K-State at West Virginia
Date: Saturday, November 19, 2022
Kickoff: 1 p.m. (CT)
Location: Morgantown, W.Va.
Stadium: Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000)
Series: Series tied, 6-6
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (watch)
Mark Neely (Play-by-Play)
Barrett Brooks (Analyst)
Tori Petry (Sidelines)
K-State Radio: K-State Sports Network; k-statesports.com (Listen)
Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play)
Stan Weber (Analyst)
Matt Walters (Sidelines)
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 121 or 200, SXM App 954
Twitter Updates: @KStateFB
THE TOP 5
1) Coming off a dominant 31-3 win at Baylor, K-State will head back out on the road as the Wildcats face West Virginia on Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, W.Va. The game will kick at 1 p.m. CT and be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. K-State enters the week in second place in the Big 12 standings, while West Virginia is fresh off a 23-20 home win over Oklahoma to keep its bowl hopes alive.
2) K-State is 7-3 this season with all three losses coming against teams that have been ranked in No. 4 TCU, No. 21 Tulane and Texas (18th last week). The Cats are bowl eligible for the third time under Chris Klieman and will advance to their 24th bowl appearance in school history, including the 11th in the last 13 seasons. Klieman is the first coach in school history to send three of his first four squads to the postseason.
3) Last time out, K-State used a dominant defensive performance and standout play on offense from Will Howard, Deuce Vaughn and Ben Sinnott to defeat Baylor, 31-3, in Waco. Howard came off the sideline to throw for 196 yards and three touchdowns, Vaughn had 106 rushing yards to reach 1,000 rushing yards for the season, and Sinnott caught seven passes, two of which were touchdowns.
4) Deuce Vaughn has 1,081 rushing yards this season to record his second-straight season with 1,000 rushing yards – just the third player in school history with multiple 1,000-yard seasons. He ranks second in school history in career rushing yards (3,127), while he needs 56 rushing yards to move into the top 10 in school history for a season.
5) The Cats have been solid on defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game and 361.1 total yards per game. This week, the Cats rank fifth nationally in turnover margin, seventh in fourth down defense, 11th in interceptions, 12th in scoring defense and 17th in pass efficiency defense. The Cats have kept each of their Big 12 opponents this year under their season scoring average entering its game against K-State while also holding three conference opponents without a touchdown.
97 – K-State is outscoring opponents, 191-94, in first halves as its 97-point margin in the first half is the highest in the Big 12.
19.5 – Points per game allowed by K-State since its switch to the 3-3-5 alignment prior to the 2021 season (23 games).
18 – Number of career 100-yard rushing games by Deuce Vaughn in his 33 games as a Wildcat.
13 – Number of interceptions recorded by the Wildcat defense, which is first in the Big 12 and 11th nationally.
3 – Number of Big 12 opponents this season the Wildcats have held without touchdown (first time since 2001 season).
A WINNING TRADITION
• Kansas State has been one of the best Big 12 teams since the inception of the conference in 1996. The Wildcats are third with 131 victories, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas.
• The Wildcats are also tied for third in the conference in winning percentage since round-robin play began in 2011. They sit at 58.5% (62-44), trailing only Oklahoma (78.6%; 82-23) and Oklahoma State (65.9%; 70-36).
• During that stretch, the Wildcats are 34-19 (64.2%) at home in Big 12 play and 28-25 (52.8%) on the road.
CONFERENCE WIN NO. 5
• Kansas State remained in second place in the Big 12 standings with its fifth league win last week at Baylor.
• Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, K-State has won at least five games on 15 occasions, including twice in head coach Chris Klieman‘s four years.
• Of the five wins in Big 12 play, three have come on the road as K-State won three Big 12 games for the first time since 2017 and the 12th time in Big 12 history.
• The Wildcats have won four road conference games just two other times in school history (1998, 2012).
• K-State has earned its 24th bowl appearance in school history, including its 11th in the last 13 years, this season.
• Entering 2022, K-State was one of just 25 Power 5 programs to play in a bowl game 10 times in the previous 12 seasons.
• Chris Klieman is the first coach in school history to lead three of his first four Wildcat teams to bowl appearances.
