North Texas (1-1) at (15) Kansas State (2-0)
Saturday, September 15, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Mike Castiglione, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 15th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats close out the non-conference
portion of their schedule on Saturday night when the North Texas Mean Green
pay a visit to Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
The Wildcats appear to be in midseason form, having outscored Missouri State
and Miami-Florida by a combined score of 103-22. They led from start to finish
in last Saturday's 52-13 thrashing of the Hurricanes. This week's contest
wraps up a three-game homestand to start the season, as the team will visit
fifth-ranked Oklahoma next weekend to open Big 12 play.
Meanwhile, North Texas rebounded from a season-opening loss at third-ranked
LSU by knocking off Texas Southern last weekend, 34-7. This tilt kicks off a
crucial three-game road swing for the Mean Green, who have hopes of playing in
a bowl game under second-year head coach Dan McCarney.
Wildcats senior quarterback Collin Klein was named the Big 12 Offensive Player
of the Week after accounting for four touchdowns against Miami. Three of those
scores came on the ground, his 10th career multi-touchdown rushing game which
ranks second nationally among active quarterbacks. He also inflicted plenty of
damage through the air, averaging a robust 23.3 yards on nine completions for
a near-perfect 254.0 pass efficiency rating.
Head coach Bill Snyder praised the way Klein has gone about working to improve
"(Klein) improves at everything because he works diligently to get better,"
Snyder said. "He has improved in the passing game and he is making an
improvement in leadership. He is also making improvements in the management
and running game. He is just a guy who works diligently to get better, and he
just keeps getting better across the board."
Still, Klein was far from a one-man show. John Hubert ran for 106 yards and a
TD -- his second 100-yard game in as many weeks -- while Daniel Sams added
another two rushing scores. All told, the Wildcats racked up 498 total yards
for the game.
K-State's defense also put forth a strong showing as Miami's only touchdown
came in the waning moments with the game out of hand. The defense bottled up
Miami's offense to the tune of 262 total yards and put plenty of pressure on
Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris, who was sacked five times. The Wildcats
recovered three fumbles on the day and held the Hurricanes to just 40 yards on
the ground, an average of 1.4 per rush. Linebacker Arthur Brown made his
presence felt, as he set up a short TD drive with a first-quarter fumble
recovery and later helped force a turnover on downs with a third-quarter sack.
The ground game is the preferred mode of attack for the Mean Green, who after
two weeks rank 32nd nationally in rushing offense (214 ypg) and 111th in
passing offense (144 ypg). Despite nearly matching last week's total offensive
output by halftime, coach McCarney saw plenty of areas for improvement.
"It was a good win," coach McCarney said following the team's first win in a
home opener since 2006. "There's not a great feeling of satisfaction. We were
inconsistent running the ball, and we have to execute our passing game
Running backs Brandon Byrd and Antoine Jimmerson combined for 281 yards on the
ground, although McCarney was not pleased that TSU was still within two scores
entering the final quarter.
The North Texas defense did a fine job against a Tigers squad that racked up
544 yards of offense a week earlier. At halftime, the Mean Green had allowed
just 16 yards of total offense, and the only first downs they yielded in the
first half came by way of penalties. By game's end, UNT had held the Tigers to
a mere 31 yards rushing, the lowest total by a Mean Green opponent since 1992.
TSU finished with just 185 yards of total offense. A fourth-quarter
interception by Marcus Trice and later a pass deflection on fourth down helped
thwart TSU's comeback hopes.
The scary thing about K-State is that after last Saturday's rout of Miami,
Klein downplayed his progress with the offense, pointing out some plays he
would have liked to have back.
"Coach is rubbing off on me because what I am thinking about right now is the
two field goals we kicked inside the ten," Klein said. "That is what I am
thinking about right now. Again, we did a lot of good things, we made some
progress, but there are some things we need to sure up."
If the Wildcats are able to punch such opportunities into the end zone this
week, they can put this one away rather easily.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 41, North Texas 17
09/12 10:40:00 ET
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