2006 Kansas State Wildcats

Posted Dec 30, 2006

2006 Kansas State Wildcats Season, Game Reviews, Scores and Recaps

Dec. 28
Texas Bowl
Rutgers 37 ... Kansas State 10

Rutgers held Kansas State to 162 yards of total offense, six first downs and allowed just one of ten third down conversions for the first bowl win in the program's history. The Scarlet Knight offense got two early scores from an unlikely source as little used receiver Tim Brown caught touchdown passes from 14 and 49 yards out for a 14-0 first half lead. Kansas State appeared to get the momentum with a 44-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal and a 76-yard Yamon Figurs punt return for a touchdown, but the Rutgers defense didn't allow anything in the second half with Quintero Frierson picking off a Josh Freeman pass for a score in the first 33 seconds. Jeremy Ito hit three field goals and Ray Rice ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run.
Player of the game ... Rutgers RB Ray Rice ran 24 times for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 10-21, 129 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 6-20. Receiving: Jordy Nelson, 4-81
Rutgers - Passing: Mike Teel, 18-28, 268 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Ray Rice, 24-170, 1 TD. Receiving: Clark Harris, 7-122
Notes & Thoughts ... Kansas State showed its inexperience, while Rutgers looked like a team out to prove how good it was. Everything clicked for the Scarlet Knight lines getting the ground game rolling right off the bat and allowing Mike Teel time to work. KSU QB Josh Freeman is still raw and couldn't handle the constant pressure. One Rutgers started hurrying his throws, it was over. ... This was a total team effort for Rutgers, at least on offense and defense. The special teams struggled with Jeremy Ito missing two field goals and the punt team allowing a return for a score. The miscues will be first and foremost on Greg Schiano's mind once the excitement dies down. ... This might have turned out to be a good thing for Kansas State. It's such a young team that it could use all the motivation it can get. The talent is there to grow into something special over the next few years, and this game might serve as the catalyst. ... Priority one this off-season for Rutgers will be to find a new go-to target for Teel with tight end Clark Harris graduating. Harris was a nice safety valve all season long and finished his great career with seven catches for 122 yards.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2006 Record: 7-6

Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 Illinois State  W 24-23
9/9 Florida Atlantic W 45-0
9/16 Marshall W 23-7
9/23 Louisville L 24-6
9/30 at Baylor L 17-3
10/7 Oklahoma State W 31-27
10/14 Nebraska L 21-3
10/21 at Missouri L 41-21
10/28 Iowa State W 31-10
11/4 at Colorado W 34-21
11/11 Texas W 45-42
11/18 at Kansas L 39-20
12/28 Texas Bowl
Rutgers L 37-10

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 5-6

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 FIU W 35-21
9/10 at Marshall W 21-19
9/24 North Texas W 54-7
10/1 at Oklahoma L 43-21
10/8 Kansas W 12-3
10/15 at Texas Tech L 59-20
10/22 Texas A&M L 30-28
10/29 Colorado L 23-20
11/5 at Iowa State L 45-17
11/12 at Nebraska L 27-25
11/19 Missouri W 36-28

Nov. 18
Kansas 39 ... Kansas State 20
Kansas forced six Kansas State turnovers with two fumble recoveries from Josh Freeman and two interceptions from Anthony Webb taking one 42 yards for a touchdown. Russell Brorsen fell on a fumble for a score late in the second to help KU pull away, but the game belonged to Jon Cornish, who ran for 201 yards with touchdown runs from 13 and 12 yards out. Kansas State had its moments with 362 total yards of offense with a 44-yard Leon Patton touchdown run and a James Johnson kickoff return for a score, but the turnovers proved too costly.
Player of the game ... Kansas RB Jon Cornish had 201 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries to go along with a reception for four yards.
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 23-44, 244 yds, 3 INTs
Rushing: Leon Patton, 14-102, 1 TD  Receiving: Jordy Nelson, 8-64
Kansas - Passing: Kerry Meier, 11-23, 108 yds, 2 INTs
Jon Cornish, 25-201, 2 TDs  Receiving: Dexton Fields, 7-72
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Josh Freeman giveth, Josh Freeman taketh away. He's going to be an elite Big 12 star over the next few years, as he showed with the promise in the win over Texas, but he couldn't handle the Kansas pressure and made turnover after turnover. The Wildcat defense gets a few weeks rest before a bowl game to try to tighten up, while the off-season practices will be invaluable for the young team. As strange is it might sound considering this was rivalry week, KSU appeared to be on a bit of a letdown after beating the Longhorns. How the adjustments are made in the bowl will be interesting to note to see how far along the coaching staff has come in its preparation abilities.

