(Courtesy of Kansas State Athletics)
K-STATE HEADS TO FORT WORTH TO FACE TCU ON FOX
Following a hard-fought 31-21 win over Texas Tech last week, Kansas State heads back out on the road in Big 12 play as the Wildcats face TCU at Amon Carter Stadium on Saturday. The game will kick at 3 p.m., and will be shown nationally on FOX with Tim Brando (play-by-play) and Spencer Tillman (analyst) on the call. The game can be heard across the 39-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sidelines) calling the action. Fans can also catch the game on SiriusXM (S: 83, X: 385, Internet: 975) in addition to the TuneIn app.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
- K-State is coming off a 31-21 win over Texas Tech to move to 2-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2014.
- That came on the heels of a 38-35 victory at then-No. 3 Oklahoma, the Wildcats’ first win over a top-five opponent on the road in school history.
- Last week against Texas Tech, Skylar Thompson became one of just two QBs in school history (Ell Roberson) to throw for 5,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a career.
- Two weeks ago at OU, he became the first QB in school history to record three wins over AP Top 10 opponents.
- True freshman Deuce Vaughn continues to impress as he leads the team in rushing and receiving, the only player in the Big 12 to lead his team in both categories.
- Last week, Vaughn tallied 194 scrimmage yards (113 rush/81 rec) a week after amassing 174 yards (45 rush/129 rec) at No. 3 Oklahoma en route to Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors after each game. Those are the top two marks in the nation this season.
- At OU, Vaughn became just the fifth RB in school history to have 100 receiving yards in a game and was the first freshman to do so. Against the Red Raiders, he became the first true freshman running back to rush for 100 yards in a game since 2008.
- K-State is currently plus-7 in turnovers – which is tied for first in the nation with UCF – and, for the second straight season, has gone the first three games without an offensive turnover. The Cats are currently the only team in the country to not have a turnover through three games.
- Senior linebacker Eli Sullivan is coming off a career-high 12-tackle performance against Texas Tech and leads the team with 21 stops on the year with fellow senior linebacker Justin Hughes.
- Wyatt Hubert’s career sack total now stands at 13.5, while his 0.50 career sacks are tied for ninth nationally among active players.
- Safety Jahron McPherson has had two big games in a row as he has combined for 19 tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two interceptions. He was named the Walter Camp, Nagurski Trophy, Thorpe Award and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week following the OU game.
- The Cats have blocked a punt and recorded an interception in each of the first three games. The last time a Wildcat team has blocked a punt in three straight games was the 1999 season.
A LOOK AT TCU
- TCU is 1-1 on the season following a big 33-31 win at Texas last week.
- Against the Longhorns, TCU scored the go-head touchdown on a Max Duggan 26-yard run with 4:01 left. The Horned Frogs then forced and recovered a Texas fumble inside their own one-yard line with less than three minutes left to preserve the lead.
- Duggan, a true sophomore, has thrown for 472 yards and three touchdowns while also leading the team in rushing with 89 yards and two scores.
- TCU’s top receiver is Taye Barber who has 12 catches for 133 yards and one touchdown.
- Defensively, Garret Wallow has a team-leading 15 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss, while La’Kendrick Van Zandt has 12 tackles and the team’s lone interception.
A LOOK AT THE SERIES
- TCU leads the all-time series, 7-6, with the Horned Frogs winning two of the last three and four of the last six.
- The series is tied, 4-4, since TCU joined the Big 12 prior to the 2012 season.
- K-State earned a hard-fought 24-17 victory last year in Manhattan to snap a two-game skid to TCU. The Wildcats are in search of their first two-game winning streak over TCU since the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
- Last season, the Wildcats went on an 11-play, 95-yard drive to score the game-winning touchdown with 2:45 on a Skylar Thompson 3-yard touchdown run.
- Last time in Fort Worth, TCU picked up a 14-13 victory as a potential game-tying extra point in the fourth quarter by the Wildcats went awry.
2-0 IN BIG 12 PLAY
- Kansas State is 2-0 in Big 12 action for the first time since 2014 and the seventh time in the 25-year history of the conference.
