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Kansas State opens three-game homestand against Colorado


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

2003 Kansas State Football

 

Game No. 8

 

Colorado (3-3/1-1) at Kansas State (4-3/0-2)

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003

1:10 p.m. (Central)

KSU Stadium

(50,000 FieldTurf)

Manhattan, Kan.

 

Kickoff: 1:10 p.m. (Central)

 

Television: none.

 

Radio: Live across the 28-station Mid America Sports Network. Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (color) and Chris Allison (sideline) serve as the on-air talent.

 

On the Web: A live audio stream of all Kansas State football games is available via the Internet at K-State's official site, www.k-statesports.com.

 

Records: Kansas State slipped to 4-3 on the year and 0-2 in the Big 12 following its 38-34 loss at Oklahoma State. Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak and picked up its first league win, defeating Kansas, 50-47, in overtime to improve to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big 12 Conference.

 

Rankings: Neither team is ranked. Kansas State, ranked No. 22/21 last week, fell out of both polls for the first time since Sept. 8, 2002 rankings.

 

Series: Colorado leads the all-time series, 41-16-1, and has won two straight. K-State has won 4 of the last 6 encounters.

 

Coaches: Kansas State's Bill Snyder is 120-54-1 (.689) in 15 seasons as head coach of the Wildcats. CU's Gary Barnett is 67-69-1 (.493) overall, 32-24 (.571) as head coach of the Buffs.

 

Kansas State opens three-game homestand against Colorado

Coming off two straight road games and a bye week, Kansas State kicks off a decisive three-game homestand Saturday, when Colorado visits KSU Stadium for a crucial Big 12 Conference contest that has serious season implications for both sides.

 

The game is the first at home for the Wildcats in nearly a month. K-State (4-3/0-2 Big 12 North) will be out to put the brakes on a three-game losing streak that began with a 27-20 loss to Marshall in the Wildcats' final non-conference tune up and has since spiraled into an 0-2 conference start that included back-to-back four-point road losses at Texas and Oklahoma State.

 

Colorado (3-3/1-1 Big 12 North) broke out of a three-game funk of its own last week, as the Buffaloes outlasted Kansas, 50-47, in overtime. The win, CU's first since a Sept. 6 victory over UCLA, helped the Buffs avoid their first 0-2 conference start since 1997.

 

No TV on tap this week

Despite a near sell-out (fewer than 100 tickets remain) and for the first time in three games, the Wildcats will not be part of the Big 12's weekly television package. As a result of the game not being televised, the Kansas State Sports Information Office will uplink first-half highlights of the contest. The satellite uplink location and time will be released to the media as soon as it becomes available. The game will air live on radio over the 28-station Mid America Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson calling the action and former K-State quarterback Stan Weber providing the analysis.

 

Cats look to get back on track

Kansas State will be looking to avoid just its second 0-3 conference start and only its second four-game losing streak since the 1990 campaign. K-State opened conference play in 2001 with four straight losses before closing the year with wins in four of its last five. The Cats also dropped four in a row during the 1992 campaign, including its first three Big Eight games. Prior to 2001, Kansas State started conference play with a 2-1 record or better in six straight seasons (1995-2000).

 

Reversal of fortune

Prior to Kansas State's loss to Marshall on Sept. 20, the Wildcats had strung together one of the nation's longest winning streaks. Heading into the Marshall game, the Cats enjoyed the country's fourth-longest intact string of consecutive wins. Now having dropped three straight, Kansas State is in the midst of just its fourth losing streak of three games or more since the end of the 1989 season, Bill Snyder's first at Kansas State. The Wildcats' previous three-game skids since the start of the 1990 campaign occurred in 1991, 1992, 2001. In fact, excluding the 2001 season, K-State had suffered back-to-back losses just twice since the beginning of the 1993 campaign.

 

Toughing it out

For the third straight season, Kansas State finds itself with two losses early in league play. Nevertheless, the early-conference setbacks of 2001 and 2002 weren't enough to keep the Wildcats out of the postseason as K-State displayed enough fortitude to bounce back and earn bowl berths to cap each campaign. The 2002 rebound was especially impressive, as Kansas State, which opened 1-2, ran the table with six consecutive wins to close out the season at 10-2/6-2. In 2001, the Wildcats regrouped from a four-game conference-opening losing streak to win four of five down the stretch.

