K-State Faces Big Road Test at Mississippi State

Courtesy of K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Following a 52-0 shutout of Bowling Green, K-State will hit the road for the first time in 2019 as the Wildcats travel to Starkville to face 23rd-ranked Mississippi State on Saturday. The game will kick at 11 a.m., and be shown nationally on ESPN with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Dan Orlovsky (analyst) and Allison Williams (sidelines) 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. The game will also be on Sirius channel 119, XM Channel 199 and in addition to the TuneIn app. Live stats are available at k-statesports.com, and Twitter updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage.

K-State Wildcat Football can be heard on Classic Country FM 94.1 KNDY in Northeast Kansas & Southeast Nebraska as well as Classic Hits 106.7 KQNK-FM in Northwest Kansas & Southwest Nebraska.

Streaming of K-State Wildcat Football is restricted to a 75 mile radius of Marysville, Kansas (Classic Country FM 94.1 KNDY) & Norton, Kansas (Classic Hits KQNK) via our website and mobile apps. Please see this article for more details.

A LOOK AT K-STATE
• K-State has opened the Chris Klieman era with two convincing victories, a 49-14 win over Nicholls and a 52-0 shutout of Bowling Green, its first shutout since 2005.
• K-State has rushed for 694 games in its first two games, the first time since at least 1965 that the Cats have opened the season with two 300-yard rushing games.
• With 521 yards against Bowling Green, K-State has also eclipsed the 500-yard total offense mark for the first two games of a season for the first time ever.
• The Cats held the ball for 42:52 against Bowling Green – the highest TOP by a Wildcat team since at least 1988 – while they lead the nation in that department at 42:00.
• Five different running backs have recorded touchdowns this year – including three by James Gilbert – and the backs has accounted for nine scores this year after the position group had only 13 a year ago.
• The rushing attack has an experienced offensive line in front of it as there are five seniors in the starting rotation led by 40-game starter Scott Frantz followed by right guard Tyler Mitchell (32) and center Adam Holtorf (27).
• Quarterback Skylar Thompson has shined so far this season, going 26-of-35 for 363 yards and three scores through the air, in addition to 56 yards and a score on six carries.
• At receiver, Malik Knowles has led the way with eight catches for 125 yards and two scores.
• Much like its counterpart on offense, the defensive line is stacked with a two-deep of veteran players, headlined by senior tackle Trey Dishon, senior end Reggie Walker and sophomore end Wyatt Hubert, the latter coming off Freshman All-America honors in 2018.
• Linebacker returns the team’s leading tackler from a year ago in Da’Quan Patton, and he paces the squad with seven tackles this year. As a whole, K-State has defended against only 85 plays (42.5 per game).
• The kicker and punter spots are held down by players who were phenomenal in 2018 as kicker Blake Lynch is back after making 87.5-percent of his field goals last year, while punter Devin Anctil held a 43.6-yard average in 2018.

A LOOK AT MISSISSIPPI STATE
• The Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start after knocking off Louisiana in New Orleans and Southern Miss in their home opener.
• The offense is balanced, averaging 235.5 yards per game on the ground and 206.0 through the air.
• Running back Kylin Hill is one of the best in the SEC and is averaging 160.0 yards per game so far this season.
• Quarterback Tommy Stevens is a Penn State transfer who has completed 29-of-40 passes for 341 yards and four scores this season while also adding one rushing touchdown.
• The defense is giving up 387.0 yards a game, 136.5 on the ground and 250.5 a game through the air.

A LOOK AT THE SERIES
• Saturday marks the fourth all-time meeting between the Wildcats and Bulldogs with Mississippi State holding a 2-1 advantage.
• MSU has won all three games on the field, but it was forced to forfeit its 24-21 victory in Manhattan in 1977.
• Last season in Manhattan, the Bulldogs totaled 538 yards, including 384 rushing yards, en route to a 31-10 victory.
• The Wildcats hold an all-time record of 46-86-5 against current members of the SEC, while they are 7-17 when taking out K-State’s games against former Big 8/12 members Missouri and Texas A&M.
• K-State has won only one game on the road against an SEC team (excluding Missouri and Texas A&M), and that came in the form of a 5-0 triumph at Arkansas in 1910.
• Recent games against SEC opponents have included Auburn (2007 and 2014) and Vanderbilt (2017).
• K-State will host Vanderbilt next season, while the Wildcats also play Missouri in a two-game series, with the 2022 contest in Manhattan and the 2023 matchup in Columbia.