TAKING DOWN TOP-10s
• K-State earned its second victory over an AP Top-10 team this season when it shut out Oklahoma State, 48-0. It is the first time in school history the Wildcats have taken down multiple AP Top-10 teams in one season.
• The Wildcats are now 5-3 in their last eight games against top-10 teams dating back to Nov. 18, 2017, a span that began with a 45-40 victory at No. 10 Oklahoma State. Prior to that, the Cats were just 1-15 in their previous 16 tries.
A WINNING HISTORY
• A proven winner with a championship history, Chris Klieman holds a 99-32 career record, as his 75.6% career winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that are in at least their 10th season.
• Klieman, who is 27-19 since arriving at K-State, came to Manhattan after capping his five-year stint as head coach at North Dakota State by winning his fourth national championship in 2018. He guided the 2018 Bison to a perfect 15-0 record.
• Klieman is 6-6 in his career against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 with five of the victories coming at K-State.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
• Another staple of K-State football over the past decade has been committing very few turnovers, as the Wildcats are second in the nation in fewest turnovers since 2012 (161).
• That figure leads the Big 12 as the Wildcats are 17 better than the next closest program (Oklahoma, 178).
• The Wildcats enter this week ranked fifth nationally and tops in the Big 12 in turnover margin (+1.10 per game). They are plus-11 on the year with 18 takeaways and seven turnovers.
• K-State has not finished in the top 10 nationally in turnover margin since 2016 when it finished fourth (+1.00 per game). The current turnover margin would be K-State’s best since it finished at +1.46 per game in 2012 to rank third nationally.
• K-State has been one of the most disciplined teams in the Big 12 as it ranks third in the league with 43.7 penalty yards per game.
• The Wildcats have been under 40 penalty yards in six contests and under 30 yards three times (23 vs. Tulane; 25 at Iowa State; 23 at Baylor).
CATS TOPS IN NON-OFFENSIVE TDs
• K-State is the nation’s best in non-offensive touchdowns over the last 23 seasons as it has 128 since 1999, six more than the next closest team (Alabama – 122).
• Kansas State has two non-offensive scores this year as Seth Porter blocked a punt against South Dakota that was returned for a score by Desmond Purnell, while Phillip Brooks took a punt 76 yards for a score against Missouri.
KLEIN IS ONE OF FOUR
• A 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist and one of the best signal callers in school history, Collin Klein is in his first season as K-State’s offensive coordinator.
• Klein is one of just four Power 5 offensive coordinators to play quarterback at the school in which they work. The other three are Brandon Streeter (Clemson), Tommy Rees (Notre Dame) and Tavita Pritchard (Stanford).
• K-State has put together seven high offensive outputs to start Big 12 play, going at least 375 yards in every conference game, including 450 yards on four occasions.
• It marks the first time ever the Wildcats have started Big 12 play (since 1996) with seven-straight games of 375 total yards.
• Overall, the Wildcats have averaged 417.8 yards of offense in their 10 games this year, which currently ranks sixth in school history. Their 6.2 yards per play ranks seventh.
• K-State has averaged 6.5 yards per play in Big 12 games, which ranks third in the league.
QUICK STARTS & QUICK STRIKES
• The K-State offense has been getting out to quick starts as the Wildcats are outscoring opponents, 191-94, in first halves this season to hold a Big 12-best 97-point margin in the first 30 minutes.
• Included in that are some of the fastest scores in school history. Malik Knowles scored on the first offensive play of the year – a 75-yard end around against South Dakota – just 10 seconds into the game, which was the fastest score in a game in school history. The other was an 18-yard run by Adrian Martinez just 40 seconds into the Texas Tech game, the 10th-fastest score in school history.
• Going somewhat against the norm of how K-State has traditionally operated, the Wildcats have 14 touchdown drives of five plays or less, while 17 have lasted three minutes or less.
EFFICIENCY ON THE GROUND…
• The Cats enter this week ranked 15th nationally and ninth among Power 5 teams with 214.7 rushing yards per game.
• K-State’s current 5.34 yards per carry ranks 17th nationally and is the top mark in school history.