 

On the home front

After suffering a pair of four-point setbacks, Kansas State will be glad to be back in the friendly confines of KSU Stadium. The Wildcats are 23-5 (.821) in Big 12 home games. In all games since the start of the 1990 season, K-State is an amazing 77-10-1 (.881) when playing at home, including a 37-9-1 (.798) mark in league games (Big 8/Big 12). During that stretch, the Cats have lost more than once at home in just one season -- 2001, when K-State went 4-2.

 

Home openers

Kansas State is 5-2 in its first Big 12 home game of the year. The Wildcats snapped a two-game slide in conference home openers with last seasons's 44-9 victory over Oklahoma State. Overall since the start of the 1991 campaign, K-State is 9-3 in home league lid-lifters.

 

Among the Big 12's best

Since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, Kansas State has consistently been among the league's top teams and boasts one of the best overall records in the Big 12 games. In the eight years of the Big 12, Kansas State is 43-15 in Big 12 games. Only Nebraska at 45-13 has produced a better conference  over that time span and leads the Wildcats by two games.

 

Nip/Tuck

Dating to the start of the 2002 season, all five of K-State's losses over the last 20 games have been by a touchdown or less. The Wildcats suffered a four-point loss at Colorado and a three-point defeat to Texas during 2002. This season, K-State's losses have been by seven points to Marshall, four points at Texas and four points at Oklahoma State, leaving the Cats with an average margin of loss of just 4.4 points in its last five defeats. K-State's last double-digit loss occurred during the 2001 season, when the Cats suffered a 31-21 defeat at Nebraska on Nov. 10. Over the last three seasons, K-State is 2-8 in games decided by 10 points or less.

 

Cats coming off a loss

Since the start of the 1996 season, Kansas State is 10-6 when coming off a loss. Overall since the beginning of the 1990 campaign, the Wildcats are 21-14-1 in the  game following a defeat.

 

Winning the stat war

Kansas State has statistically out-paced the competition in every game this season, producing more total offense than each of its seven opponents, including all three losses. In fact, you have to go back to a 31-21 loss at Nebraska on Nov. 10, 2001 -- a span of 24 games -- to find an opponent that outgained the Wildcats in total offense. K-State has also produced more first downs than its opponents in 5 of 7 games this season.

 

Two of three's not bad

Kansas State clearly had to improve on three areas heading into the the Oklahoma State game -- third down conversions, red-zone scoring and turnovers. The Wildcats had their best day of the season thus far on third down, converting 8 of 16 attempts. The Cats were also a perfect 3-for-3 inside the red zone with three touchdowns. Unfortunately, the turnover bug bit again as K-State was -2 in turnover margin.

 

Cats and Buffs

          Saturday's matchup with Colorado will be the 59th between the two schools.

          The K-State/CU series dates to Nov. 16, 1912, a 14-6 Wildcat victory in Manhattan.

          The Buffaloes lead the all-time series, 41-16-1. However, the Wildcats have won 4 of 7 since the formation of the Big 12.

          CU also lead the series in Manhattan, 16-12-1.

          Colorado brings a two-game wining streak over K-State into Saturday's game, having won the last two encounters by a combined 14 points.

          Four of the last five meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.

          The road team has won four of the last eight games, with each team winning twice in the opposition's home stadium.

          Prior to Bill Snyder's arrival at K-State, the Buffaloes dominated the series, with the Wildcats winning just 12 of 44 meetings. CU leads 9-4-1 since.

 

Typically televised

The Kansas State-Colorado series has been one of the most frequently televised in recent years. However, Saturday's tilt vs. Buffs will also be the first time since 1993 that a CU vs. K-State game will not appear on the tube. Each of the last nine meetings between the two teams have aired either regionally or nationally.

 

Wide outs in waves

For the fourth straight week, Kansas State's secondary will have to contend with one of the nation's top wide receivers in Derek McCoy. The Colorado senior ranks eighth nationally in receiving yards per game at 104.3 per contest. The Wildcats have been up to the test thus far, holding Marshall's Darius Watts to two receptions for 13 yards, Texas' Roy Williams to just 22 yards on three catches and Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods without a touchdown. Oh, and don't forget about senior D.J. Hackett. He averages nearly seven receptions and 85.5 yards per game, ranking 11th in the nation in catches per game. Nevertheless, it should be an interesting matchup. K-State ranks 16th in the nation in pass defense, allowing 177.0 yards per game. Colorado's passing offense is averaging 319.5 yards per game, good for 10th nationally.

