2022 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship
12/13/10 K-State vs. 4/3/3 TCU
Date: Saturday, December 3, 2022
Kickoff: 11 a.m.
Location: Arlington, Texas
Stadium: AT&T Stadium
Series: Series tied, 8-8
TV: ABC (watch)
Chris Fowler (Play-by-Play)
Kirk Herbstreit (Analyst)
Holly Rowe (Sidelines)
National Radio: ESPN Radio
Mike Couzens (Play-by-Play)
Max Starks (Analyst)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 81 and 80, SXM App 81 and 80
Twitter Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Kansas State will be making its fourth all-time appearance in the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship on Saturday, as the 13th-ranked Wildcats will square off with third-ranked TCU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game will be televised nationally on ABC beginning at 11 a.m., with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe calling the action.
2) K-State is 9-3 this season with all three losses coming against teams that are currently ranked in No. 3 TCU, No. 18 Tulane and No 21 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 30 first-half points and used a dominant second-half defensive performance to top Kansas, 47-27. Deuce Vaughn ran for 147 yards and had 82 receiving yards, while Malik Knowles had two rushing touchdowns. Defensively, K-State held Kansas to just six points and 96 yards in the second half while holding the Jayhawks to their second-lowest offensive output of the year.
4) Deuce Vaughn has 1,295 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 (3,341) and moved into seventh place in school history for a season with his performance last week.
5) The Cats have been solid on defense, allowing just 19.4 points per game and 357.3 total yards per game. This week, they rank second nationally in turnover margin, ninth in interceptions, 10th in fourth down defense, 14th in scoring defense and 17th 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.
122 – K-State’s 122-point margin in first halves this season is the second-highest mark in the Big 12.
19.4 – Points per game allowed by K-State this season, the fewest in the Big 12 Conference through 12 games.
19 – Number of career 100-yard rushing games by Deuce Vaughn in his 35 games as a Wildcat.
15 – Combined second-half points given up by the Wildcats in the last five games (OSU, Texas, Baylor, WVU, Kansas).
1 – Big 12 ranking in scoring offense over the last five weeks of the season, as the Cats are averaging 40.2 points per game.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
- K-State is making its fourth appearance in the Big 12 Championship game and first since the 2003 season.
- The Wildcats are 1-2 in league championships games, defeating No. 1 Oklahoma in 2003 (35-7) and dropping games in 1998 (No. 10 Texas A&M) and 2000 (No. 1 Oklahoma).
- K-State won the 2012 Big 12 title when no title game existed. The Wildcats are in search of their fourth ever league title, as they also won the Big Six Conference in 1934 with a 5-0 record.
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 133 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 59.3% (64-44), trailing only Oklahoma (77.6%; 83-25) and Oklahoma State (64.8%; 70-38).
- During that stretch, the Wildcats are 35-19 (64.8%) at home in Big 12 play and 29-25 (53.7%) on the road.
SEVEN CONFERENCE WINS
- Kansas State finished the regular season with a 7-2 mark in Big 12 play.
- K-State has won seven conference games seven times in school history. This is the first time the Wildcats have hit that mark since 2014.
NINE IS FINE
- Kansas State earned its ninth victory of the season with a 47-27 victory over Kansas, the 14th time in school history the Wildcats had nine regular-season victories and the first since 2014.
- The Wildcats are looking for their 11th 10-win season in school history and the first since going 11-2 in 2012.
- K-State has eight 10-win seasons in the Big 12 era (since 1996).
- K-State has earned its 24th bowl appearance in school history, including its 11th in the last 13 years, this season.
- K-State was one of just 19 Power 5 programs to play in a bowl game 11 times in the last 13 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.
A WINNING HISTORY
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 101-32 career record, as his 75.9% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that are in at least their 10th season. He is also one of just 16 current Power 5 head coaches with at least 100 victories.
- Klieman, who is 29-19 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.
- Klieman is 6-6 in his career against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 with five of the victories coming at K-State.
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 (163).
- That figure leads the Big 12 as the Wildcats are 18 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 181).
- The Wildcats enter this week ranked second nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+1.17 per game). They are plus-14 on the year with 23 takeaways and nine 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 third with 43.4 penalty yards per game.
- The Wildcats have been under 40 penalty yards in seven contests 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 averaged 40.2 points per game over the last five games, a mark that ranks first in the Big 12 and fifth nationally among Power 5 schools.
- When looking at Big 12-only games, K-State ranks second in the league in scoring, averaging 35.2 points per Big 12 game.
- The Wildcats have scored at least 34 points seven times this season, their most since the 2015 campaign.
- K-State has topped 45 points each of the last two weeks – scoring 48 points at West Virginia and 47 points vs. Kansas. It was the first time the Wildcats totaled at least 45 points in consecutive Big 12 games since scoring 55 in back-to-back games against West Virginia and Texas Tech in 2012.
• K-State has put together nine 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 totaled at least 375 yard in every Big 12 game.
- Overall, the Wildcats have averaged 421.5 yards of offense in their 12 games this year, which currently ranks fifth in school history. Their 6.3 yards per play ranks also ranks fifth.
- K-State averaged 6.57 yards per play in Big 12 games, which was just 0.02 yards per play shy of first.
QUICK STARTS & QUICK STRIKES
• The K-State offense has been getting out to quick starts as the Wildcats are outscoring opponents, 262-140, in first halves this season. The Wildcats’ 122-point margin in the first 30 minutes ranks second in the league to Texas (141).
- 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 19 touchdown drives of five plays or less, while 26 have lasted three minutes or less.
EFFICIENCY ON THE GROUND…
• The Cats enter this week ranked 17th nationally and 11th among Power 5 teams with 210.0 rushing yards per game.