• The Wildcats had a season-high 343 rushing yards against Texas Tech, their most in a Big 12 game since posting 345 yards against Oklahoma State in 2016.
…AND THROUGH THE AIR
• Although the Cats do not air it out as much as their Big 12 brethren, they are efficient and have some explosive plays.
• K-State’s current 64.2% completion percentage ranks fifth in school history, while the Wildcats have thrown only four interceptions this season. K-State’s current 1.09% interception clip is the lowest in school history.
• The Wildcats have three pass plays that have gone for 60 or more yards – including an 81-yard touchdown at Iowa State – to tie for 13th nationally, while they are one of just 17 teams to have a pass of at least 80 yards this season.
• The 81-yarder from Adrian Martinez to Phillip Brooks against the Cyclones was the only touchdown by either team in the game. It is tied for the 11th-longest pass play in the nation this year and was the 10th-longest pass play in school history.
VAUGHN BACK AT IT
• Running back Deuce Vaughn ranks 16th nationally and fourth in the Big 12 with 1,081 rushing yards.
• Vaughn also ranks 10th nationally and second in the Big 12 in scrimmage yards (rushing plus receiving) per game at 134.7.
• A threat virtually every time he touches the ball, Vaughn has gone for at least 10 yards on 130 of his 668 career scrimmage touches (19.5%) and at least 20 yards 47 times (7.0%).
CLOSE TO 1,000 AGAIN
• Deuce Vaughn reached the 1,000-yard mark for a second-straight year as he currently has 1,081 yards.
• He is just the third player in school history with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Darren Sproles (2002, 2003, 2004) and Daniel Thomas (2009, 2010).
• Vaughn needs 56 rushing yards to enter the school’s top-10 list for a season.
• The high marks by Deuce Vaughn are not only due to his prowess as a runner, but he has been one of the best backs in the nation on the receiving end.
• Over his 33-game career, Vaughn has 3,127 rushing yards and 1,168 receiving yards as he was the fastest player in Big 12 history to go over 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a career (32nd game). He was also tied for the fastest to get there by any player in the country dating back to 1996.
• Deuce Vaughn has four career games in which he has totaled at least 70 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards, including this year against Texas (73 rush/86 receive).
• In the Big 12 era, only Vaughn and Darren Sproles have tallied such games for the Wildcats as Sproles did it on three occasions.
• Besides the Texas game, Vaughn’s other 70/70 games have come against Kansas (2020 and 2021) and Texas Tech (2020).
ADRIAN CLOSE TO HISTORY
• Quarterback Adrian Martinez is close to becoming the second player in FBS history with 10,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in a career.
• Entering this week’s game, Martinez has thrown for 9,752 yards and rushed for 2,916 yards.
• The only other player to hit the 10,000/3,000 mark was Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, who threw for 10,098 yards and rushed for 4,112 yards from 2007 to 2010.
WILL SLINGING IT AROUND
• Quarterback Will Howard has thrown nine touchdown passes in his last three games, the most in three-consecutive games by a Wildcat in school history.
• Previously, the highwater mark was eight by Josh Freeman (2008), Ell Roberson (2003) and Chad May (1994).
• Impressively, two of Howard’s games have come in relief appearances, throwing for two touchdowns at TCU and three more at Baylor.
• In Howard’s lone start of the season – a 48-0 win at Oklahoma State – he tied the school record with four touchdown passes while also setting a career high with 296 passing yards.
• It was the first time a Wildcat had four passing touchdowns in a game since Jesse Ertz in the 2017 season opener against Central Arkansas, while it was the first against a Big 12 opponent since Jake Waters against Kansas in 2014.
• Each of his scoring strikes against the Cowboys came in the first half, marking the third time in school history a player had four in a half. The other two were by Michael Bishop (1997 vs. Northern Illinois) and Paul Watson (1988 vs. Louisiana Tech).
NOT JUST A BLOCKER
• Sophomore tight end Ben Sinnott set career highs in catches (7), yards (89) and touchdowns (2) at Baylor.