- The other seven times the Wildcats began a Big 12 slate at 2-0, they went on to earn at least seven conference victories five times.
- The Wildcats are looking for their sixth 3-0 start to Big 12 play in league history.
ONE OF THE BIG 12’S BEST
- K-State continues to quietly rank among the Big 12’s best teams since the league began in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 120 victories behind Oklahoma and Texas.
- The Wildcats also rank third in the conference in winning percentage since round-robin play began in 2011. They sit at 61.4% (51-32), trailing only Oklahoma (80.7%; 67-16) and Oklahoma State (65.1%; 54-29). No other team is above 60%.
- K-State has knocked off top-five teams in consecutive seasons under head coach Chris Klieman, and the win at No. 3 Oklahoma carried some extreme significance.
- Down 21 points in the third quarter, K-State became just the second team in 547 tries since 2004 to rally for a win over a top-five team when trailing in the game by 21 points. The other such win was Tennessee at LSU in 2005.
- The win was also the 10th all-time in K-State history over an Associated Press top-10 team, and the No. 3 Sooners were the highest ranked team the Wildcats have ever defeated in a true road game.
- Coupled with its win over No. 5 Oklahoma last season, it was the first time in school history K-State defeated a top-five team in consecutive seasons and just the second time ever the Wildcats had wins over top-10 teams in two-straight campaigns (2006 and 2007 vs. Texas)
- Four of K-State’s wins against AP top-10 teams have come against Oklahoma.
- Kansas State’s 21-point comeback victory at No. 3 Oklahoma tied for the largest in school history, which had occurred four other times.
- The Wildcats began their comeback with a touchdown with 1:36 left in the third quarter. Of the five total occurrences, the win over the Sooners was the latest start to the 21-point comeback.
A WINNING HISTORY
- A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds an 82-19 career record as his 81.2% winning percentage ranks ninth among all NCAA coaches – regardless of division – among those with at least seven full years of experience.
- Klieman came to Manhattan after capping his five-year stint as head coach at North Dakota State by winning his fourth national championship in 2018.
- A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Klieman guided the 2018 Bison to a perfect 15-0 record, making NDSU just the fifth team in FCS history to go undefeated and untied on the way to a national championship.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
- One of the formulas of success for Kansas State under Chris Klieman is winning the turnover battle, which the Wildcats have done in all three games this year.
- The Wildcats are plus-seven this season in turnover margin, which is tied with UCF for first in the nation.
- A year after not committing an offensive turnover in its first three games, the Wildcats have not committed any turnovers this season. K-State is the only team in the nation to play three games without a turnover.
- Kansas State played 33 freshmen during the 2019 season, including 12 true freshmen, and that trend continued in the first three games of 2020.
- So far this season, 19 freshmen have played, including eight true freshmen. Of the 19 freshmen, three have tallied starts in right tackle Cooper Beebe (3), running back Deuce Vaughn (2) and defensive back Will Jones II (1).
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TDs
- K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 21-plus seasons as it has 118 since 1999, 10 more than the next closest team.
- Since 1999, the Wildcats are averaging 5.6 non-offensive touchdowns per year, while the yearly average for the other 105 teams to play FBS football since 1999 is 2.7.
- Kansas State’s average is boosted by the fact that it has at least five non-offensive scores in seven of the last nine years, which included the 2019 season.
RED ZONE SUCCESS
- K-State finished the 2019 season with 39-straight scoring trips inside the red zone, the most by the Wildcats since at least 2003. That helped K-State finish first in the nation with a 96.2% conversion rate.
- Of K-State’s 12 red zone conversions this year, 10 have been touchdowns, and the other two were field goal makes.
- The Wildcats’ current streak of scoring in the red zone stands at 47 entering play this week.
GOING THE DISTANCE
- K-State had three touchdown drives last season of at least 90 yards – 97 yards against Nicholls, 95 yards against TCU and 98 yards against Iowa State.
- The long drive against the Frogs was capped by a 3-yard run by Skylar Thompson with 2:45 left in a 24-17 victory.