 

Cats in October

Kansas State's prowess in August - 6-0 all time - and September - 37-2 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, Kansas State has won over 65 percent of its October contests, going 20-11 (.645) during that stretch, including a 13-game winning streak that spanned the 1997, '98, '99 and 2000 seasons.

 

Early risers

Kansas State played in one of the nation's first contests of the year, when the Wildcats opened their 108th year on the gridiron Aug. 23 in the 2003 BCA Classic vs. California at Arrowhead Stadium. The game was the earliest start in school history for the Wildcats.

 

Come early, stay late

Not only did Kansas State play its earliest game ever, but if the Wildcats were to win the Big 12 North (and they still mathematically control their own destiny), K-State would also play a record number of games - 15. K-State played a current school-record 14 games in 2000, opening in the Eddie Robinson Classic vs. Iowa on Aug. 26 before taking on its 11-game regular season schedule, advancing to the Big 12 Championship game and playing in the Cotton Bowl. Should the Cats win the North, their season could span 7 months (including two practice day's in July and a possible New Year's Day or post New Year's bowl berth), and at least 156 days.

 

Poll watching

Kansas State's back-to-back four-point losses at Texas and Oklahoma State cost the Wildcats their spot in both of this week's polls. It is the first time in 23 ranking periods that K-State has not owned a spot in both polls. The last time the Cats did not appear in either poll occurred on Sept. 8, 2002, when Kansas State sat just outside both rankings. K-State, which is still receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, is one of seven Big 12 teams to be ranked or receiving votes in this week.

 

K-State's No. 5 preseason ranking in the Coaches' Poll was the highest ever for the Wildcats, who have appeared in the top 25 of seven preseason AP and 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 was its highest debut since opening at No. 6 in 1998.

 

More poll talk

          Kansas State opened the 2003 season ranked No. 7 in the preseason Associated Press top 25 and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

          K-State's preseason ranking marked the seventh time in the last eight years that the Wildcats have debuted in the top 25 of both polls. It is also the third time in the last six years that the Cats have been ranked in the top 10 of each poll, as Kansas State was ranked in the preseason top 10 in 1998 and 2000.

          The Wildcats' 2003 preseason rankings were among the highest in school history. Kansas State's initial ranking of No. 5 is its highest debut ever in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. Prior to 2003, K-State's highest preseason ranking by the coaches was No. 6 in 1998. In the AP Top 25, K-State has been ranked higher in the preseason just once when the Cats debuted at No. 6 in 1998.

          The only time in the last eight years the Wildcats have not been ranked in either preseason poll occurred last season. Ironically, Kansas State finished 2002 by equaling its highest final ranking in the coaches' poll in school history - No. 6. K-State also finished up ranked No. 6 in both 1995 and 1999.

          Kansas State was ranked in a school-record 107 straight Associated Press polls from Sept. 25, 1994 to Oct. 7, 2001.

 

Destiny still in control

Despite losing two in a row to open conference play, Kansas State still controls its own destiny in the 2003 Big 12 North race. With both of its losses coming vs. South opponents, should the Wildcats win out, K-State would hold all tie-breakers and win the Big 12 North Division, earning its third conference championship game berth.

 

Rushing to victory

Over its last 20 games Kansas State has outrushed its opponent 18 times, rolling to a 15-3 record in those games. K-State has outrushed five of its seven opponents this season, and is averaging 207.0 yards per game on the ground while allowing just 111.4.

 

For the season, the Wildcats have rolled up an impressive 1,449 yards rushing compared to only 780 by its opponents. Kansas State was outrushed for the first time in 18 games as Marshall ground out 241 yards to the Wildcats 106. Oklahoma State also outgained the Cats on the ground, 187 to 146.