• It was the first time a K-State tight end had multiple touchdowns in a game since Jarrett Grosdidier against Indiana State in 1996, while it was the most receptions by a Wildcat tight end since Rashaad Norwood also had seven at Baylor in 2006.
A BIG TURNAROUND
• The K-State defense switched from a four-man front to a 3-3-5 alignment in 2021, and the change has paid off.
• In the 23 games since the defensive switch, the Cats are allowing just 19.5 points per game, which ranks 15th nationally and second in the Big 12. Additionally, they are allowing only 352.0 yards per game over that time, which ranks third in the league.
• Over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, K-State allowed 26.1 points per game and 401.6 yards.
• Last week’s game at Baylor marked the fourth time this season – and third in Big 12 play – that the K-State defense held an opponent without a touchdown.
• The last time the Wildcats did not surrender a touchdown in four games overall was 2002 (Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, Kansas and Missouri).
• The last time the Wildcats did give up a touchdown in three Big 12 games was 2001 (Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri).
• Kansas State shut out No. 9 Oklahoma State, as the Wildcats’ 48-0 victory was the largest ever shutout win by a lower-ranked team against an AP Top-10 team.
• It tied for the fifth-largest shutout win ever over an AP Top-10 team and the largest since No. 10 USC was shut out 51-0 by No. 1 Notre Dame in 1966. It was also the first time the Wildcats ever shut out an AP Top-10 team.
• The shutout was the Wildcats’ second of the season (South Dakota) and the first against a Big 12 opponent since blanking Texas, 23-0, in 2014. It is the first time K-State has had multiple shutouts in a season since 2002 (vs. KU and Louisiana-Monroe).
SHUT ‘EM OUT
• Kansas State is one of three teams that have two shutouts this season, joining Georgia (vs. Samford and Vanderbilt) and Minnesota (vs. Rutgers and New Mexico State).
• Of the 16 shutouts by FBS teams against other FBS opponents this season, the Wildcats did theirs against the highest scoring team as Oklahoma State was averaging 44.7 points per game entering the contest.
• The next biggest shutout on the list was Texas’ 49-0 win over an Oklahoma team that was averaging 37.0 points per game entering the contest.
• K-State has held all of its opponents this year under their season averages coming into the game (excluding the opener).
• Since head coach Chris Klieman‘s first year of 2019, the Wildcats have held 27 of their 34 Big 12 opponents under their season average at the time it faces the Wildcats.
PICK ME, PICK ME
• K-State has recorded 13 interceptions to rank 11th in the nation and tops in the Big 12. They have multiple INTs in five games this year, carding four vs. Missouri and two apiece against Tulane, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
• Five of the 13 interceptions have come from linebackers, the most from that position group for a season since 1998 when Jeff Kelly (3) and Mark Simoneau (2) combined for five.
• K-State’s four interceptions against Missouri came on four-straight possessions. It was the first time they accomplished that feat since the 2010 Texas game.
THIRD/FOURTH DOWN DEFENSE
• A year after ranking 78th nationally and sixth in the Big 12 by allowing a 35.4% conversion rate on third down, K-State enters this week’s game ranked 42nd in the country and fourth in the conference with a 33.3% rate.
• The Wildcats have allowed their opponents to convert on third down under 50% of the time in eight of 10 games this season, including an 8.3% clip against Tulane.
• On fourth downs, K-State ranks seventh nationally by allowing a 29.2% clip, which is the lowest rate allowed by the Wildcats since 2001 (21.0%).
PLAYING BEHIND THE LINE
• K-State enters play this week ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 57 tackles for loss (5.7 per game).
• The Cats have recorded three games with 10 or more TFLs for the first time since the 2012 season as they had 10 against each South Dakota, Missouri and Texas Tech.
• The team leader in that department is Felix Anudike-Uzomah with 9.0 TFLs. Linebacker Austin Moore is right behind him with 7.0 TFLs.
• After making a name for himself in 2021, junior defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah has kept things going in 2022.
• A semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, Anudike-Uzomah has 7.5 sacks this season to rank 17th in the nation, while he has a pair of forced fumbles to tie for second in the Big 12.
