Sunflower Showdown Next for No. 24 Cats


Posted Oct 1, 2007


MANHATTAN, Kan. - Coming off an impressive 41-21 win at No. 7 Texas on Saturday, Kansas State, winners of three in a row, will welcome in-state rival Kansas to Bill Snyder Family Stadium in the team’s Big 12 Conference home-opener. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT.

The game will be broadcast across the region on Fox Sports Net with Bill Land (play-by-play), Gary Reasons (color) and Emily Jones (sideline) calling the action.

Kansas State, back in the national rankings for the first time since Sept. 5, 2004, checks in at No. 24 in this week’s AP Poll after its big win at Texas last weekend. The Wildcats, who snapped a six-game losing streak in Big 12 Conference openers and also defeated a top 10 team on the road for the first time in school history, played their most complete game of the season in Austin as the offense, defense and special teams units all figured prominently in the win. Against the Longhorns, the Wildcats scored touchdowns on a kickoff return, a punt return and an interception return, marking the first time in school history a K-State team has done such.

Senior wide receiver Jordy Nelson continues to show he is one of the nation’s premiere wideouts and all-purpose performers after collecting 12 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown against the Longhorns and also returning a punt 89 yards for a score to clinch the win in Austin. Nelson has caught 42 passes for 497 yards and two touchdowns this season and continues to climb the K-State career receiving charts. Quarterback Josh Freeman also had yet another solid outing as the sophomore threw for 177 yards and a score on 22-of-38 aim while not throwing an interception for the second consecutive game. Freeman has thrown for 1,004 yards through four games this season, completed 61.8-percent of his passes and has averaged 251.0 yards a game through the air.

Defensively, the Wildcats forced the Longhorns into a season-high four turnovers, all coming via the interception, while holding the Texas offense to just 113 yards rushing and 217 yards passing. The K-State defense continues to rank among the nation’s top units as it enters the week ranked No. 11 in rushing defense (79 yards a game), No. 22 in pass efficiency defense (105.39 rating), No. 18 in scoring defense (17.0 points per game) and No. 13 in total defense (276 yards a game). The Wildcats tripled their season total in interceptions after the Texas game as four different players recorded picks in the game.

On special teams, the Wildcats truly have been special as they currently rank No. 1 nationally in punt returns and No. 26 in kickoff returns and have seen three different players score on kick or punt returns. All three of Kansas State’s special teams scores, Deon Murphy’s 80-yard punt return against Missouri State, James Johnson’s 85-yard kickoff return against Texas and Jordy Nelson’s 89-yard punt return against the Longhorns, have been the longest in the Big 12 Conference at the time of each of the returns. Under head coach Ron Prince, Kansas State has scored 10 special teams touchdowns and has 13 non-offensive scores.


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