 

At its current pace, Kansas State would end the year with nearly 2,700 yards on the ground, marking the seventh straight season that the Wildcats will have rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

 

Piling up the yards

Kansas State continues to be one of the nation's most potent offensive attacks in terms of total offense. The Wildcats enter the week ranked 16th in the nation and fifth in the Big 12 in rushing offense with 207.0 yards per game while climbing to 25th nationally and fifth in the Big 12 in terms of total offense, averaging 423.1 per contest. Though K-State just missed hitting the 400-yard mark vs. Troy State (392) and Marshall (369), and totalled 298 yards at Texas , the Cats have totaled at least 400 yards in eight of their last 12 games, including 478 yards last Saturday at Oklahoma State. K-State also topped 400 yards this season with its 535-yard effort vs. California, a 400-yard performance against McNeese State and a 490-yard outing vs. UMass. The only other miss during that 11-game stretch, was a 385-yard outing against Iowa State on Nov. 9, 2002. Dating to the start of 2002 , K-State has produced over 400 yards of total offense in 12 of 20 games, and has failed to at least hit the 350-yard total offense mark just three times (vs. USC - 347, 9/21/02); vs. Texas - 261, 10/19/02; at Texas 298, 10/4/03).

 

Topping 200

The Wildcats have topped the 200-yard plateau on the ground in nine of their last 13 games, including 209 yards at Texas. Since 1990, Kansas State is 64-4 when rushing for at least 200 yards and 66-10 with a 100-yard rusher. As a team, K-State is on pace to average at least 200 yards on the ground for the fifth time in the last seven seasons and once again rank among the nation's top-25 rushing programs.

 

Going Aerial

In addition to a solid ground attack, Kansas State showed it could throw the ball against Oklahoma State, passing for 332 yards and four touchdowns. It is the first time K-State has eclipsed 300 yards through the air since passing for 311 yards at Oklahoma State in 1999 and the most passing yards by the Wildcats since throwing for 341 vs. Texas A&M in the 1998 Big 12 Championship game. Kansas State's four touchdown passes vs. the Cowboys also tied a school single-game record.

 

Send in the ground troops

Kansas State, which has 19 rushing touchdowns this season to lead the Big 12 and rank tied for third nationally in that department, has also scored a rushing touchdown in each of its last 34 non-bowl games. Last year, the Wildcats led the NCAA in rushing TDs with a school-record 53.

 

Shock and awe offense

Kansas State enters Saturday's game vs. Colorado averaging just under 36 points per game to rank 15th nationally in scoring offense. With three 40-plus point outings already this season, K-State has topped the 40-point mark in seven of its last 13 games

 

Tough to stop the Cats

Dating back to the start of the 2002 season, the Wildcats have eclipsed the 40-point mark in 11 of 20 games and have been held below 30 points in just four of their last 20 outings. Putting points on the board has been a staple in recent years for K-State, which has finished in the NCAA's top 15 in scoring offense in 5 of 6 seasons.

 

Midwest sack exchange

Despite replacing three starters on its defensive line from a year ago, Kansas State has shown incredible improvement on the sack front in 2003. Entering the Colorado game, the Wildcats rank third nationally in sacks per game with 4.1 (29 total) through the first seven games of the season. That figure is 12 more than the 17 K-State totaled in its first seven games last season. Leading the assault is junior Kevin Huntley,

who added to his team lead with his sixth of the year last week at Oklahoma State and is taking dead aim at Nyle Wiren's school record of 11.5 in 1996. In all, 13 different players have registered sacks for K-State this season. Since the start of the 2000 season, the Wildcats rank 12th nationally with 124.

 

No red-zone rushing

Kansas State has been especially stingy on the ground inside the red zone. It took 24 quarters this season before the Wildcats finally yielded their first rushing touchdown at Texas as Vince Young scored on a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 with 5:19 to play in the fourth quarter. And though K-State gave up two more rushing scores vs. Oklahoma State, the Wildcats are one of just 18 teams to allow three or fewer rushing touchdown thus far in 2003. Dating to last season, K-State has only given up six rushing scores in its last 15 games and just 10 rushing TDs in its last 20 outings.