• A product of Kansas City, Missouri, Anudike-Uzomah has 19.5 career sacks to rank 10th in school history. He also has eight career forced fumbles, which are one shy of the school record currently held by three others.
• The production by Anudike-Uzomah has him ranked 23rd on the Pro Football Focus 2023 NFL Draft Big Board, which is impressive considering he came to K-State in 2020 ranked as the 114th-best weakside defensive end and 2,421st overall player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, while he was unranked by Rivals.
OLD FACE, NEW PLACE
• Safety Josh Hayes is in his sixth year of college football and third school after transferring in the spring from Virginia.
• However, Hayes, a product of Lakeland, Florida, is reuniting with head coach Chris Klieman and defensive coordinator/safeties coach Joe Klanderman in Manhattan after the trio were together at North Dakota State. Hayes played as a true freshman and sophomore in 2017 and 2018 under Klieman before he became the K-State head coach for the 2019 season.
• Hayes has played in 64 career games, which ranks fourth in the nation among active players and tops in the Big 12.
• Hayes earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors following the Iowa State game in which he had a team-high and career-best 11 tackles – including one for a loss – and a pass breakup.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
SCORING IN THE THIRD PHASE
• One of the main reasons the Wildcats have been a successful program the last three decades is a knack for momentum-swinging plays in the return game.
• Since 2005 (17-plus seasons), the Wildcats have a combined 60 kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns, 21 more than second-place Alabama (39) and 26 more than the next closest Big 12 team (Oklahoma State – 34).
• Of the 60 total returns, a nation-leading 31 are on kickoff returns. The next closest team is San Diego State with 20.
• With two punt-return touchdowns this season, K-State has now tallied a punt-return score in every season since 2014, as the nine-year stretch is the longest in school history.
DEFENSE ON KICKOFF RETURNS
• Kansas State has not allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown since the 2013 season, going the last 373 returns without allowing opponents to find paydirt on a kickoff return.
• The streak is the longest in the Big 12, 39 more than the next closest team (TCU – 334).
• Since K-State allowed its last kickoff-return touchdown, the Wildcats have scored 14 of their own.
BROOKS BACK IN THE END ZONE
• Phillip Brooks recorded his fourth career punt-return touchdown against Missouri, a 76-yarder en route to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
• His 76-yard return is the 12th longest in the nation this year.
• He leads the nation among active players in career punt-return average (16.2), while he is second in touchdowns and fifth in total punt-return yards (631).
• His four punt-return touchdowns rank second in school history and are tied for sixth in Big 12 history.
KNOWLES WITH A KNACK
• Malik Knowles is the latest Wildcat with a knack for kickoff returns as he was a 2021 Second Team All-American and a 2022 Preseason All-American.
• Knowles is tied for fourth in school history in career kickoff return touchdowns thanks to scores last year in back-to-back weeks at Oklahoma State and against Oklahoma in addition to one at Mississippi State in 2019.
• A product of Mansfield, Texas, Knowles is tied for second nationally among active players with three career kickoff-return scores.
• Knowles currently ranks seventh in school history in career kickoff-return average and seventh nationally among active players.
ZENTNER’S THREE PHASES
• Punter/kickoff man Ty Zentner is taking advantage of a second senior season in 2022, and he has added field goal kicking to his repertoire.
• Over the last three games, Zentner has handled all three kicking duties, going 5-for-5 on field goals and 13-for-13 on extra points. The extra duty hasn’t hurt his punting ability as he has averaged 42.8 yards on nine attempts and had five land inside the 20-yard line over those three contests.
• Following the first game working all three disciplines – which was K-State’s win over No. 9 Oklahoma State – Zentner was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
• A product of Topeka, Kansas, Zentner ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 10th in school history with a 43.1-yard average this season. Additionally, he is fourth in K-State history in career average (42.64).
• Those averages are held up by six career games with an average of at least 45.0, including a 54.2-yard average against Missouri, which ranked as the second-highest punting average game in school history (minimum 4 attempts).
• His contest against the Tigers featured a career-long punt of 66 yards.
• On kickoffs, Zentner has totaled 118 touchbacks on 195 career kickoffs (60.5%) since 2020.