Welcome the 108th home season of exciting Kansas State Wildcat Football!
No. 5-ranked Kansas State (1-0) got off to a hot start (literally) in its season opener last Saturday against California at Arrowhead Stadium. With field temperatures measuring well over 100 degrees at kickoff, the Wildcats rolled up 535 yards of total offense nearly 112 yards above the Wildcats' 2002 total offense average of 423.4 yards per game as K-State cruised to a 42-28 win over California. Today's game is the season opener for Troy State. The Trojans are coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2002 and return 12 starters, including quarterback Hansell Bearden and wide receiver Jason Samples.
Kansas State's Bill Snyder, enters Saturday's home opener with a 117-51-1 (.692) record in 14-plus seasons with the Wildcats. Larry Blakeney is in his 13th season with the Trojans' and has compiled a 102-42-1 (.703) record at Troy State.
Today's game is the first meeting between Kansas State and Troy State on the gridiron. Troy State, a former NCAA Division I-AA power located in Troy, Ala., made the move to 1-A for the 2001 season. Currently playing as an Independent, the Trojans will officially move into a league in 2004, when Troy State joins the Sun Belt Conference.
Noting Troy State
It will be a young Troy State team that takes the field in today's contest vs. Kansas State. The Trojans are in the midst of a youth movement after losing 10 starters and 27 lettermen from a year ago. In fact, the Trojans have just one senior starter on the depth chart and entered fall camp with only 16 on their entire roster. The inexperience, coupled with a brutal schedule that has Troy State on the road for eight of its 12 games, won't make rebounding from a 4-8 record in 2002, which was just the Trojans' third losing season under head coach Larry Blakeney, any easier.
Leading the way on offense will be senior signal caller Hansell Bearden, who started every game of the 2002 season. Junior defensive end Demarcus Ware and junior free safety Derrick Ansley will highlight the Trojans' defensive charges, which will be coordinated by former K-State defensive end Vic Koenning.
Today's Special Guests
The Kansas State football program will celebrate its past, with three reunions during the 2003 season, beginning with today's acknowledgment of the 1982 Wildcats, K-State's first ever bowl team. Then head coach Jim Dickey's "Making Tracks" squad of 1982 was led by team MVP and quarterback Darrell Dickey, who threw for 1,225 yards. The Wildcats finished the season with a 6-5-1 record and earned a berth to play Wisconsin in the Independence Bowl. Just the third K-State team since 1936 to finish with a winning record at the time, the team featured such standouts as All-Big Eight first teamers Mike Wallace (SE), Greg Best (CB), Reggie Singletary (DT) as well as current Troy State defensive coordinator and former Wyoming head coach Vic Koenning (DE).
Kansas State held steady in both polls this week, maintaining its No. 5 spot in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll as well as its No. 7 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 following its workman-like win over California. One-of-three Big 12 Conference teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll to open the season, K-State's No. 5 preseason ranking was the highest ever for the Wildcats, who have appeared in the top 25 of six preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls since joining the Big 12 in 1996, but never higher than the No. 6 ranking the Cats earned prior to the 1998 season. In the AP Top 25, K-State's No. 7 preseason ranking is the highest debut for the Wildcats since opening at No. 6 in the 1998 poll.
No Trojan Horse
Troy State is 0-5 all-time vs. ranked opponents.
The Envelope, Please
For the first time in the eight-year history of the Big 12 Conference, Kansas State has been picked to win the league's North Division. The Wildcats have been tabbed as high as second three times (1998, 2000 and 2001), and predicted to finish third during four other seasons. K-State went on to win Big 12 North titles in 1998 and 2000. Over the first seven years of the league, the media has correctly predicted seven of the eventual 14 division champions.
August Games Agree with K-State
Playing early-season games is apparently no burden on Kansas State. Including the Wildcats' 42-28 win over Cal last Saturday, K-State is now 5-0 in games played during the month of August, including a 4-0 mark under head coach Bill Snyder. Counting the 2003 BCA Classic, the Wildcats have played an August tilt in three of the last four seasons. The only August matchup played prior to the Bill Snyder era at Kansas State occurred on August 30, 1986, when K-State defeated Western Illinois, 35-7, at KSU Stadium.
Streaking with the Cats
Kansas State brings a number of streaks into today's home opener vs. Troy State:
The Wildcats have won 36 consecutive regular-season games against non-conference opposition, including K-State's season-opening victory over California last Saturday. The win over Cal was also the Wildcats' 14th straight in a season-opener.
Kansas State has won 13 straight home openers.
Overall, K-State has won 38 consecutive non-conference home games. The Wildcats' last non-conference loss on Wagner Field occurred on Oct. 17, 1992, when Utah State handed Kansas State a 28-16 setback.
The Wildcats enter today's game riding the nation's fourth-longest overall winning streak. Dating back to last season, K-State has won seven games in a row. Only Ohio State (14), Boise State (11) and Southern California (8) own longer in-tact winning streaks.
Rushing to victory
California became the latest opponent to be outgained on the ground by Kansas State. The Wildcats rolled up a massive 330 to 62 rushing edge over the Golden Bears last Saturday in the BCA Classic, marking the 14th consecutive game K-State has outrushed an opponent. Since 1990, Kansas State is 63-3 when rushing for at least 200 yards. The Cats piled up 330 vs. the Golden Bears, marking the seventh straight game the Cats have gone over 200 yards on the ground in a game.
Kansas State's terrific twosome of quarterback Ell Roberson and running back Darren Sproles both topped 100 yards rushing vs. Cal, finishing with 145 and 175 yards, respectively. It marked just the ninth time in K-State history that the Wildcats have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game, but the third time Roberson and Sproles have been the culprits. Overall, Roberson has been a part of over half of the double 100-yard rushing games in school history, taking part in five, including two with former K-Stater and current Arizona Cardinal, Josh Scobey.
Sproles Rolls Past 100, Again
Darren Sproles became Kansas State's all-time leader in career 100-yard rushing games with his 175 vs. Cal in the BCA Classic. It was the 11th-time in his two-plus year career at K-State that the junior has eclipsed the 100-yard mark, including each of the last 10 games.
By Land or Air
Ell Roberson may be known as one of the best running quarterbacks in K-State history with seven career 100-yard rushing games. But, he also proved to be dangerous through the air vs. Cal. Roberson completed 9 -of-18 passes for 205 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Four of the completions found the waiting hands of senior wide receiver James Terry, who finished with a career-best 116 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown during the second quarter vs. Cal.
Cats Record First Triple-Triple
Kansas State recorded its first triple-triple two 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver in school history vs. California as wide receiver James Terry finished the game with four receptions for 116 yards to go along with Sproles' 175 yards and Roberson's 145 yards on the ground. Terry's debut was also the best season-opening performance by a wide receiver at K-State in over a decade.
Tough vs. the Run
Kansas State may have replaced six starters on the defensive side of the ball, but the Wildcats proved to be as tough as ever to run against in the season opener. K-State held Cal to just 62 yards on 29 attempts (2.1 ypc), which is a fraction below the 62.5 yards per game the Cats allowed on average last season to finish up ranked No. 2 nationally vs. the run. Overall, K-State has held each of its last nine opponents below 100-yards rushing.