 

Tough vs. the Run

Despite its troubles on the ground vs. Marshall and Oklahoma State, Kansas State's defensive unit has been solid vs. the run this season. In fact, dating to last year, K-State has held 11 of its last 15 opponents under 100 yards rushing. McNeese State stopped K-State consecutive games streak of holding opponents under 100 yards at 10, gaining 122 vs. the Wildcats. K-State, however, returned to form vs. Massachusetts, holding the Minutemen to just 27 yards on 30 attempts before giving up an uncharacteristic 210 rushing yards to Marshall. The Thundering Herd lived up to its nickname, becoming the first opponent to top 200 yards on the ground since Missouri eclipsed the mark in the 2001 season finale with 229 yards. K-State also yielded its first 100-yard rusher since Colorado's Chris Brown had 167 yards on Oct. 5, 2002 as Marshall's Franklin Wallace finished with 112 yards on 17 attempts. The Cats did give up 133 yards to Texas on 52 carries (2.6 ypc) and 187 yards to Oklahoma State on 45 attempts, but overall, opponents are averaging just 111.4  yard per game, placing K-State 28th in rushing defense on this week's NCAA chart.

 

Point-less

Kansas State has held 10 of its last 20 opponents to 10 points or less, including Troy State and UMass this season. Over that stretch, the Wildcats have given up more than 20 points just six times. K-State, which leads the Big 12 in shutouts with 11 since the formation of the league, ranks 40th in the nation in scoring defense and fifth in the Big 12, allowing 20.43 points per game this season. Since 1990, the Wildcats are 59-0 when holding foes to 10 or fewer points.

 

K-State among nation's best in TDs allowed

In addition to being the only school in the nation to rank in the top five in total defense in each of the last six seasons, the Wildcats have been one of the country's stingiest squad when it comes to yielding touchdowns. Since the start of the 1999 season, Kansas State ranks eighth in total touchdowns allowed with 105.

 

More Defense

Though Kansas State has yet to notch a shutout in 2003, the Wildcats did record three shutouts during the 2002 campaign. Since Bill Snyder's arrival in the Little Apple, K-State has posted 18 shutouts, including at least one in each of the last nine seasons. On the yardage front, Snyder-coached K-State teams have held opponents to less than 200 total yards 33 times, including five in 2002 and two already in 2003.

 

Stop, Thief

Kansas State continues to be tough on opposing offenses.

          Since the start of the 1999 season, Kansas State is second in the nation in interceptions with 86.

          With seven picks already this season, K-State has now had at least one interception in 56 of the last 65 games and in 66 of the last 74outings, counting bowl games and including 5 of 7 games so far in 2003.

          The Wildcats have snared 35 interceptions in their last 25 games, a string dating back to 2001 that includes the Insight.com Bowl.

          K-State has grabbed 22 pics in its last 15 games.

          Overall, the Cats have had 84 takeaways in the last 38 games, including 24 in the last eight games of 2002 (14 interceptions/10 fumbles) and 12 (7 interceptions/5 fumbles) so far this season.

 

Block that kick

Kansas State has developed a knack for superior special teams play in recent years. The Wildcats have already blocked four kicks this season, including its third punt of the year at Texas. Since the 1999 season, the Wildcats have blocked 20 kicks and rank fifth nationally in that category.

 

Doubling up

Kansas State has proved to be unbeatable when the Wildcats score on special teams and defense in the same game. K-State turned the trick for the 13th time since 1990 against McNeese State taking both a blocked punt and an interception in for scores. Since 1990 the Cats are 13-0 when scoring on defense and special teams in the same game.

 

Quarterback Keeper

After missing two and a half games, the Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson returned to the Wildcats' lineup at Texas and was back to his old tricks. In the two games since returning to the K-State lineup, Roberson has amassed 569 yards of total offense, including 393 vs. Oklahoma State that ranks as the seventh most in school history. It was a career day for Roberson, as the senior set new highs for completions (20), attempts (34), yards (332) and tied the K-State single-game record for touchdown passes with four.

 

Roberson  has now rushed for 399 yards and passed for 923 in just 17 quarters of action .

 

With 3,477 yards passing (eighth most at K-State) and 2,242 yards rushing (fourth most and tops among quarterbacks) for his career, Roberson is the only player in K-State history to rush for over 2,000 yards and pass for over 3,000 yards as a Wildcat.

 

Below are a few more notes on Roberson:

          Roberson's 145-yard rushing effort vs. California was the fourth-best ever by a K-State quarterback and the seventh time he has topped 100 yards on the ground in his career.

          Roberson's seven 100-yard rushing games leads all quarterbacks at K-State and ranks sixth among all players.

