tech).
NOT JUST A BLOCKER
• Sophomore tight end Ben Sinnott has been on fire as of late, combining for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 13 catches over the last two games. Included in that stretch were career highs in catches (7), yards (89) and touchdowns (2) at Baylor.
- It was the first time a K-State tight end had multiple touchdowns in a game since Jarrett Grosdidier against Indiana State in 1996, while it was the most receptions by a Wildcat tight end since Rashaad Norwood also had seven at Baylor in 2006.
- Sinnott’s 356 receiving yards this season are the 10th most ever by a K-State tight end and the most since Zach Trujillo had 389 yards in 2014.
ADRIAN CLOSE TO HISTORY
• Quarterback Adrian Martinez is close to becoming the second player in FBS history with 10,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in a career.
- Entering this week’s game, Martinez has thrown for 9,752 yards and rushed for 2,916 yards.
- The only other player to hit the 10,000/3,000 mark was Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, who threw for 10,098 yards and rushed for 4,112 yards from 2007 to 2010.
A BIG TURNAROUND
• The K-State defense switched from a four-man front to a 3-3-5 alignment in 2021, and the change has paid off.
- In the 24 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 20.0 points per game, which is tied for 16th nationally and ranks second in the Big 12. Additionally, they are allowing only 352.7 yards per game over that time, which ranks second in the league.
- Over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, K-State allowed 26.1 points per game and 401.6 yards.
• K-State’s game at Baylor marked the fourth time this season – and third in Big 12 play – that the K-State defense held an opponent without a touchdown.
- The last time the Wildcats did not surrender a touchdown in four games overall was 2002 (Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, Kansas and Missouri).
- The last time the Wildcats did give up a touchdown in three Big 12 games was 2001 (Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri).
• Kansas State shut out No. 9 Oklahoma State, as the Wildcats’ 48-0 victory was the largest ever shutout win by a lower-ranked team against an AP Top-10 team.
- It tied for the fifth-largest shutout win ever over an AP Top-10 team and the largest since No. 10 USC was shut out 51-0 by No. 1 Notre Dame in 1966. It was also the first time the Wildcats ever shut out an AP Top-10 team.
- The shutout was the Wildcats’ second of the season (South Dakota) and the first against a Big 12 opponent since blanking Texas, 23-0, in 2014. It is the first time K-State has had multiple shutouts in a season since 2002 (vs. KU and Louisiana-Monroe).
SHUT ’EM OUT
• Kansas State is one of four teams that have two shutouts this season, joining Alabama (vs. Utah State and Austin Peay), Georgia (vs. Samford and Vanderbilt) and Minnesota (vs. Rutgers and New Mexico State).
- Of the 18 shutouts by FBS teams against other FBS opponents this season, the Wildcats did theirs against the highest scoring team as Oklahoma State was averaging 44.7 points per game entering the contest.
- The next biggest shutout on the list was Texas’ 49-0 win over an Oklahoma team that was averaging 37.0 points per game entering the contest.
• K-State has held all of its opponents this year under their season averages coming into the game (excluding the opener).
- Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 28 of their 35 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.
PICK ME, PICK ME
• K-State has recorded 15 interceptions to rank sixth in the nation and tops in the Big 12. They have multiple INTs in six games this year, carding four vs. Missouri and two apiece against Tulane, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor and WVU.
- Five of the 15 interceptions have come from linebackers, the most from that position group for a season since 1998 when Jeff Kelly (3) and Mark Simoneau (2) combined for five.
- K-State’s four interceptions against Missouri came on four-straight possessions. It was the first time they accomplished that feat since the 2010 Texas game.
THIRD/FOURTH DOWN DEFENSE
• A year after ranking 78th nationally and sixth in the Big 12 by allowing a 35.4% conversion rate on third down, K-State enters this week’s game ranked 35th in the country and third in the conference with a 34.4% rate.
- The Wildcats have allowed their opponents to convert on third down under 50% of the time in nine of 11 games this season, including an 8.3% clip against Tulane.
- On fourth downs, K-State ranks 11th nationally by allowing a 32.1% clip, which is the lowest rate allowed by the Wildcats since 2001 (21.0%).
PLAYING BEHIND THE LINE
• K-State enters play this week ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 61 tackles for loss (5.5 per game).
- The Cats have recorded three games with 10 or more TFLs for the first time since the 2012 season as they had 10 against each South Dakota, Missouri and Texas Tech.