- The 98-yard drive against the Cyclones was the longest by the Wildcats since also going 98 yards against both Texas Tech and UCLA in 2017.
- K-State had a touchdown drive that spanned 92 yards in the season opener, while it went 97 yards for a touchdown last week against Texas Tech.
FEW OFFENSIVE TURNOVERS
• The Wildcats only had 10 offensive turnovers during the 2019 season (4 FUM, 6 INT), their fewest in a 13-game season in school history.
- Of the Wildcats’ nine total lost fumbles last season, three were on punt returns and one was on an interception return.
- K-State was the final team in the nation last year to commit an offensive turnover when it fumbled at OSU. The Cats went the first 189 minutes, 38 seconds of the 2019 season without committing an offensive turnover.
- Kansas State has not committed a turnover in 2020 as it is the only team to do so through three games played.
SKYLAR IN CHARGE
• Senior Skylar Thompson made his 30th career start last Saturday as he ranks third in career starts among K-State quarterbacks since 1990.
- Ell Roberson (2001-03) ranks first on the list with 32 and Josh Freeman (2006-08) is second with 31.
- Thompson ranks in the top 10 in K-State history in 14 career categories, including top-five marks in completion percentage (4th; 59.82), passing efficiency (5th; 136.0) completions (5th; 390), rushing yards by a quarterback (5th; 1,083) and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (5th; 22). More info on page 45.
- Additionally, the Independence, Missouri, product has 6,104 career offensive yards to rank fifth in school history, while his 52 career touchdowns responsible for are seventh.
• Skylar Thompson has proven to be equally effective in both the passing and running game as he is one of just two quarterbacks in school history with 5,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards.
- The other player to reach the 5,000/1,000 mark was Ell Roberson (2000-03), who threw 5,099 yards and rushed for 2,818 yards.
ICE IN HIS VEINS
• Skylar Thompson has led the Wildcats on five touchdown drives in the fourth quarter or later to either tie or take the lead during his career, including three in the last two years.
- His five game-tying or game-winning drives – which are summarized below – are the second most among K-State quarterbacks since 1990, just one behind current Wildcat QB coach Collin Klein.
- Klein’s six drives came in 2011 against Eastern Kentucky, Miami, Baylor, Texas A&M and Iowa State, and in 2012 at Oklahoma.
HOWARD EMULATES THOMPSON
• Filling in for the injured Thompson, true freshman quarterback Will Howard put together a go-ahead touchdown drive of his own in the fourth quarter last week against Texas Tech, turning a four-point deficit into a 10-point victory.
- Howard threw for 173 yards – which included a 70-yard touchdown to fellow true freshman Deuce Vaughn – as he became the first Wildcat true freshman signal caller with a 100-yard passing game since 2006 (Josh Freeman).
- He also tossed a 66-yard pass to tight end Briley Moore as he was the first Wildcat to complete two passes of at least 65 yards in one game since Jesse Ertz against Central Arkansas in the 2017 season opener.
DEUCE ON THE LOOSE
• True freshman running back Deuce Vaughn has exploded onto the scene in his first three games, leading the Wildcats in both rushing (205 yards) and receiving (234 yards).
- Vaughn, the only player in the nation this season to tally at least 200 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards, totaled 194 yards (113 rush/81 rec) vs. Texas Tech and 174 yards (45 rush/129 rec), the top two total scrimmage yard marks in the nation this year.
- At No. 3 Oklahoma, he became the fifth running back in school history – and first freshman – to tally a 100-yard receiving game. It was the fifth most in a single game by a running back in Big 12 history and the most by a freshman.
- Against Texas Tech, the Round Rock, Texas, native was the first Wildcat true freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game since 2008 (Logan Dold vs. Texas A&M).
- Vaughn also had a 70-yard touchdown reception against the Red Raiders. Coupled with his 77-yard reception at Oklahoma, he became the first Wildcat with catches of at least 70 yards in consecutive regular-season games since Tyler Lockett in 2013 (Oklahoma and TCU).
- For his efforts, Vaughn has been named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week each of the last two weeks.
