2005 Kansas State Football
Game No. 10
Kansas State at Nebraska
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005 1:00 p.m. (CT)
Lincoln, Neb. Memorial Stadium (73,918) FieldTurf
On the Air
Radio K-State Sports Network
Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play
Stan Weber, color
Matt Walters, sidelines
cats in Must-win mode at Nebraska
Kansas State hits the road for the final time in 2005 this Saturday, when the Wildcats travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 1 p.m.
Coming off a 45-17 loss at Iowa State and having dropped its last four in a row, K-State (4-5, 1-5 Big 12) finds itself in a must-win situation if it is going to keep its 2005 bowl hopes alive.
Nebraska, a 40-15 loser at Kansas last week, is also in need of a win. The Huskers (5-4, 2-4 Big 12), who are in the midst of a three-game slide of their own, can get bowl eligible with a victory Saturday over the Wildcats and build some momentum heading into their season finale at Colorado in two weeks.
For the fourth straight week, there will be no live television for K-State’s game. The game will air live on radio across the 32-station K-State Sports Network. Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and former Wildcat quarterback Stan Weber (analyst) will call the action, with Matt Walters providing updates from the sidelines.
A Quick Look at the Wildcats
The Wildcats will be playing for their postseason lives this week as Kansas State looks to snap out of a four-game tailspin that has brought it to the brink of elimination from the 2005 bowl picture. Since sprinting to a 3-0 start to the season, the Wildcats have fallen on hard times in Big 12 play, dropping 5 of 6 contests, including a pair of heartbreakers that had they gone the other way would have completely changed the make-up of the season.
Stymied by slow starts, untimely turnovers and penalties, Kansas State has struggled to play consistently of late. Still, the Wildcats are averaging 25.3 points per game, while giving up 27.8, on average this season. Behind the left arm of freshman quarterback Allan Evridge, K-State is passing for 221.6 yards per game, its best total since 1998. The Wildcat rushing attack has been a different matter, though. K-State is averaging 116.7 yard per game but has topped the century mark on the ground just once Big 12 play.
On defense, Kansas State has been an improved unit this season but has faced a number of short-field assignments. The Wildcats rank 39th nationally in rushing defense (127.4 ypg) and 47th in total defense (352.7 ypg). On the scoreboard, the Cats have yielded 250 points this year, with 82 (9.1 per game) coming as a direct result of 12 turnovers inside the K-State 40-yard line, a safety and three blocked punts.
Saturday’s Kansas State-Nebraska game marks just the just the second time since 1993 that the Wildcats’ and Cornhuskers’ annual match-up will not be televised. From 1993 to 2003, K-State and Nebraska had 11 consecutive meetings televised either nationally or regionally. Saturday’s game is also the fourth straight week this season that the Wildcats have not been included in the Big 12’s weekly television lineup. K-State’s four-week absence from the tube is its longest since the Wildcats were left off the Big 12 television package for four consecutive games during the 2003 season (Oct. 18 vs. Colorado through Nov. 8 at Iowa State).
Cats Running Out of Bowl lives
Kansas State’s 45-17 loss last week at Iowa State was its fifth of the season through nine games. With just two games remaining, the Wildcats must win both if they are to qualify for their 12th bowl berth in the last 13 years. A loss at Nebraska this week would not only eliminate K-State from the 2005 bowl picture, but would also mark the first time since the 1991 and 1992 campaigns that the Wildcats missed the postseason in back-to-back years.
Put on the Brakes
Kansas State will be looking to snap one of its longest losing streak of the Bill Snyder era when the Wildcats square off with Nebraska Saturday. The Wildcats’s current four-game slide marks just the third time since 1990 that the K-State has dropped four games in a row. The last time Kansas State lost four straight was during the 2001 campaign, when the Wildcats opened conference play with four straight losses before closing the year with wins in four of their last five games. The Cats also dropped four in a row during the 1992 campaign, including their first three Big Eight games. Kansas State has not lost five straight games since the 1989 season - Snyder’s first at K-State - when the Wildcats lost their final seven of the year.