Nov. 11
Kansas State 45 ... Texas 42
Kansas State jumped on Texas mistakes for a big third quarter run breaking a 21-21 tie with a 21-point run as RB Leon Patton threw a 18-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Wilson and Josh Freeman hit Yamon Figurs for a 30-yard score and ran for a one-yard touchdown. Texas mounted a huge comeback with an amazing four-play, 75-yard drive with an 18-yard Jamaal Charles touchdown run to spark a big run with Limas Sweed catching a 33-yard touchdown pass and Chris Ogbonnaya running for a score from one-yard out, but a line drive 51-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal kept KSU ahead. The Wildcats pounced on the onside kick after the Ogbonnaya touchdown and were able to run out the clock. Longhorn QB Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game early with a neck injury after running for a one-yard score.
Player of the game ... Kansas State QB Josh Freeman completed 19 of 31 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns with an interception and ran for a score
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 19-31, 269 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 10-29. Receiving: Yamon Figurs, 6-123, 2 TD
Texas - Passing: Jevan Snead, 13-30, 190 yds, 1 TD
Jamaal Charles, 16-87, 2 TD  Receiving: Billy Pittman, 6-102
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Talk about getting the win to put a program on the map, Kansas State went from a nice story with Ron Prince turning things around in his first year, to making the program a red-hot power again with the win over Texas. Fine, so the loss of Colt McCoy early helped, but the Longhorn defense is still the Longhorn defense, and Josh Freeman and the offense still ripped through it for 346 yards. Give credit to the coaching staff for its creativity with four different players throwing passes, but this win wasn't gimmicky. For a team with so many key young parts, this should do wonders for the overall confidence as long as there isn't a clunker in the rivalry date at Kansas.

Nov. 4
Kansas State 34 ... Colorado 21
Kansas State became bowl eligible after jumping out to a 17-0 lead on a Leon Patton touchdown run and the first of two Yamon Figurs touchdowns. Colorado got back within six after two Bernard Jackson rushing scores, but the Wildcats pit it away on a 74-yard connection from Josh Freeman to Jordy Nelson early in the fourth quarter. The Buffs closed out with a one-yard Tyson DeVree touchdown catch, but wasn't able to get any closer.
Player of the game ... Kansas State QB Josh Freeman completed 22 of 26 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 22-26, 251 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Leon Patton, 12-96, 1 TD. Receiving: Jordy Nelson, 5-117, 1 TD
Colorado - Passing: Bernard Jackson, 10-18, 145 yds, 1 TD
Bernard Jackson, 17-105, 2 TD  Receiving: Cody Crawford, , 2-42
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... How can Ron Prince not be the Big 12 Coach of the Year? Considering the young talent he had to work with, and the mess there was to clean up from an disappointing 2005, to get this team bowl eligible was a masterpiece. How'd it happen? Tough defense and the emergence of one of the nation's most exciting young backfields. The light has gone on for Josh Freeman over the last two weeks with efficient, strong passing days, while the combination of Leon Patton and James Johnson is a 1-2 rushing punch that should scare the rest of the Big 12 for years. Beating Texas might be too much to ask, but getting a win over arch-rival Kansas is more than possible if Freeman plays like he did against Colorado.