- The team leader in that department is Felix Anudike-Uzomah with 9.0 TFLs. Linebacker Austin Moore is right behind him with 8.0 TFLs, and defensive end Brendan Mott has 7.0.
• After making a name for himself in 2021, junior defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah has kept things going in 2022.
- A semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, Anudike-Uzomah has 7.5 sacks this season to rank second in the Big 12, while he has a pair of forced fumbles to tie for second in the Big 12.
- A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Anudike-Uzomah has 19.5 career sacks to rank 10th in school history. He also has eight career forced fumbles, which are one shy of the school record currently held by three others.
- The production by Anudike-Uzomah has him ranked 23rd on the Pro Football Focus 2023 NFL Draft Big Board, which is impressive considering he came to K-State in 2020 ranked as the 114th-best weakside defensive end and 2,421st overall player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, while he was unranked by Rivals.
OLD FACE, NEW PLACE
• Safety Josh Hayes is in his sixth year of college football and third school after transferring in the spring from Virginia.
- However, Hayes, a product of Lakeland, Florida, reunited with head coach Chris Klieman and defensive coordinator/safeties coach Joe Klanderman in Manhattan after the trio were together at North Dakota State. Hayes played as a true freshman and sophomore in 2017 and 2018 under Klieman before he became the K-State head coach for the 2019 season.
- Hayes has played in 65 career games, which is tied for third in the nation among active players and tops in the Big 12.
- Hayes earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors following the Iowa State game in which he had a team-high and career-best 11 tackles – including one for a loss – and a pass breakup.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• One of the main reasons the Wildcats have been a successful program the last three decades is a knack for momentum-swinging plays in the return game.
- Since 2005 (17-plus seasons), the Wildcats have a combined 60 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns, 21 more than second-place Alabama (39) and 26 more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma State – 34).
- Of the 60 total returns, a nation-leading 31 are on kickoff returns. The next closest team is San Diego State with 20.
- With two punt-return touchdowns this season, K-State has now tallied a punt-return score in every season since 2014, as the nine-year stretch is the longest in school history.
DEFENSE ON KICKOFF RETURNS
• Kansas State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 375 returns without allowing opponents to find paydirt on a kickoff return.
- The streak is the longest in the Big 12, 37 more than the next closest team (TCU – 338).
- Since K-State allowed its last kickoff-return touchdown, the Wildcats have scored 14 of their own.
BROOKS BACK IN THE END ZONE
• Phillip Brooks recorded his fourth career punt-return touchdown against Missouri, a 76-yarder en route to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
- His 76-yard return is the 12th longest in the nation this year.
- He leads the nation among active players in career punt-return average (15.8), while he is second in touchdowns and fourth in total punt-return yards (631).
- His four punt-return touchdowns rank second in school history and are tied for sixth in Big 12 history.
KNOWLES WITH A KNACK
• Malik Knowles is the latest Wildcat with a knack for kickoff returns as he was a 2021 Second Team All-American and a 2022 Preseason All-American.
- Knowles is tied for fourth in school history in career kickoff return touchdowns thanks to scores last year in back-to-back weeks at Oklahoma State and against Oklahoma in addition to one at Mississippi State in 2019.
- A product of Mansfield, Texas, Knowles is tied for second nationally among active players with three career kickoff-return scores.
- Knowles currently ranks seventh in school history in career kickoff-return average and sixth nationally among active players.
ZENTNER’S THREE PHASES
• Punter/kickoff man Ty Zentner is taking advantage of a second senior season in 2022, and he has added field goal kicking to his repertoire.
- Over the last four games, Zentner has handled all three kicking duties, going 7-for-7 on field goals and 19-for-19 on extra points. The extra duty hasn’t hurt his punting ability as he has averaged 44.1 yards on 10 attempts and had five land inside the 20-yard line over those four contests.
- Following the first game working all three disciplines – which was K-State’s win over No. 9 Oklahoma State – Zentner was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
- A product of Topeka, Kansas, Zentner was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. He ranks third in the Big 12 and ninth in school history with a 43.4-yard average this season. Additionally, he is fourth in K-State history in career average (42.77).
- Those averages are held up by six career games with an average of at least 45.0, including a 54.2-yard average against Missouri, which ranked as the second-highest punting average game in school history (minimum 4 attempts).
- His contest against the Tigers featured a career-long punt of 66 yards.
- On kickoffs, Zentner has totaled 124 touchbacks on 204 career kickoffs (60.8%) since 2020.