The Buck Stops Here
Kansas State will be looking to snap a number of negative streaks when the Wildcats take on Nebraska. In addition to their current four-game slide, which includes a two-point loss to Texas A&M and a three-point setback vs. Colorado, the Wildcats will also be out to end a three-game road losing streak on the season. K-State’s lone road win this year was a 21-19 victory at Marshall back on Sept. 10. The Cats have also dropped four-straight Big 12 road games, dating to last season. Kansas State’s last road win in league play was a 35-24 come-from-behind victory at Missouri on Nov. 6, 2004, that saw the Wildcats overcome a 21-point second-quarter deficit.
History Says Don’t Count Out the Cats
Though Kansas State is not in an ideal position heading into the season’s final two games as far as the Wildcats’ 2005 bowl hopes are concerned, Bill Snyder’s teams have developed a well-deserved reputation for strong finishes. And that could bode well for K-State. Since the start of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, the Wildcats has won nearly 80 percent of their final two games of the regular season, posting a 14-4 mark over the last nine years. Six times during that nine-year span K-State went a perfect 2-0 (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003).
Coming off a loss
If ever Kansas State needed a bounce-back win the time is now. Riding just the program’s third four-game losing streak since 1990, Kansas State enters the week with a 19-12 (.613) record under head coach Bill Snyder when coming off a loss. This season, K-State is just 1-3 in the game following a loss, with the lone bounce-back victory coming in the Sunflower Showdown vs. Kansas, 12-3. Overall, three of those 12 setbacks occurred during the 2001 season, with two coming during the 2003 campaign. Last year, the Wildcats were 3-3 in the games following a loss, with bounce-back wins vs. UL-Lafayette, Nebraska and Missouri.
What a Difference Six points Can Make
The fine line between a winning season and a losing one couldn’t be more clear than when examining Kansas State’s 2005 campaign. The Wildcats dropped their last two home games by a total of five points, falling to Texas A&M, 30-28, and to Big 12 North leader Colorado, 23-20. A quick look at the stats shows that Kansas State was just about even with its opponents in first downs (38 to 40) and total offense (338.0 to 367.5) and number of penalties (16 to 18) but was minus four in the giveaway/takeaway column. Had the two games gone the other way, K-State would be sitting at 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12.
K-State Still Among the Big 12’s Best
As the Big 12 begins closing the books on the league’s first decade, few teams can claim to have fared better in conference play than Kansas State. With four North Division titles, three championship game appearances, a league title and 52 wins, the Wildcats have plenty to be proud of. In terms of overall success, only Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska have laid claim to more conference victories than K-State, which has won nearly 70 percent of its league games since joining the Big 12.
A big part of the Wildcats’s success has been K-State’s ability to win on the road. Since the inception of the Big 12, only Texas (25) has won more Big 12 road games than Kansas State (23), which has won nearly 60 percent of its games in enemy stadiums. In nine-plus years, the Wildcats are 23-16 when playing on the Big 12 road, winning at least one Big 12 road game each season.
Kings of the north
No Big 12 North team has won more intra-division games in the leagues North Division than Kansas State. Heading into Saturday’s game with Nebraska, the Wildcats are 35-13 (.729) vs. division opponents since 1996. Three times K-State has run the table vs. its northern brethren, posting perfect 5-0 marks in 1998, 2000 and 2003. Three other seasons the Cats have won at least four games. The only season Kansas State has had a losing record occurred during last year’s 2-3 run vs. the North. This season, the Wildcats are 1-2 against the North.
Series with Huskers taking on a Purple shade
Nebraska may lead the all-time series with Kansas State by a wide 74-15-2 margin, however the matchup has taken on a decidedly purple hue in recent years. K-State enters Saturday’s meeting riding a three-game winning streak over the Huskers, marking the first time that the Wildcats have ever won three in a row over Nebraska. In fact, K-State has won four of the last five and five of the last seven games between the two teams. A victory over Nebraska Saturday would give K-State its consecutive wins at Memorial Stadium since the 1956 and 1958 seasons. The Wildcats defeated the Huskers, 38-9, during their last visit to Lincoln in 2003. In fact, Kansas State has outscored Nebraska 132-43 during its three-game winning streak, an average of 29.7 points per game. Of course, the Huskers hold the granddaddy of all streaks in the series, winning 29 straight between 1969 and 1997.