          With his two touchdowns at Texas Roberson tied Josh Scobey (2000-01) for the most career touchdowns in Kansas State history with 31. It marked the second time this season he has rushed for more than one touchdown in a game and also gave him 210 points for his career. Roberson is now the first non-kicker in school history to top 200 points in a career.

          Roberson ranks second on the team in rushing touchdowns with six despite missing 2.5 games.

          On this week's NCAA charts, Roberson would rank sixth in points responsible for (18.8 ppg) and 24th in total offense (264.4 ypg) but has not appeared the required 75 percent of games to qualify. He would also rank as the country's No. 2 rushing quarterback and would place 47th overall with a 79.8 yards per game average.

 

Chart watching with Ell

          Ell Roberson became just the fifth Wildcat to go over the 5,000-yard mark for total offense in a career. Roberson (5,719) needs just 61 yards Saturday to break Lynn Dickey's school record of 5,779.

          Roberson also became just the fifth Wildcat and the first quarterback in school history to top 2,000 yards on the ground in a career with his 69-yard rushing performance vs. Troy State. With 2,242 yards rushing after the OSU game, he needs just 296 yards to break Erick Hickson's school mark of 2,537.

          With his 145-yard rushing effort vs. Cal in the season opener, Roberson now owns seven of the top 10 single-game rushing performances by a quarterback in school history, including three of the top four.

 

Nothing new for Ell

Ell Roberson's performances thus far in 2003 are nothing new for the senior quarterback. Below are just a few of Roberson's exploits from 2002:

          Roberson set a Kansas State single-game rushing record  against Nebraska, amassing 228 yards on 29 carries and scoring three touchdowns.

          Roberson set single-play, single-game and single-season records for rushing yards by a K-State quarterback vs. the Huskers. His 91-yard touchdown with 2:27 left in the first quarter was the longest on record by a Wildcat QB, and the longest by any Wildcat since Gerald Hackney went a school-record 96 yards against Kansas in 1948.

          With 1,032 yards in 2002 Roberson surpassed the single-season record for rushing yards by a QB of 748 by Michael Bishop in 1998 and became just the seventh Wildcat to top 1,000 yards in a single season.

          With 4,397 total offense yards during 2002, Roberson became just the eighth Wildcat past the 4,000-yard mark in school history.

          Ell Roberson's final pass efficiency rating of 136.5 would have ranked 20th in the nation if he had enough attempts to qualify for the national list. He finished five attempts below the 15 per game required.

 

All-Purpose Guy

Junior running back Darren Sproles has gone over 100 yards of all-purpose rushing in 18 of the last 20 games. His only misses during that stretch were vs. Troy State on Aug. 30, 2003 and Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 7, 2002, as he played just a half in each game. Sproles, who ranks sixth on K-State's all-purpose yardage chart with 3,063, set a career single-game high in that category at Oklahoma State, combining for 214 yards on 74 yards rushing, a career-high 82 yards receiving and 55 yards in returns.

 

Sproles continues to roll

Junior running back Darren Sproles once again topped the 100-yard rushing barrier vs. Texas, gaining 128 yards on 24 attempts (5.3 ypc). It was the most rushing yards given up by the Longhorns to an individual through the first five games this season and the 14th time in his career (fourth time in 2003) that Sproles has rushed for more than 100 yards.

 

After gaining 74 yard at Oklahoma State, Sproles is now averaging 108.0 yard per game to lead the Big 12 and rank 14th nationally.Sproles' other 100-yard days this season include a 152-yard outing vs. UMass that included three touchdowns, a 101-yard performance against McNeese State and a career-high 175-yard day vs. California in the 2003 season opener.

 

Sproles performance vs. Oklahoma State moved the junior within 107 yard of becoming Kansas State's all-time career rushing leader and surpassing Eric Hickson (2,537 yards from 1994-95 to 1997-98). He enters the Colorado game with 2,431 yards rushing on 396 carries in his career.

 

Frequent visitor

Darren Sproles ranks fifth at Kansas State in career rushing touchdowns (25) and fifth in career total touchdowns (26) after grabbing his first career TD reception at Oklahoma State. He is now just seven scores shy of taking over as the schools' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns.

 

With his eight touchdowns so far this season, Sproles has now found the end zone at least once in 11 of K-State last 12 games.