Oct. 28
Kansas State 31 ... Iowa State 10
Iowa State jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead on a six-yard Jason Scales run and a 48-yard Bret Culbertson field goal, and then it was all Kansas State scoring 31 unanswered points as Josh Freeman threw his first touchdown pass on a two-yard play to John McCardle, James Johnson ripped off a 32-yard touchdown run and Leon Patton sped for a 37-yard score. Devin Anderson and the defense put an exclamation point with a 30-yard Devin Anderson interception return for a score.
Player of the game ... Kansas State RB James Johnson ran 22 times for 115 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 14-20, 161 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 22-115, 1 TD. Receiving: Yamon Figurs, 4-49
Iowa State - Passing: Bret Meyer, 23-41, 280 yds, 1 INT
Jason Scales, 12-67, 1 TD  Receiving: Milan Moses, 5-96
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... The win over Iowa State might be the game Wildcat fans might look back on as the time with the young team started to come together. James Johnson had another tremendous performance rushing for his second straight 100-yard day, while Leon Patton showed off his speed giving KSU a dangerous backfield tandem. As long as QB Josh Freeman isn't making mistakes, and as long as the run defense plays as well as it did against the Cyclones, the team should be able to pull off a win over either Colorado or Kansas and go to a bowl.

Oct. 21
Missouri 41 ... Kansas State 21
Missouri overcame an early KSU fumble recovery for a touchdown to scored 34 straight points on three touchdown passes from Chase Daniel and a 41-yard David Overstreet fumble recovery for a score. Kansas State turned it over on three of its first four possession in the second half, and Mizzou took advantage of each mistake. The Wildcats ran well once the game was out of reach with Leon Patton and James Johnson each scoring, but Daniel threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chase Coffman to keep the blowout going.
Player of the game ... Missouri QB Chase Daniel completed 24 of 31 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns and ran 13 times for 47 yards
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 5-19, 63 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 20-127, 1 TD. Receiving: Leon Patton, 2-38
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 24-31, 262 yds, 4 TD
Tony Temple, 9-62  Receiving: Chase Coffman, 6-75, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... For the second straight week, KSU had to live with the growing pains of QB Josh Freeman with an awful, mistake-filled day in the loss to Missouri. On the plus side, the running game was fantastic with James Johnson looking worthy of getting more future work in a rotation with Leon Patton. The defense did a great job of keeping the Tiger offense in check, but was killed by having to defend short field after short field. Now comes the winnable games ahead against Iowa State and Colorado with a bowl game still a possibility.

Oct. 14
Nebraska 21 ... Kansas State 3
Nebraska only ran for 22 yards and only managed a 53-yard Jeff Snodgrass as Nebraska dominated from start to finish. The Huskers got a 17-yard touchdown catch from Hunter Teafatiller off a fake field goal to kick off the scoring, and then let the offensive guys do the rest with Zac Taylor throwing a three-yard scoring pass to Josh Mueller in the third and Marlon Lucky running for a 40-yard score in the third. The Huskers only gained 356 yards, but managed to hold on to the ball for almost 35 minutes.
Player of the game ... Nebraska LB Stewart Bradley led the defense with ten tackles and a tackle for loss
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 23-47, 272 yds, 2 INT
Daniel Gonzalez, 1-38  Receiving: Jermaine Moreira, 6-86
Nebraska - Passing: Zac Taylor, 12-21, 149 yds, 1 TD
Brandon Jackson, 16-92  Receiving: Maurice Purify, 4-73
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Kansas State is going to have growing pain games like the one against Nebraska. With Leon Patton and the running game completely shut down, it was up to Josh Freeman to win the game. While he cranked out yards, he didn't do enough to keep the offense moving and didn't generate points with the big problem making plays on third downs. The Wildcat defense did enough to avoid the blowout, but this was Nebraska's game from the start. It might take a while before KSU can beat a top team, but it'll get its shot next week at Missouri.