Kansas State in Lincoln
It may seem odd, but Kansas State has actually had more success in its series with Nebraska in Lincoln than Manhattan. Of the Wildcats’ 15 wins over the Huskers, eight have come north of the state line. Kansas State’s 38-9 victory over Nebraska in its 2003 visit to Memorial Stadium was the Wildcats’ first win in Lincoln since 1968 and snapped a 17-game losing streak at Nebraska.
There are several connections between the athletics departments at Nebraska and Kansas State. Here are a few.
Kansas State Associate Athletics Director/SWA Laura Tietjen played basketball at Nebraska and is a 1981 graduate of NU.
Nebraska Associate Athletics Director for Communications Chirs Anderson worked two years as Assistant SID at Kansas State.
Nebraska executive associate athletic director Marc Boehm is a 1984 graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor's degree in communications.
NU’s academic counselor and coordinator of multicultural programs, Ragean Hill, received her bachelor's in life science (2002) and her master's degree (2004) from K-State. As an undergraduate, Hill was a member of the KSU track and field squad for two seasons. As a graduate, she served an academics graduate assistant.
Kansas State boasts five players from the state of Nebraska on its current roster. K-State’s Cornhusker State natives include: freshman quarterback Allan Evridge (Papillon/La Vista), freshman defensive back John McCardle (Omaha/Millard North), freshman offensive lineman Derek Meyer (Campbell/Silver Lake), freshman tight end Nate Prater (Omaha/Central) and freshman offensive lineman Brad Rooker (Omaha/Millard North).
Tale of the tape
For the second-straight week, Kansas State appears to be very statistically similar to its upcoming opponent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. K-State and Nebraska both average right around 24 points per game (KS-25.3/NU-23.0) and both squads have totaled similar first down numbers (KS-153/NU-157) through nine games. Both teams are also gaining most of their yardage through the air, with Kansas State averaging 221.6 yards per game on 146-for-264 passing and Nebraska throwing for 210.2 yards on average, connecting 176-of-327 attempts. Want more? Both teams are also averaging just around 30 minutes of possession time per game (KS-30:14/NU-29:03). The main difference can be found in turnovers. While Kansas State has turned the ball over 24 times, Nebraska has five fewer on the year with 19. However, both teams are on the negative side of the equation in turnover margin (KS -0.78/NU -0.33).
Kansas State and Nebraska have faced four common opponents this season Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech and Iowa State - with both teams posting a 1-3 record in those four games. While K-State beat cross-state rival Kansas and lost to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Iowa State, the Huskers defeated Iowa State before falling to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas. The Wildcats also faced the Sooners, Red Raiders and Cyclones on the road, with Nebraska hosting all three at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
Kansas State continues its string of day games this week, when the Wildcats travel to Nebraska for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kick at Memorial Stadium. Following the game, K-State will have played nine of their 10 games during the daytime. The Wildcats’ lone night game this season was a 6:10 p.m. start at Oklahoma for a Fox Sports Net national telecast. Heading into the Nebraska game, K-State is 4-4 when playing in the daytime, including a 1-2 ledger on the road.
Kansas State extended its consecutive games scoring streak to 113 at Iowa State. The 113-game stretch is a school record and the 12th longest in the nation as the Wildcats have not been kept off the scoreboard since Colorado blanked K-State, 12-0, in 1996. The previous longest streak in school history of 60 games also took place during the Bill Snyder era at Kansas State and occurred between 1991 and 1996. In the Big 12, only Colorado (205 games - sixth longest in the country) and Nebraska (120 games) own longer streaks than the Wildcats.
With its ground game finding the yards tough to come by, Kansas State has found itself going to the air much more often of late. The Wildcats have hoisted 30 or more passes in each of the last three games, with freshman signal-caller Allan Evridge completing 23-of-44 attempts for 357 yards vs. Texas A&M, 19-of-40 vs. Colorado for 211 yards and 17-of-30 at Iowa State for 221 yards. The Wildcats’ 30 pass attempts in the last three games marks the first time K-State has thrown 30 or more times in three straight games this season.