 

Ten of Sproles' TDs have come on runs over 20 yards, including three over 50. All totaled, the junior is averaging a whopping 18.9 yards per score.

 

During 2002, Sproles averaged 23.8 yards on his 17 rushing touchdowns.

 

Sproles rewind

Darren Sproles' 2002 campaign was filled with one highlight after another, as he gained 1,465 yards on the ground during to become the Wildcats' all-time single-season rushing leader. Below are a few of Sproles' 2002 accomplishments:

          Sproles ended the regular season with 1,465 yards, eclipsing the mark of 1,263 set during 2001 by Josh Scobey for tops on K-State's single-season list.

          Sproles set eight other K-State records during 2002, including the single-season mark for most all-purpose yards with 1,800. The old record of 1,648 was set by Henry Hawthorne in 1970.

          Sproles ended the year with a streak of nine consecutive 100-yard games and 10 for the season.

          Josh Scobey had seven 100-yard games in 2002, while Isaac Jackson had six straight 100-yard games in 1973. Jackson and Sproles are the only Wildcats ever to string together more than three 100-yard games.

          During 2002 Sproles became the fastest Wildcat ever to reach 1,000 yards, hitting the mark on his 159th carry of the 2002 season.

          Sproles averaged 124.9 yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry during conference play, gaining 999 yards.

          Sproles finished the 2002 season ranked 19th in the nation in rushing. Sproles' 6.18 per-carry average also ranked fourth among players with at least 200 attempts. The only players with 200 carries ranked ahead of Sproles in yards per carry were Heisman Trophy candidates Larry Johnson of Penn State (7.70), Quentin Griffin of Oklahoma (6.56) and Willis McGahee of Miami, Fla. (6.22).

          Sproles' per-carry average was nearly a full yard better than the school record of 5.34 set by Eric Hickson in 1998.

          Sproles ranked 29th nationally in all-purpose yards and T34th in scoring.

          Sproles' scored 104 points during 2002, becoming just the fifth Wildcat to top 100 points in a season.

 

Cats ride Schwinn in Roberson's absence

With starting quarterback Ell Roberson sidelined the for two games, Jeff Schwinn filled in admirably, passing for 469 yards and completing 31 of 52 attempts. Schwinn made his collegiate debut in a starting roll vs. Massachusetts and the Wildcat offense hardly missed a beat. K-State rolled up  490 yards in total offense behind a balance attack that featured 235 yards on the ground and 255 yards via the air with Schwinn at the at the controls. Schwinn led the K-State with 246 yards of total offense, including a 17-for-26, 228-yard passing performance that included a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brian Casey. In fact, Schwinn passed for more yardage vs. UMass (228) than he had previously in his entire K-State career (197). Versus Marshall, Schwinn was even more prolific through the air, connecting on 14 of 26 attempts for 241 yards, including hook-ups of 41, 35, 33 and 22 yards.

 

Teddy ballgame

Reserve sophomore linebacker Ted Sims may have had the breakout game of his career at Texas. Coming off the bench in the second quarter, Sims finished the game with a career-high and team-best 15 tackles, including seven solo stops and a pair of sacks. His performance vs. the Longhorns vaulted him into K-State starting spot at middle linebacker  vs. Oklahoma State. He responded with a solid eight-tackle effort that included four solo stops. Not bad for a player that enter the Texas game with just 13 total tackles for the season and was credited with just one solo stop during the entire 2002 campaign.

 

Big Play James

When the Wildcats need to make a long-distance call, they are increasingly dialing the number of senior wide receiver James Terry. Terry, who has hauled in a team-leading 29 receptions in Kansas State's first seven games, has made every one count, averaging 22.4 yards per reception, including a 6-for-119, two-touchdown effort at Oklahoma State. He now rank fourth in the NCAA in yards per catch, seventh in total receiving yards and 19th in yards per game.

 

At Kansas State, Terry's seven-game totals rank as the second-best start of the Bill Snyder era.

 

Through seven games, Terry has already topped 100-yards receiving four times this season and has accounted for nearly 43 percent of K-State's passing yardage and 35 percent of the Cats receptions.