Oct. 7
Kansas State 31 ... Oklahoma State 27
Kansas State scored twice in the final three minutes with Leon Patton running it in from one-yard out, the defense holding, and Josh Freeman leading a 58-yard drive in three plays finishing with a 21-yard touchdown run. Oklahoma had one last shot getting down to the Wildcat 23, but the final pass of the game was picked off by Marcus Watts. Watts started off the scoring blocking a punt which Daniel Gonzalez took for a touchdown. The Wildcats got a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Patton, along with 151 rushing yards, but the offense struggled to get going until late. OSU got two touchdown passes from Bobby Reid along with an 11-yard Keith Toston touchdown dash.
Player of the game ... Kansas State DB Marcus Watts made four tackles, picked off a pass and blocked a punt that turned into a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 10-15, 177 yds
Leon Patton, 21-151, 1 TD  Receiving: Jermaine Moreira, 4-95
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 14-22, 138 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Keith Toston, 14-109, 1 TD  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 5-59
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Kansas State grew up in a big hurry against Oklahoma State manufacturing points with the special teams until late in the game. Josh Freeman might not have been perfect, but he came through with two big drives when needed. Freshman Leon Patton, a.k.a. Darren Sproles part 2, had a terrific game looking like the rushing star of the future. This was a thrilling win that might springboard the team to a bowl bid needing just two more wins to pull it off. However, the Wildcats will likely be underdogs the rest of the way out.

Sept. 30
Baylor 17 ... Kansas State 3
Baylor got a 75-yard touchdown from Trent Shelton, an 11-yard scoring grab from Dominique Ziegler and a 22-yard Ryan Havens field goal and let the defense do the rest holding Kansas State to 45 rushing yards and just a 41-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal. The Wildcats moved the ball through the air, but turned it over five times with Dwain Crawford picking off two passes.
Player of the game ... Baylor QB Shawn Bell completed 25 of 46 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns with one interception
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 11-33, 196 yds, 3 INT
Thomas Clayton, 18-38  Receiving: Rashaad Norwood, 7-27
Baylor - Passing: Shawn Bell, 25-46, 282 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Paul Mosley, 7-33  Receiving: Dominique Ziegler, 8-73, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Dylan Meier might have been ineffective against Baylor, but he didn't make the big mistakes that Josh Freeman did. Kansas State must find a way to keep the offense going with Thomas Clayton on the ground until there's more consistency to the passing game. The team can't convert just three of 19 third down chances and hope to win. Playing Freeman right now might be a major step back to take a big leap forward, but along the way, it might cost the team any shot at a winning season. The problems on the offense have overshadowed what a strong job the defense has done so far.

Sept. 23
Louisville 24 ... Kansas State 6
Louisville wasn't its normal, explosive self, but it had few problems on the road getting out to a 24-0 lead on a 19-yard scoring catch from Harry Douglas, a third quarter, one-yard touchdown run from George Stripling, and a 17-yard Brock Bolen score in the fourth. Kansas State struggled all day long to get anything going against the aggressive Cardinal D, but RB Thomas Clayton was able to get the offense on the board with a  69-yard touchdown run after the Bolen score.
Player of the game ... Louisville WR Harry Douglas caught six passes for 81 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Dylan Meier, 14-33, 121 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Thomas Clayton, 15-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Thomas Clayton, 5-34
Louisville - Passing: Hunter Cantwell, 18-26, 173 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
George Stripling, 14-63, 1 TD. Receiving: Harry Douglas, 6-81, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Louisville is the real deal, so there's no reason to get too down about the loss, but there needs to be more consistent offense in all phases. Dylan Meier couldn't get anything going, and Josh Freeman showed he wasn't quite ready for prime time, but neither had any time to operate. Thomas Clayton and the running game have to produce for sixty minutes to take the heat off the passing game. On the plus side, the KSU defense did a decent job against the high-powered Cardinals, even though it allowed over 400 yards of offense, forcing three turnovers.

