With the first three games of the 2004 season now in the books, KansasState will take Saturday, Sept. 25th off as the Wildcats enjoy their lone bye week of the year. K-State wrapped up its 2004 pre-conference slate Saturday with a 40-20 victory over visiting Louisiana-Lafayette to conclude the non-league portion of is schedule with a 2-1 record. The win over the Ragin' Cajuns gives the Wildcats a winning record over non-conference opposition for the 15th straight season.
Having played just three games thus far, KansasState will enjoy its earliest scheduled off week in some time. Last season, the Wildcats played five games before hitting its bye week on Sept. 27. During the 2002 season, K-State played four games prior to being idle on Sept. 26. In 2001, the Wildcats were not slated to be idle until Nov. 17. However, the Sept. 11 tragedies that season forced the postponement of the entire slate of college football games after just one game. K-State later made up its game scheduled for Sept. 11 vs. Louisiana Tech on Nov. 17.
Aggies also in bye mode
KansasState's next opponent, Texas A&M, is also idle this weekend. The Aggies are coming off a 27-6 win over Clemson in College Station and also hits their bye week with a 2-1 mark on the season.
Cats, Aggies to play on TBS/Superstation
The KansasState at Texas A&M game on Oct. 2 has been selected for a national broadcast by TBS/Superstation and will kick off at (CT). The selection of the K-State at Texas A&M game marks the second time this season that the Wildcats will appear on national television. K-State's game vs. FresnoState on Sept. 11 was telecast live nationally by FSN.
That's the ticket
KansasState still has a limited number of tickets available for its Big 12 Conference opener at Texas A&M. To date, K-State has sold approximately 3,000 of the $60 tickets and has just over 100 remaining from its allotment. Tickets may be ordered in person at the K-State Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum or by calling toll-free, 1-800-221-CATS.
Not idling alone
In all, eight Big 12 Conference teams will be idle this weekend, with Baylor, Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech the only teams in action. Texas Tech visits Kansas in the lone conference game of the week. It is also the first league match-up of the 2004 season.
Eight is enough
KansasState is among eight Big 12 teams that were unable to survive non-conference play unscathed, including seven that enter the week with a 2-1 mark. Just four league teams remain perfect on the young season, with Colorado the lone North Division squad able to claim an unblemished record.
Giving Head Coach Bill Snyder's coaching staff an extra week to prepare had traditionally been bad news for KansasState opponents. The Wildcats have had 13 previous mid-season bye weeks in Snyder's 15 seasons at K-State and have turned the extra week of preparation into a 10-3 record the following week. Still, KansasState will be out to reverse a recent trend that has seen the Cats drop each of their last two games following a bye - in 2002 at Colorado and in 2003 at Texas. Below is a recap of K-State's results coming off a bye under Snyder:
Bye Week Next Game
Off 10/5/91 returned to beat Kansas, 16-12
Off 10/2/93 returned to beat Kansas, 10-9
Off 9/10/94 returned to beat Rice, 27-18
Off 10/1/94 returned to win at Kansas, 21-13
Off 9/16/95 returned to beat Akron, 67-0
Off 9/28/96 returned to lose to Nebraska, 39-3
Off 11/2/96 returned to win at Kansas, 38-12
Off 9/20/97 returned to beat Bowling Green, 58-0
Off 10/3/98 returned to win at Colorado, 16-9
Off 9/9/2000 returned to beat Ball State, 76-0
Off 9/15/2001 returned to beat New Mexico State, 64-0
Off 9/28/2002 returned to lose at Colorado, 35-31
Off 9/27/2003 returned to lose at Texas, 24-20
Following its bye week, KansasState will make its first conference call of the season, when the Wildcats travel to College Station, Texas, to face Texas A&M on Oct. 2. K-State is 4-4 in Big 12 openers since the conference's formation in 1996, but will be out to snap a three-game slide in league lid-lifters. The Wildcats fell at Oklahoma in 2001, 38-37; at Colorado in 2002, 35-31; and at Texas, 24-20 last season after going 4-1 in conference debuts during the first five years of the league. Overall, KansasState is 8-7 in conference openers under head coach Bill Snyder.
On the road again
For the sixth straight season, KansasState will be making its Big 12 debut on enemy turf. Overall, the Wildcats are 2-4 when opening conference play on the road. Overall, K-State's 2004 league lid-lifter at Texas A&M marks the seventh time in the nine-year history of the Big 12 that the Cats have opened conference action away from KSU Stadium. Only OklahomaState, which opens its 2004 league schedule at home vs. IowaState on Oct. 2, has had more road debuts with eight. Texas Tech will make its seventh on Sept. 25, when the Red Raiders visit Kansas. And there appears to be no help on the horizon as KansasState is scheduled to open its Big 12 season on the road in 2005 (at Oklahoma), 2006 (at Baylor) and 2007 (at Texas) as well, according to the league’s master schedule.