 

Inside those totals are a number off big plays for the senior, who has already hauled in 11 receptions in excess of 30 yards. He finished the Cal game with two 52-yard catches, including a touchdown, and added a 43-yarder vs. Troy State. Versus McNeese State, Terry hauled in four catches for 112 yards and a 43-yard touchdown. He may have had his best day in a K-State uniform vs. UMass, grabbing a career-high eight receptions for 120 yards, including strikes of 24 and 35 yards. Versus Marshall, Terry had just three receptions but finished the game with 74 yards receiving, including a 35-yarder. At Texas, Terry turned a middle screen into a 45-yard gain to set up K-State's go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

 

Overall, Terry has had at least one catch in each of the last 14 games in which he played.

 

Terry Stacks up with the best

Kansas State James Terry may not receive the same recognition as some of the Big 12's other top receivers but there is little doubt as to his value to the Wildcats. In each of the last three games, K-State has squared off with one of the nation's top receivers. And in each game, Terry has produce better numbers. It started vs. Marshall, as the K-State senior out-dueled acclaimed Thundering Herd wide out Darius Watts, finishing the game with three receptions for 74 yards to Watts' 2-for-13 effort. Against Texas, the Wildcats held All-America candidate Roy Williams to just 22 yards on three catches, while Terry led all receivers with 66 yards on three receptions. Last week at Oklahoma State, the story was the same. Highly-touted Cowboy wide receiver Rashaun Wood had a strong game, catching six passes for 118 yards, but was held out of the end zone for the first time this season. Terry, meanwhile, had six grabs for 119 yards, including touchdowns of 40 and 22 yards.

 

Buhl having big season

Kansas State linebacker Josh Buhl, the Big 12's defensive player of the week for games of Sept. 13, wrapped up K-State's game vs. Texas on Oct. 4 as the nation's No. 2 tackler with 14.7 per game. After receiving credit for 13 stops vs. Oklahoma State, He now as 101 the season. On pace to shatter K-State's single-season tackle record currently held by Gary Spani (1977) and Danny Lankas (1967) with 178, Buhl has recorded double-figure stops in all seven games this season, including 18-tackle performances three times and an 11-tackle outing at Texas. At his current pace of just under 14.4 stops per game, Buhl would end the regular season tops on K-State's single-season tackle chart with 187.

 

Buhl's 101 total tackles includes 59 solo stops and is 37 more than Kansas State's No. 2 tackler, Bryan Hickman, who has received credit for 64 total tackles. He enters the OSU game ranked ninth on the Wildcats' career tackles chart with 315.

 

Iron Man

Center Nick Leckey has been a stalwart on the offensive line for Kansas State. The senior, who enters the Colorado game with 32 straight starts (33 career) dating back to the 2001 season opener, has been tapped as a preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and Playboy and is on watch lists for the Rimington, Outland Trophy and Lombardi awards.

 

Rheem adding up

Junior place-kicker Joe Rheem has shrugged off a shaky 2002 campaign and has proved to be a reliable weapon thus far in 2003.

 

Through seven games, Rheem is Kansas State's leading scorer with 52 points (28 extra points and eight field goals). He also ranks nationally in two categories, including 50th in scoring (7.43 points per game), 45th in field goals (1.14 per game).

 

For his career, Rheem has scored 165 total points and ranks ninth all-time in scoring at K-State.

 

He enters the Colorado game having made 46 consecutive PAT attempts dating back to the second quarter of the Iowa State game on Nov. 9, 2002, including all 25 tries this year. Overall, Rheem has made 102-of-109 extra-point attempts in his career, which ranks fourth on K-State's career list for both PATs and PAT attempts and needs just one more PATs to move into the top 10 in a single-season Rheem has also been much more consistent on field goal attempts in 2003, connecting on 8-of-9, including a career-long 44-yarder against McNeese State, two 40-plus yard boots vs. Marshall and a 41-yard field goal vs. Texas.  Overall, he is a perfect 5-for-5 on attempts of 40 yards or longer on the year. His eight field goals this season rank him tied for 21st nationally and third in the Big 12 Conference.

 

Two tight

Kansas State got plenty of production out of its tight ends at Oklahoma State as Brian Casey and Thomas Hill combined for seven receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Casey finished the game with career highs in both receptions and yards, hauling in five balls for 70 yards. Hill's appearance was his first of the year for the Oklahoma native. And the preseason All-Big 12 pick looked every bit the part, making two receptions for 28 yards, including a 16-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.