- This year’s squad has 2,520 rushing yards to rank 10th in school history, while their 5.18 yards per rush ranks third 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 63.98% completion percentage ranks fourth in school history, while the Wildcats have thrown only five interceptions this season. K-State’s current 1.24% interception clip is the lowest in school history.
- Additionally, K-State holds a team passing efficiency mark of 147.2 to rank sixth in school history.
- Since the Oklahoma State game in Week 9, the Wildcats hold a 162.5 passer rating to rank fifth among Power 5 teams and first in the Big 12.
VAUGHN BACK AT IT
• Running back Deuce Vaughn ranks 16th nationally and third in the Big 12 with 1,295 rushing yards.
- Vaughn also ranks 10th nationally and second in the Big 12 in scrimmage yards (rushing plus receiving) per game at 136.9.
- A threat virtually every time he touches the ball, Vaughn has gone for at least 10 yards on 136 of his 717 career scrimmage touches (19.0%) and at least 20 yards 50 times (7.0%).
• 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 3,341 rushing yards and 1,250 receiving yards over his 35 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 five 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) and Kansas (147 rush/82 receive).
- In the Big 12 era, no other player has more than three such games in their career, which includes former Wildcat Darren Sproles.
- Besides the Texas and Kansas games, Vaughn’s other 70/70 games have come against Kansas (2020 and 2021) and Texas Tech (2020).
HITTING 1,000 AGAIN
• Deuce Vaughn reached the 1,000-yard mark for a second-straight year as he currently has 1,295 yards to rank seventh 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).
WHERE THERE’S A WILL…
• Quarterback Will Howard has thrown for 13 touchdowns in his last five games played, tied for the most in four-consecutive games by a Wildcat in which they played (Ell Roberson, 2003).
- 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).
• Will Howard enters the Big 12 Championship with a season passing efficiency mark of 170.2, which is currently the top mark in school history (minimum 100 attempts).
- Second on the list is Michael Bishop, who had a 159.6 mark in 1998.
- Howard’s 135.0 career pass efficiency rating is seventh in school history. That number has been given a big boost this year as he entered the season with a 114.1 mark.
NOT JUST A BLOCKER
• Sophomore tight end Ben Sinnott has been on fire as of late, combining for 254 yards and three touchdowns on 15 catches over the last five 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 367 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.
MALIK MAKING MOVES
• The Big 12 Championship will mark the 50th career game played by senior wide receiver Malik Knowles, who ranks highly in K-State history in many career categories.
- Knowles is eighth in fifth in school history in career all-purpose yards (3,857), tied for seventh in touchdown receptions (14), tied for eighth in yards (1,821) and tied for 10th in catches (125).
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 20.2 points per game, which ranks 17th nationally and tops in the Big 12. Additionally, they are allowing only 350.8 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 has held its opponent out of the end zone on four occasions this season, including three in Big 12 play.
- 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).
STOUT IN THE SECOND HALF
• Kansas State’s second-half adjustments on defense have been masterful over the last five games as the Wildcats have only surrendered a combined 15-second half points over the last five games against Oklahoma State (0), Texas (3), Baylor (0), West Virginia (6) and Kansas (6).
- For the season, K-State is allowing an average of just 7.75 points in second halves.
• 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 22 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 Big 12 opponents this year under their season averages coming into the game.
- Since head coach Chris Klieman’s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 29 of their 36 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 ninth in the nation and second 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 40th in the country and third in the conference with a 35.5% rate.
- The Wildcats have allowed their opponents to convert on third down under 50% of the time in nine of 12 games this season.
- On fourth downs, K-State ranks 10th nationally by allowing a 34.5% clip, which is its lowest rate allowed since 2001 (21.0%).
PLAYING BEHIND THE LINE
• K-State enters play this week ranked sixth in the Big 12 with 61 tackles for loss (5.4 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 10.0 TFLs. Linebacker Austin Moore is right behind him with 9.0 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 Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist and semifinalist for the Bednarik and Rotary Lombardi awards, 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 third 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.
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 66 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 376 returns without allowing opponents to find paydirt on a kickoff return.
- The streak is the longest in the Big 12, 33 more than the next closest team (TCU – 343).
- Since K-State allowed its last kickoff-return touchdown, the Wildcats have scored 14 of their own.
ZENTNER GREAT AT PUNTING…
• Ty Zentner has taken advantage of his second senior season in 2022 as he is trying to leave K-State near the top of multiple top-10 lists.
- A product of Topeka, Kansas, Zentner was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. He ranks 17th nationally, second in the Big 12 and third in school history with a 44.6-yard average this season. Additionally, he is second in K-State history in career average (43.29).
- Those averages are held up by seven 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).
- Zentner, who held a 62.7-yard average on three punts last week at Kansas, boomed a career-long 71-yard punt. It is the longest punt in the Big 12 this season and the longest by a Wildcat since James Garcia hit a 78-yarder at Texas in 1998.
… AND PLACEMENTS
• Ty Zentner’s prowess as a punter is impressive considering that over the last five games he has also handled placements and continued to kick off.
- Since taking over placements starting with the Oklahoma State game, Zentner has gone 8-for-8 on field goals and 25-for-25 on extra points.
- 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.
- At West Virginia, Zentner hit a 53-yarder right before halftime, which was tied for the 10th-longest field goal in school history and one yard shy of the longest in the Big 12 this season.
- On kickoffs, Zentner has totaled 48 touchbacks on 77 attempts this season (62.3%), while he is 128 -for-212 (60.4%) in his career.
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 second in school history in career kickoff-return yards (1,646) and sixth in kickoff-return average (27.9).
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 (15.3), while he is second in touchdowns and sixth in total punt-return yards (626).
- His four punt-return touchdowns rank second in school history and are tied for sixth in Big 12 history.