DALLAS - Kansas State running back Darren Sproles has been named SBC Big 12 offensive player of the week for games of Nov. 22 in voting by a select panel of media covering the league, conference officials announced Monday.
A junior from Olathe, Kan., Sproles turned in perhaps the nations finest rushing performance by a running back this season as Kansas State clinched the 2003 Big 12 North title with a 24-14 victory over Missouri Saturday. Sproles finished the game with 273 yards on 43 carries, setting school records in both categories. He also had touchdown runs of five and seven yards, helping stake the Wildcats to an early 14-0 lead. He also outgained the entire Missouri team, 285-264, for the game, including his two receptions for 12 yards.
Sproles' 273 yards are the most by a running back in NCAA Division I this season and the second most by any player - Missouri's Brad Smith had 291 yards vs. Texas Tech. The figure also ranks 10th on the Big 12's single-game rushing chart. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry despite not having a run over 22 yards vs. the Tigers and had 186 yards on 23 carries to just 99 total for Missouri at halftime.
With his performance, Sproles broke the school single-season rushing record for the second straight year, finishing the game with 1,713 on the season, and became Kansas State's career all-purpose yards leader (4,315). He now holds K-State rushing yardage records for single-game (273), single-season (1,713) and career rushing (3,388), as well as the all-purpose record for a single season (2,305), which ranks third all-time in the Big 12.
Over the last three games, Sproles has rushed for 614 yards (204.7 ypg/7.1 ypc), topping 200 yards vs. both Iowa State (201) and Missouri (273) to go along with his 140 yards at Nebraska. Over the last four games, Sproles has averaged 192.2 yards per contest, totaling 769 yards on 106 attempts.
After going nearly two years without receiving the weekly conference offensive honor, Sproles’ selection gives Kansas State two offensive player of the week winners in as many weeks. Senior quarterback Ell Roberson was selected as the SBC Big 12 offensive player of the week for his performance at Nebraska on Nov. 15.
It is the fourth weekly award this season for Kansas State and the second time Sproles has received player-of-the-week honors from the Big 12. The junior was tapped as the league’s special teams player of the week for his play vs. Kansas on Oct. 25, but had never previously been recognized by the conference for his performance on offense during his three-year career.
It just the third time in school history that Kansas State players have received offensive player-of-the-week honors in consecutive games. Josh Scobey was named Big 12 offensive player of the week for his performances against Kansas (Oct. 27) and Iowa State (Nov. 3) during the 2001 season. In 1993, Andre Coleman and Chad May received back-to-back Big Eight offensive player of the week awards for their play vs. Missouri (Oct. 15) and Oklahoma State (Oct. 22), respectively.
Last season, Kansas State picked up the league’s player-of-the-week honor five times with Terence Newman earning the award once on defense (Eastern Illinois) and twice on special teams (Louisiana-Monroe and Missouri). Terry Pierce (USC) and Bobby Walker (Iowa State) also received the award on defense.
Under head coach Bill Snyder, Wildcat players have earned player-of-the week honors 71 times - 24 offense, 31 defense and 16 special teams.