K-State Faces Buffs in Homecoming Battle
MANHATTAN, Kan. Welcome back to the Little Apple, alumni. Today’s game versus Big 12 North Division rival Colorado will serve as the centerpiece of Kansas State’s annual Homecoming festivities as K-Staters from around the world return to Manhattan to celebrate their purple pride.
Under head coach Bill Snyder, homecoming games have traditionally been winning affairs for the Wildcats. In the past 16 seasons, K-State is a sparkling 14-2 in homecoming games, including a run of 14-straight wins from 1990-2003.
Texas Tech put a dent in the Wildcats’ streak last year, knocking off Kansas State 35-25. It was the first homecoming loss for the Wildcats since Snyder’s first season at Kansas State in 1989.
Since K-State’s first homecoming game in 1915, the Wildcats are 27-57-5 with the alumni back on campus. But to give you an indication as to how far the program has come under Snyder, Kansas State was a dismal
5-37-2 in homecoming games from the end of World War II until his arrival in 1989.
What do you get when you mix Kansas State and Colorado? Well, since 2000 the resulting concoction has been a Big 12 North Division championship.
Over the past five seasons, the two teams have dominated the league’s North division, with the Wildcats playing in the league’s title game in 2000 and 2003 and the Buffaloes representing the North in 2001, 2002 and 2004.
And this afternoon’s game is shaping up to be another epic battle as a look inside the numbers shows that the disparity between the Wildcats and Buffaloes is not that far off.
On offense, Kansas State ranks 68th nationally in total offense compared to CU’s No. 54 ranking. Defensively, Kansas State ranks 38th in total defense, while Colorado checks in at No. 30. Moreover, rushing yards may be at a premium today, especially with both teams struggling to move the ball consistently on the ground.
K-State enters the game ranked No. 28 in rushing defense, while CU’s unit is one of the best in the nation at No. 5. On offense, both teams are ranked above No. 60 nationally in rushing offense.
After suffering its first home loss of the season, Kansas State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) will be out to get things back on track this week as the Wildcats enter a crucial stretch of games vs. the Big 12 North. K-State picked up its lone conference victory of the year in its home division with a 12-3 win over Kansas on Oct. 8. Since then, the Wildcats have suffered back-to-back setbacks against the South, including a two-point heartbreaker last week vs. Texas A&M.
But despite the losses, Kansas State appears to have found itself a starting quarterback in Allan Evridge. The redshirt freshman south paw has thrown for 549 yards (274.5 yards per game) on 37-for-69 passing with five touchdowns in his first two career starts at Texas Tech and at home against Texas A&M. Versus the Aggies, Evridge total 357 yards through the air for the most passing yards by a K-State quarterback since Michael Bishop threw for 441 vs. Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 26, 1998.
His favorite targets continue to be sophomore Jordy Nelson and junior Jermaine Moreira. Nelson has quickly established himself as the Wildcats’ top scoring threat offensively this season. Through seven games, Nelson has hauled in a team-high 26 receptions for 426 yards, eighth-most in the Big 12 (60.9 ypg), and a team-best seven touchdowns. With a touchdown reception in each of the first seven games this season, Nelson currently possesses the third-longest consecutive game scoring streak in the nation. Meanwhile, his eight touchdowns on the season, one of which came on a blocked punt recovery, ranks tops among Big 12 receivers.
Moreira is just one catch behind Nelson with 25 on the year for 330 yards. He notched his first touchdown of the season on a nifty 42-yard catch and run against Texas A&M and has proved to be one of the leagues most reliable receivers.
With record-setting senior quarterback Joel Klatt under center, Colorado (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) enters today’s game on a roll. The Buffaloes have won three of their last four, with the lone loss coming on the road at No. 2-ranked Texas.
With a bevy of receivers to choose from eight Buffs have recorded double-digit receptions this season Klatt ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 in passing and averages 232.6 yards per contest.
But it’s the Colorado defense that had really flexed its muscles this season. CU already owns two shutouts this year and ranks as the country’s No. 5 rush defense. On the scoreboard, the Buffaloes are yielding just 18.0 points per game to rank 20th nationally and third in the Big 12.
LAST YEAR WAS A THRILLER
Though it did not turn out the way many dressed in purple would have liked, last year’s 38-31 thriller in Boulder was certainly one for the ages.
With a possible Big 12 North title on the line, Kansas State scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to rally from deficits of 24-10 and 31-24 to tie the game at 31 with just 36 seconds to play.
Colorado appeared content to settle for overtime in the waning seconds, but after converting a 3rd-and-long, Joel Klatt hit Ron Monteilh on a 64-yard Hail Mary with five seconds to play to give the Buffaloes a 38-31 win.
The CU victory marked the third time the Buffs had defeated K-State by 10 points or less since 2001.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, architect of what many have called the greatest turnaround in the history of college football, is in his 17th season at the helm of the Wildcat football program.
During his tenure in Manhattan, Snyder has guided K-State to an impressive 135-65-1 record, which includes fourth Big 12 North Division crowns and a Big 12 championship in 2003. The fourth winningest coach in the country since the start of the 1993 season, Snyder ranks seventh in terms of career
winning percentage among active NCAA Division I-A coaches.
Snyder has also guided Kansas State to 11 bowl berths in the last 12 years a feat accomplished by only seven other teams in the country and 10 seasons with nine or more victories.
Colorado’s Gary Barnett is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Buffaloes and his 16th
overall as a collegiate head coach. He owns a 47-35 record at CU, along with a 90-91-2 mark as a head coach.
Prior to taking over the Buffaloes’ program, Barnett served as the head coach at Northwestern, where led the Wildcats to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 1995 and 1996. He was also named the national coach of the year in 1995 by 18 different organizations.