Kansas State is not only throwing the ball more of late, the Wildcats are also connecting. Through nine games, the Wildcats are averaging 221.6 yards per game through the air. That figure is the most by a K-State team since the 1998 Wildcats, quarterbacked by Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Bishop, averaged 253.5 yards per game. It is also the second-highest average by a Kansas State team during the Big 12 era.
Kansas State has begun to turn up the heat in the passing game over the past seven weeks behind quarterbacks Allan Evridge and Allen Webb. Heading into the North Texas game, the Wildcats ranked 103rd in the nation in passing. Since then, Evridge and Webb have combined to complete 117 of 214 attempts for 1,707 yards and 10 scores, for an average of 243.9 yards per game. K-State averaged just 143.5 yards per game through the air in its first two outings this season.
Cat QBs Tossing TDs
Kansas State may not be Texas Tech when it comes to the passing game, but the Wildcats have certainly received improved play from the quarterback spot this season. In addition to connecting at an improved percentage, K-State’s quarterbacks are also averaging more yards per completion. Heading into Saturday’s game vs. Nebraska, Wildcat quarterbacks have tossed 14 touchdowns on the season, two more that they did in all 11 games last season. The 2005 Wildcats also moved into K-State’s single-season top 10 for touchdown passes last week at Iowa State, when Allan Evridge connected with Davin Dennis on a 23-yard scoring strike. At its current pace, Kansas State would end the season with 17 touchdown passes, good for the seventh-best mark in school history. The K-State team record for touchdown passes in a season is 27 and was set during the 1995 campaign.
One And Done
Kansas State posted its second one-play, 80-yard drive of the season at Texas Tech when Allan Evridge connected with Jordy Nelson on a deep post pattern to put the Wildcats up 13-10 with 2:27 to play in the second quarter. In its season opener vs. Florida International, the Wildcats opened the second half with a one-play, 80-yard drive as Thomas Clayton ripped through the middle then out-ran the Golden Panthers’ secondary for a touchdown. K-State has also unveiled some one-play magic on special teams this year, with three sudden-change touchdowns on special teams.
After not scoring a special teams touchdown all of last season, the Wildcats have hit pay dirt three times on special teams in 2005. Jermaine Moreira got the ball rolling with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. North Texas. Yamon Figurs was the next Wildcat to get into the act, scooting 98 yards for a TD with a third-quarter kickoff return at Texas Tech. It marked the first time since the 2002 season that the Cats had scored on a kickoff return. Last week, K-State notched its third special teams score when Jordy Nelson recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown vs. Texas A&M. Since 1998, K-State has now scored 27 special teams touchdowns, including seven during 2002 alone. That figure stands as the high-water mark over the last eight seasons.
Kansas State rolled up 658 yards vs. North Texas to set the school record for total offensive yards in a game. It marked the first time K-State had been over the 500-yard mark since grinding out 502 in last year’s season opener. The last time K-State totaled over 600 yards occurred during the 1998 campaign, when the Wildcats totaled 607 vs. NE Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe). The previous school record for total offense was set on Sept. 27, 1997, when Kansas State amassed 638 yards in a 58-0 win over Bowling Green.
WildCat D Better Than Scoring Numbers Indicate
Kansas State’s scoring defense average of 27.8 points per game may not appear overly impressive, but the unit has actually played better than the numbers would indicate. Of the 250 points the Wildcats have given up this year, 82 (9.1 per game) are a direct result of 12 turnovers inside the K-State 40-yard line, a safety and a trio of blocked punts, meaning that opponents have needed to drive a grand total of 199 yards to score just under 33 percent of their points this season. Overall, 22-of-39 opponent scoring drives this season have traveled less than 50 yards with three others requiring no drive at all.
Long drives not Easy
Kansas State’s defense has been difficult to drive against so far this season. Of the 113 drives opponents have started on their own side of the 50, the Wildcats have yielded points on just 20 of them (17 percent). The 20 scoring drives include 15 touchdowns and five field goals for a total of 120 of the 250 points (48.0 percent) K-State has given up this season.
Paper or Plastic?