First to 50
Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, no team has won more conference games than KansasState. K-State, which has won over 75 percent of their Big 12 games, is 49-15 in league play and will be bidding to become the first team in the conference to hit the 50-win mark when the Wildcats take on Texas A&M.
Road sweet road
Since the inception of the Big 12, KansasState has been the conference's top road team, winning nearly 70 percent of its games in enemy stadiums. In eight years, the Wildcats are 22-10 when playing on the Big 12 road. K-State brings a two-game Big 12 road winning streak into next week's game at Texas A&M, including a shutout at IowaState and an historic win over Nebraska in Lincoln. Including the 2003 Big 12 Championship game, K-State has won three straight Big 12 contests when playing away from Manhattan.
Wrapping up the non-con
With its 2-1 pre-conference record, KansasState improved to 57-12 overall vs. non-conference opposition under Head Coach Bill Snyder, including a 56-9 record since the start of the 1990 season... Of the nine losses since 1990, five occurred in bowl games, giving K-State a 49-4 record in all regular-season non-conference games over the past 15 seasons... The Wildcats' win over Louisiana-Lafayette improved K-State to 45-4 in all non-conference home games under Snyder, with a 44-2 mark at KSU Stadium since the start of the 1990 campaign.
KansasState continued its trend of successfully bouncing back from a loss with its 40-20 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Wildcats, who had their eight-game non-bowl win streak snapped by FresnoState, improved to 16-6 when coming off a loss following their victory over the Ragin' Cajuns.
Safe at home
In all games since the start of the 1990 season (Snyder's second in Manhattan), KansasState is an amazing 83-11-1 (.874) when playing on Wagner Field, including a 41-9-1 (.813) mark in league games (combined Big 8/ Big 12). During that stretch, the Wildcats have lost more than once at home in just one season -- 2001, when K-State went 4-2 -- and have hit at least the six win mark eight times in the last 11 seasons.
Field position flip-flop
After having an average starting field position of its own 28-yard-line in the first two games of the season, KansasState produced a dramatic turnaround in starting field position last Saturday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. On 12 drives, K-State’s average starting field position was its own 43, with six drives starting in Ragin’ Cajun territory. And the Wildcats were able to take advantage of the short fields, producing points an all six drives. In fact, just one of KansasState’s seven scoring drives started in Wildcat territory, when K-State engineered a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on its first possession of the second half.
Rushing to victory
With its dominating 393-yard rushing performance Saturday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas State closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule by outrushing two of three opponents. Overall, the Wildcats have outgained the opposition by over 100 yards per game on the ground thus far in 2004, compiling 758 yards to 447.
KansasState, which ranks No. 14 nationally in rushing this week with 252.7 yards per game, has outrushed 27 of its last 31 opponents. And when K-State has it rolling on the ground, the Wildcats have been nearly unbeatable.
Over the last 31 games K-State is a sparkling 24-3 when outrushing the opposition. However, the Wildcats are 0-4 when failing to outgain a foe on the ground, including in their loss to FresnoState on Sept. 11.
KansasState’s 393-yard rushing outburst vs. Louisiana-Lafayette was just the latest in a long string of impressive rushing performances by the Wildcats. The figure, which stands as the seventh-best ever by K-State, marks the second time this season that the Cats have gone over the 300-yard mark on the ground. It is also the 12th time in the last 17 games and the 17th time in the last 24 games that KansasState has rushed for at least 200 yards.
KansasState’s performance vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns continued a trend that has seen the Wildcats become one of the nation’s most dominant rushing programs. In the last eight games of the 2003 campaign, the Wildcats piled up a number of staggering performances, including 292 yards vs. Oklahoma, 248 yards at Nebraska, 367 yards vs. Missouri, 257 yards vs. Kansas, 234 yards against Baylor and 356 at Iowa State. The Wildcats then opened 2004 with 306 yards on the ground vs. Western Kentucky.
Roaring to 40
KansasState hit the 40-point mark for the first time in 2004 in its victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. And though it is the first real offensive outburst by the Wildcats this season, K-State has been one of the highest scoring teams in college football in recent years. Kansas State, which has ranked in the top 15 nationally in scoring in six of the last seven seasons, scored 40 or more points six times during 2003 and eight times during 2002, when the Cats averaged 44.8 points per game.
After forcing no turnovers in its season opener, KansasState’s defense has turned opportunistic in its last two outings with six takeaways. KansasState snared three interceptions against FresnoState, then came back with two more plus a fumble against Louisiana-Lafayette. The six turnovers are the most in a two-game stretch since the Wildcats forced seven vs. Iowa State (3 interceptions) and Nebraska (2 interceptions/2 fumbles) last season.