• One of the top tight ends from the FCS level in 2018, Briley Moore is in his second senior season and his first campaign at K-State.
- Moore, a transfer from Northern Iowa, has started his Wildcat career on the right foot by as he has a team-leading 12 receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He is tied for seventh nationally among FBS tight ends in receptions per game.
- Last week against Texas Tech, Moore had a 66-yard catch, a career long and the longest by a Wildcat tight end since Jeron Mastrud at Kansas in 2006.
- In the season opener, Moore totaled a team-high six catches for 54 yards. His reception total was the most by a Wildcat tight end since Travis Tannahill also had six at Baylor in 2012. His 54 receiving yards were the most by a K-State tight end since Zach Trujillo went for 88 yards at Baylor in 2014.
• The Kansas State defense has started the 2020 campaign with five interceptions, the most by the Wildcats in the first three games of a season since 2011 (5).
- The Wildcats picked off one pass in the season opener and followed that up with three in the win at No. 3 Oklahoma. It was K-State’s first three-interception game since the 2018 contest at West Virginia.
- K-State’s five interceptions this year are tied for fifth in the nation entering play this week.
• Making his first-career start in the opener, defensive back Will Jones II accomplished a rare as he blocked a punt and also had an interception.
- He became the first Wildcat to block a kick (punt, PAT or FG) and have a pick in the same game since defensive tackle Raphael Guidry did so against Iowa State in 2011. He was the first Wildcat to block a punt, specifically, and have a pick in the same game since Courtney Herndon against Montana State in 2008.
RARE FEAT II
• The Wildcats as a team have now blocked a punt and had an interception in each of the first three games this season, marking the first time to do so since at least 1988.
- K-State is the first team in the nation since at least 2011 to record a blocked punt and an interception in the first three games of a season.
WYATT’S COMING FOR YOU
• One of the top young defensive ends in the Big 12 the last two seasons is looking to improve his production as a junior as Wyatt Hubert is back after earning First Team All-Big 12 honors in 2019.
- Hubert also earned votes for the league’s defensive player of the year and defensive lineman of the year awards last season.
- The Topeka, Kansas, native is tied for ninth nationally among active players in career sacks per game (0.50), while he is 10th in tackles for loss per game (0.91).
McPHERSON’S BIG DAY
• Senior Jahron McPherson had one of the best individual defensive performances in school history in K-State’s win at No. 3 Oklahoma as he came away with 11 tackles – including one for a loss – forced a fumble and carded the game-clinching interception.
- It was the first time since at least 2002 that a Wildcat had double digit tackles, a TFL, a forced fumble and an interception in a single game.
- For his effort against the Sooners, he earned national awards from the Walter Camp Foundation, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award in addition to being named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• Kansas State has been far and away the best team among FBS programs over the last 15-plus years when it comes to scoring via a kickoff or punt return.
- The Wildcats have a combined 53 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns since 2005, 21 more than any other FBS school during that stretch.
- Of the 116 other schools to play FBS football since 2005, the average total over those 15 years is 13.3, or nearly 40 less than K-State.
• K-State has blocked punts in the first three games of the season. It is the first time K-State has blocked punts in three-consecutive games since 1999 (Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma).
- It is the first time the Wildcats have blocked punts in each of the first three games of a season since at least 1988.
- K-State is the first team in the FBS to block a punt in each of the first three games of a season since Memphis did so in 2012.
LYNCH IS ACCURATE
• Senior Blake Lynch has proven to be an accurate kicker as his career field goal percentage of 85.7% (36-for-42) currently ranks sixth nationally among active players and is second in school history.
- Lynch, a two-time Lou Groza Award candidate, ranked third in school history a year ago with his 90.5% mark (19-of-21).
- Against Oklahoma, Lynch connected on the eventual game-winning, 50-yard field goal with 4:32 left in the game. It was the 32nd time a Wildcat connected on a field goal of 50 or more yards, but it was the first that served as the game winner with less than five minutes remaining.
- Prior to the kick against the Sooners, Lynch had been 2-for-6 from 45 or more yards, including an 0-for-2 mark from 50 or more yards.