After struggling to get pressure on the quarterback earlier in the season, Kansas State has made its presence felt in opposing backfields of late. In the first five games of the season, the Wildcats collected a total of just seven sacks (1.4 per game). In the last four games, K-State has had 11 (2.75 per game), nearly double its early-season per game average.
Third Down Go-To-Guys
Kansas State has converted 53 of its 137 (39 percent) third downs this season and has gone to numerous offensive weapons for the conversions. Allan Evridge leads the team in third-down converts with nine followed by Jordy Nelson and Thomas Clayton with seven each. Jermaine Moreira has six third-down conversions to round out K-State’s top four producers.
Sophomore Jordy Nelson, with his team-leading 37 receptions, is the lone Wildcat to have at least one reception in every game this year. He also has had at least 50 yards receiving in six of the Wildcats’ nine games and 40 or more in seven of the nine.
Just Give him Six
Sophomore Jordy Nelson has quickly established himself as the Wildcats’ top scoring threat offensively this season. Through nine games, Nelson has hauled in a team-high 37 receptions for 552 yards, ninth-most in the Big 12 (61.3 ypg), and a team-best seven touchdowns. Nelson, a big and fast target at 6-3 and 210 pounds, caught a touchdown reception in each of the first seven games this season, marking the first receiver in school history to do so. His seven touchdowns in the first seven games was the third longest active streak in the nation until he was held out of the end zone for the first time this season against Colorado.
Jordy Climbing Receiving Charts
Sophomore Jordy Nelson, with his 37 catches for 552 yards and seven touchdowns, is rapidly approaching the record books at Kansas State. He needs 244 more yards to move into the top 10 in single-season receiving yards and just one more catch to move into fourth place among sophomore receivers in single-season catches and just five to move into second place. His seven touchdown receptions are tied for the seventh-most in school history and he needs just two more to move into fourth place.
Super Fresh, II
Redshirt freshman quarterback Allan Evridge has quickly become Kansas State’s most prolific freshman quarterback of all time. The first freshman quarterback since Paul Watson in 1988 to start for a Wildcat team, Evridge is K-State’s all-time freshman leader in both passing yards (1,263) and touchdown passes (6) for a season. He is also the first freshman quarterback to attempt at least 30 passes in three straight games, which he has done in the previous three weeks. Evridge has been quite efficient through the air this season as he currently is sixth in the Big 12 and 73rd nationally with a 119.8 rating.
Nelson, Moreira Duo Gettin’ it Done
Jordy Nelson and Jermaine Moreira have developed into the two main go-to receivers when Kansas State goes to the air in 2005. Through nine games, the two have combined for 71 receptions (Nelson, 37 and Moreira, 34) and 1,020 yards. In all, K-State has completed 146 passes this season with 71 of those (49-percent) going to Moreira and Nelson. Also, 11 of those completions, six to Nelson, have gone for 20-plus yards and seven touchdowns.
Moreira Jumping Receiving Yards Charts
Jermaine Moreira topped 1,000 receiving yards for his career after a 101-yard performance against the Texas A&M Aggies. Now, through 35 career games, the senior has racked up 1,151 receiving yards for his career, which are the 15th-most in school history.
Moreira Closing in on 100 Catches
Jermaine Moreira, after catching three passes for 53 yards at Iowa State, now has 90 career receptions as a Kansas State Wildcat and is closing in on the record books. Moreira needs just six more catches to move into 10th place all-time in school history in receptions and needs just 10 more to become the eighth player in school history to catch 100 passes for his career.
High Rate of Returns
Coming off an impressive stretch run in 2004, junior Jermaine Moreira has ignited the Kansas State special teams unit with his returns in 2005. Through nine games, Moreira ranks 33rd nationally and sixth in the Big 12 in punt returns with his 10.6 average. After producing a 67-yard punt return vs. Florida International, Moreira put his kick return abilities on display at Marshall, with three for 92 yards, including a 42-yarder that nearly went the distance. He then took one to the house against North Texas, a 62-yarder in which he dodged several defenders before breaking loose down the sidelines.