Sept. 16
Kansas State 23 ... Marshall 7
Kansas State's defense forced three turnovers and the special teams helped set up an early three-yard Thomas Clayton touchdown run with a blocked punt. Marshall tied it at seven when J.J. Johnson returned a blocked punt for a score, but the Herd only managed 142 total yards and saw any hopes get snuffed out by turnovers. The Wildcats got three Jeff Snodgrass field goals and a 44-yard Jermaine Moreira touchdown catch.
Player of the game ... Kansas State FS Marcus Watts forced two fumbles and had a sack and an interception as the Wildcats held Marshall to just 142 total yards.
Stat Leaders: Marshall - Passing: Bernard Morris, 16-28, 92 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Ahmad Bradshaw, 9-55  Receiving: Cody Slate, 3-20
Kansas State - Passing: Dylan Meier, 19-35, 256 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Thomas Clayton, 18-76, 1 TD  Receiving: Jermaine Moreira, 4-95, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Kansas State's defense is carrying the team at the moment. It dominated Marshall from start to finish and has been hard-hitting and clutch with several big plays and several good stops on third downs. Dylan Meier was efficient and was able to push the ball down the field relatively well, while Thomas Clayton had a decent day on the ground. Now the team has to work on discipline after committing 14 penalties.

Sept. 9
Kansas State 45 ... Florida Atlantic 0
Kansas State started off the game hot as Justin McKinney took the opening kickoff 88 yards for a score, and things steamrolled from there for Ron Prince's team. Dylan Meier threw two touchdown passes, Yamon Figurs ran for a 38-yard score and Thomas Clayton ran for a two-yard score. Terry Petrie closed out the scoring with a 32-yard dash. Florida Atlantic only managed 200 yard of total offense.
Player of the game ... Kansas State RB Thomas Clayton ran 16 times for 89 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Florida Atlantic - Passing: Sean Clayton, 8-14, 95 yds
Rushing: Charles Pierre, 14-29. Receiving: Chris Bonner, 2-50
Kansas State - Passing: Dylan Meier, 10-20, 125 yds, 2 TD
Thomas Clayton, 19-89, 1 TD. Receiving: Rashaad Norwood & Jermaine Moreira, 3-40
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Wildcat fans can breathe a little sigh of relief after the team looked like the Kansas State of old against Florida Atlantic. Everything worked well against the hapless Owls, but to nitpick, Dylan Meier only completed 50% of his passes and there should've been a little bit more explosion in the passing game. With the way KSU was running the ball, the average passing attack wasn't a big deal. There's reason to be a bit concerned about star-in-waiting backup QB Josh Freeman after he went 0-for-4.

Sept. 2
Kansas State 24 ... Illinois State 23
Kansas State got a 81-yard punt return for a touchdown from Yamon Fgurs and got a fumble recovery for a score to bail out an awful offense and a struggling defense. Illinois State outgained the Wildcats 346 yards to 207 and had a chance to take a late lead going for two following a three-yard Pierre Jackson touchdown, but QB Luke Drone was sacked and KSU survived. Jeff Snodgrass connected on field goals from 52, 41 and 30 yards out for Kansas State.
Player of the game ... Kansas State WR Yamon Figurs caught two passes for 16 yards, returned two punts for 89 yards and a touchdown and returned four kickoffs for 113 yards.
Stat Leaders: Illinois State - Passing: Luke Drone, 24-38, 253 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Pierre Rembert, 29-105. Receiving: Lauren Robinson, 9-77, 2 TD
Kansas State - Passing: Dylan Meier, 15-26, 163 yds, 2 INT
Carlos Alsup, 14-26. Receiving: Rashaad Norwood, 5-53
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Yeeeeeesh. Kansas State should've been blown out by Illinois State, but special teams and a timely defense saved the day. The running game was non-existent with a mere 44 yards on the ground averaging 1.6 yards per carry. Dylan Meier went the whole way at quarterback, but Josh Freeman could quickly see some work if the offense continues to be so inept. Fortunately, Florida Atlantic and Marshall are ahead to try to put this clunker in the past.

2006 Kansas State Preview

Kansas State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Bill Snyder might have left Kansas State, but the legacy continues.     

No, not the legacy of tough overacheiving teams with a killer quarterback and talented running back who put up huge numbers against horrific non-conference slates while occasionally stunning Big 12 big names. The legacy of secrecy.

New head coach Ron Prince has done a fantastic job of not revealing his hand when it comes to his depth chart, his offense, or just about anything else he has plans for with his team. One thing's for sure: Kansas State will be better than it has been in recent seasons.