A NEW ERA
• The new era of K-State Football under Chris Klieman has opened with two wins.
• Klieman, who was named the 35th head coach in school history on December 10, 2018, became the seventh coach in K-State history to win their first two games.
• Additionally, Klieman-led teams have won a streak of 23-straight games as the last loss was when his North Dakota State team suffered a 33-21 setback at South Dakota State on November 4, 2017.

A WINNING HISTORY
• A proven winner with a championship history, Chris 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.
• 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.
• A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Klieman has a career record of 74-13 (.851), as he went 69-6 in his five seasons at North Dakota State, 3-7 in one year as the head coach at Division III Loras College in 2005 and 2-0 so far at K-State.
• Klieman’s overall winning percentage ranks fourth among all active NCAA coaches – regardless of division – and tops among active FBS coaches.

CONTROLLING THE TEMPO
• K-State has showcased a balanced offense in the opening two games, highlighted by a 347.0-yard average on the ground to lead the Big 12 and rank third nationally.
• The Wildcats’ 573 yards of total offense against Nicholls tied for the seventh most in school history and were the most ever in a season opener.
• With 521 yards against Bowling Green, K-State eclipsed the 500-yard total offense mark in the first two games of a season for the first time ever.
• The Wildcats’ 547.0-yard average through two games ranks 11th in the nation.
• Also, the Cats possessed the ball for a total of 41:09 against Nicholls, the most in the nation in the opening weekend.
• They followed that up with 42:52 against Bowling Green, which is the most by the Wildcats since at least 1988, ranked eighth in Big 12 history and was the most by a Big 12 team since 2011.
• K-State enters the week atop the national rankings with a 42:00 average time of possession.

CONVERT AT A HIGH RATE
• K-State has converted on 19-of-28 third downs through two games, a figure that ranks third nationally.
• In the opener, K-State converted on 10-of-12 third downs (.833) and that mark was not only the highest in week one of the college football season but also the second highest in Big 12 history.
• The league record is by Oklahoma, which converted 9-of-10 third downs last season against Kansas.
• The Wildcats’ rate against Nicholls was also the highest by K-State since at least 1989.

SPREAD THE WEALTH
• Five different Wildcats scored rushing touchdowns in the opener, the most rushing scores in a game since also having five against Charlotte in 2017.
• Additionally, 20 Wildcats played on the season-opening drive. However, six of those remained constant with the offensive line and quarterback Skylar Thompson staying in the entire drive.
• Of the other five offensive positions, 14 Wildcats rotated into the game for an average of 2.8 players per spot.
• Five players recorded touchdowns against Bowling Green, as eight different players have now recorded offensive touchdowns this season.
• Also, the Wildcats’ 10 rushing touchdowns this season are the most through two games since 2002 and rank second in the country (Maryland, 11).

JAMES JUMPS RIGHT IN
• Senior running back James Gilbert has begun his K-State career with a with a pair of 100-yard games as he ran for 115 yards against Nicholls and 103 against Bowling Green.
• The Ball State transfer recorded the second-most rushing yards by a Wildcat in their debut (Cornelius Davis, 161 yards vs. Army in 1966), while he is the first Wildcat with consecutive 100-yard games to open a season since John Hubert in 2012.

GOOD START ON DEFENSE
• K-State currently leads the Big 12 in passing defense (102.5) and total defense (208.0), figures that rank fifth and eighth in the country, respectively.
• The Cats held Bowling Green to 140 total yards, marking the first time since the 2011 Eastern Kentucky game (129) that an opponent under had fewer than 150 yards.
• Bowling Green was also 0-for-11 on third downs, marking the first time since the 2003 KU game that the Wildcats have held an opponent to zero first downs (0-11). It was also the first time since 2011 that a Big 12 team did not allow a third down conversion.
• K-State held Bowling Green to just five first downs, the fewest it allowed since North Texas also had five in 2005.
• The Wildcats forced eight 3-and-outs against Bowling Green, the most since forcing nine against North Texas in 2005.

WELL RESTED
• K-State’s defense enters the week well rested as it has only played 85 total snaps this season, an average of 42.5 snaps per game to rank as the fewest in the nation.
• The next closest team is Air Force, which has only played one game and defended against 50 plays in its opener against Colgate.