Norwood Catching on
Sophomore tight end Rashaad Norwood has seen his role in the Wildcat offense as a receiver increase over the last few weeks as he has tied a career high for receptions in consecutive games against Colorado and Iowa State. Against the Buffs, Norwood had three catches for 27 yards and then followed with three more catches for 59 yards at Iowa State. He also caught a career-long 34-yard pass in the game against the Cyclones.
Fisher 16 Yards From Freshman Rushing mark
Redshirt freshman tailback Parrish Fisher, who has averaged a team-best 6.0 yards a carry in six games, made his first career against North Texas and became the first freshman tailback to start for the Wildcats in the Bill Snyder era. Fisher carried 21 times for 169 yards against the Mean Green, becoming the first freshman ever at K-State to rush for over 100 yards in a game. Fisher also set a freshman record with 21 carries and is currently second all-time in single-season rushing by a freshman with 289 yards. Fisher needs just 16 yards to become K-State’s all-time freshman rushing leader as Roosevelt Duncan currently is tops with 304 yards back in 1976.
Clary Anchors Young O-Line
Senior offensive lineman Jeromey Clary is the anchor to a very young K-State offensive line in 2005. The All-Big 12 candidate has made 35 consecutive starts on the line for the Wildcats, the first 26 at right tackle before moving to left tackle this season. Clary has anchored a line that is very talented but also very young and inexperienced. Of the seven different offensive linemen that have made starts this season, six did so for the first time in 2005. John Hafferty, Caleb Handy, Chris Wofford, Jacob Voegeli, Jordan Bedore and Matt Boss have all made their first career starts this season and K-State has used a different line combination in four of nine games.
Snodgrass Moves into Top 10
Sophomore Jeff Snodgrass has settled in nicely as Kansas State’s place-kicker and after the Iowa State game, moved into 10th place in the single-season record books with his 10th field goal of the season. Snodgrass is 10-for-15 on the year in field goals, including two makes of over 50 yards. Against North Texas, Snodgrass booted a 57-yarder, which tied Jamie Rheem for the fourth-longest in school history. Rheem kicked a 57-yarder back in 1999. He then kicked a 51-yarder against Colorado, marking just the fourth time in school history that a kicker has booted two or more 50-plus yarders in the same season. Also, Snodgrass is one of just five kickers nationally who have kicked two or more 50-plus yarders.
Archer on Target
Junior captain Brandon Archer heads into the Iowa State game second on the Wildcat defense with 51 total tackles, including a team-high 9.5 for a loss of 48 yards. He opened the season with a team-best five tackles, including one for a loss of a yard, in the season opener against Florida International then continued his steady play at Marshall with eight stops and a fumble recovery. Through the Colorado game, Archer has recorded five or more tackles in 13 of his last 15 games dating back to last season. In those 13 games, Archer led the Wildcat defense in tackles four times and has also collected 10 or more stops on three occasions.
Dial Zach for Tackles
Despite not starting a game yet this season, junior Zach Diles continues to impress. Tied for the team lead in fumbles forced with two, Diles ranks fifth on the team in tackles with 38, including four for loss with both force fumble coming on sacks. His nine-tackle outing at Iowa State was his second best of the year. Earlier this season, Diles had 11 at Oklahoma.
Watts, Mack Racking up Tackles
Sophomore safety Marcus Watts and junior linebacker Maurice Mack have established themselves as two of K-State’s top tacklers in 2005 as Watts enters the Nebraska game tops on the squad with 63 tackles, while Mack is third with 45. Not bad for two guys who spent the spring and fall workouts learning new positions. Watts moved from wide receiver and has become one of the Wildcats’ hardest hitters, while Mack has added speed to the linebacking position after moving from safety. After nine games, one of the two has led the team in tackles in all but three games and one or both have been in the top three in tackles in all but just the North Texas game. Also, Watts has been K-State’s leading tackler in Big 12 play as he has recorded 49 total tackles, 41 solo, during the six conference games, including a career-best 10 tackles, all solo, against Colorado.
Williams has big game in Start
Junior safety Kyle Williams, who hadn’t made a start since the season-opener against Florida International, had a big game at Iowa State in his second start of the season. Against the Cyclones, Williams led the team with a career-best 10 tackles, and also had a sack of three yards and now has 13 tackles in games that he has started and 19 in the other seven games.