Sproles nabs Big 12 player-of-the-week honors
On the heels of yet another record-breaking rushing performance, KansasState running back Darren Sproles was named the SBC Big 12 offensive player of the week for games of Sept. 18. Sproles, Kansas State's all-time leading rusher, was spectacular in the Wildcats' win over Louisiana-Lafayette, slicing up the Ragin' Cajuns for a school single-game record 292 yards on 38 attempts, including a 35-yard touchdown run, for an average of 7.7 yards per carry. He also re-set K-State's single-game all-purpose yardage record with 351 yards en route to his third career Big 12 player-of-the-week award.
Sproles continues to roll
Senior running back Darren Sproles continues to put up staggering numbers on the ground. Sproles once again re-set the KansasState rushing record with 292 yards vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. The 292 yards, which topped the previous school record of 273 yards set by Sproles vs. Missouri on Nov. 22, 2003, are the seventh-most in Big 12 history and the most by a Big 12 player since Colorado's Chris Brown rushed for 309 yards against Kansas on Oct. 12, 2002. It also marked the fifth time in the last eight games that the senior has rushed for more than 200 yards, including a 221-yard performance in the season opener vs. Western Kentucky. The rushing total against UL-Lafayette marked Sproles' 21st career 100-yard rushing performance, a figure that is just three behind Ricky Williams’ Big 12 record of 24.
A game in a quarter
Senior Darren Sproles continued to add to his impressive resume vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, posting his seventh career 100-yard rushing quarter with 104 yards in the first 15 minutes vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns. It is the second time already this season that Sproles has rushed for 100 yards in a quarter. Against Western Kentucky, Sproles ripped off 105 yards on 14 third-quarter carries.
The Heisman Trophy candidate also posted his best career half against UL-Lafayette, galloping to 195 yards by intermission to surpass his previous best in a half of 186 yards vs. Missouri in 2003.
All-purpose, all the time
Darren Sproles, who ranks No. 1 nationally this week in both all-purpose yardage and kickoff returns and No. 4 in rushing, re-set the Kansas single-game all-purpose record vs. Louisiana-Lafayette with 351 yards. In addition to his 292 rushing yards, he had a 25-yard punt return, a 35-yard kickoff return and six receiving yards, topping his previous best of 345 yards vs. Oklahoma in the 2003 Big 12 Championship game on Dec. 6, 2003. The senior has now produced over 100 all-purpose yards in 28 of the last 31 games with three plus-300 yard performances.
Darren Sproles continues to gain ground on the Big 12's all-time leader in career rushing and all-purpose yards, Texas' Ricky Williams. With 4,211 rushing yards and 5,495 all-purpose yards for his career, Sproles needs 1,079 yards on the ground and 498 all-purpose yards, respectively, to break Williams' conference records. He currently ranks No. 2 all time in career rushing and No. 3 in all-purpose yardage.
Next one's for No. 1
With his next touchdown, Darren Sproles will add yet another KansasState record to his resume. Sproles notched his 39th career touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette and now needs just one more to tie Ell Roberson atop K-State’s career touchdown chart. In the Big 12 rankings, Sproles’ 39 scores ranks ninth.
Quarterback Dylan Meier may not have passed for a ton of yardage just yet, but the sophomore has gotten off to one of the most efficient starts in K-State history. Meier hits this week’s bye with a passing efficiency rating of 144.69, good enough to rank No. 3 in the Big 12. Meier would also rank in the top 20 nationally, but does not have enough passing attempts per game to figure in the NCAA rankings. On K-State’s passing efficiency chart, only Michael Bishop (159.6 in 1998) and Matt Miller (157.3 in 1995) have posted higher efficiency ratings in a season.
Coming out party for Clayton
Sophomore Thomas Clayton showed that he just may be the future at running back for KansasState with his performance vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Clayton, a transfer from FloridaState, averaged 6.4 yards per carry and totaled 58 yards on nine attempts in his first extended playing time. Both were career highs for the sophomore, who had 13 carries and 45 yards in four games as a true freshman for the Seminoles.
On the straight and narrow
Though many programs have struggled in the kicking game in 2004, KansasState has not been one of them thanks to the steady performance of senior place-kicker Joe Rheem. Rheem, a Lou Groza Award candidate, has been perfect on all six field goal attempts and each of his 10 PATs. In fact Rheem, who ranks fourth all time in scoring at K-State with 243 points, has made 47 straight PATs and owns the seventh-longest streak in the nation.
Three Wildcats recorded career first vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Outside linebacker Marvin Simmons and defensive tackle Derek Marso each notched their first career starts, while true freshman guard John Hafferty saw his first extensive playing time. Simmons also registered his first career interception, picking off UL-Lafayette quarterback Jerry Babb midway through the third quarter.