After years of success under Snyder, but no Big 12 titles, the program reached the summit with the 2003 Big 12 title victory over Oklahoma to finally complete one of the greatest rags to riches stories in college football history. And then it went plummeting to also-ran status losing 14 of the next 23 games with the most impressive victory coming in Snyder's finale against Missouri. So why did everything go so wrong?

Talent, or a lack of it.

27 Wildcats were drafted from 1999 to 2003, and then got through the 2003 season by beating a boatload of mediocre teams before getting hot at the end of the year thanks to Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson, but only two players off that team were drafted in 2004. Sproles was the only one taken in 2005 and tackle Jeromey Clary was the only one taken in last year's draft. Has the talent level really dropped off that much? 

That should change under Prince as he started to show right off the bat that he can recruit by snagging potential superstars like quarterback Josh Freeman and JUCO running back James Johnson and wide receiver Cedric Wilson. And that's just for starters.

The new excitement surrounding the coaching staff, along with the air of mystery about what this team really might be like, makes Kansas State one of the wild-cards in the Big 12 race. The receiving corps can fly, the defense will likely go to an even more aggressive than before scheme, and there are plenty of interesting options to work with in the offensive backfield.

While the lines need at least a year of seasoning and several major position battles still need to be settled, a little bit of tweaking and a little more production could mean a return to the days of winning seasons and going to bowls. Last year's team lost three games by a total of seven points and still went 5-6. This isn't a North title contender, but the train should be back on the right track.

The Schedule: It's Kansas State, so you know the cupcakes are coming. The Ron Prince era should get off to a flying start with Illinois State and Florida Atlantic, but Marshall should be a bit of a challenge and Louisville will be a true battle. If the Wildcats can get by the Cardinals, not only will is signify that the program is back to top 20 status, but it'll mean a 6-0 start is likely before facing Nebraska. While the Wildcats don't have the firepower to beat Texas, that doesn't come until mid-November. Playing Baylor and Oklahoma State from the South is a nice gift for Prince.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Jordy Nelson. Nelson went from being a defensive back prospect to a next-level caliber wide receiver in a few short months. He's an explosive 6-3, 210-pound playmaker who led the team in receiving last season and should flourish with more of an emphasis on the passing game.

Best Defensive Player:
Senior LB Brandon Archer. It has been hard for Archer to get noticed in a league full of tremendous linebackers, but his stats this year might be too impressive to ignore. He'll get more room to roam moving from the strongside to the weakside and will have more responsibility than ever. Expect him to be one of the team's top pass rushers.

Key player to a successful season: The entire offensive line. Tackles Derek Meyer and Gerard Spexarth, guard Matt Boss, John Hafferty, Greg Wafford and Caleb Handy, and centers Ryan Schmidt and Jordan Bedore have to form a more solid run blocking unit while providing far more protection than last season. Injuries were a major issue, and now with everyone healthy, there's good competition at each spot. The faster this group comes together, the better the chance for a great year.

The season will be a success if ... KSU gets back to a bowl game. There are plenty of holes and too much young talent to count on for a big season, but the schedule is breezy enough to fall into five wins by simply showing up. An upset over a team like Iowa State, Nebraska or Kansas will mean a 13th game.

Key game: Sept. 23 vs. Louisville. Of course, the Big 12 battles will mean the most, but a win over Louisville, who might be in the top ten, would show that this doesn't have to be a rebuilding year. Confidence could mean everything to this young team before dealing with Nebraska and a road trip to Missouri.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 74 - Kansas State 49
- Fumbles: Opponents 25, lost 14 - Kansas State 24, lost 16
- Interceptions thrown: Kansas State 12 - Opponents 8

The Last Time Kansas State…
…played in a bowl game…2003 (Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Iowa State)
…was shutout…1996 (Colorado)
…scored 50 points…2005 (North Texas)
…went undefeated…never
…won a conference title…2003 (Big 12)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Darren Sproles)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (James Terry)
…had a first-round draft choice…2003 (CB Terence Newman)