Breaking down the Kansas State offense

Nebraska Opponent Offensive Scouting Report
Team: Kansas State Wildcats
Location: Manhattan, Kan.

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Colors: Purple & White
Enrollment: 23,581
Conference: Big 12 (North Division)
Head Coach: Bill Snyder (William Jewel, 1963), 146-74-1 in 19 seasons
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Del Miller
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs: Dana Dimel
2010 Record: 4-0 (1-0 Big 12)
National Ranking: None (receiving votes)
Series Record vs. Nebraska: Nebraska leads 77-15-2
Game Date: Thursday, Oct. 7
Game Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Stadium: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000) in Manhattan, Kan.
Radio: Husker Sports Network
Signal-Caller: QB Carson Coffman (6-3, 211) has taken nearly all of the snaps under center this season while guiding KSU to its first 4-0 start since 2003. Coffman punctuated the Wildcats' last victory, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 7-yard run with only 24 seconds remaining to lift Kansas State past Central Florida, 17-13, on Sept. 25. Coffman also added a 58-yard scoring pass to Aubrey Quarles, and is now averaging 159.8 ypg (639 passing yards) through the air while completing 46-of-76 passing attempts with only two interceptions. He is third in the league (28th nationally) in pass efficiency with a rating of 147.6.
On the Ground: RB Daniel Thomas (6-2, 228) has helped KSU rank second in the league with 216.0 rushing yards per game, setting up a clash between the Big 12's top two rushing teams when the Huskers (309.0 ypg) and Wildcats meet on Thursday night. One of the nation's elite rushers-and probably one of the most underrated-Thomas has 628 yards on 105 rushes (6.0 ypr), including a 234-yard outburst during the season-opening win over UCLA. After leading the Big 12 with 1,265 yards on the ground last year while adding 1,547 all-purpose yards, Thomas is again leading the Big 12 Conference with 157.0 rushing yards per game this year to rank fifth nationally. Last season against the Huskers, he had 99 rushing yards on 19 carries. Also for the Wildcats, William Powell (5-9, 207) is averaging 11.2 ypr with 134 yards on 12 carries.
Catching It: Brodrick Smith (6-2, 212) owns a team-leading 14 catches and is among a trio of Wildcat receivers with double-figure reception totals through four games along with Quarles (5-11, 200) and Tramaine Thompson (5-7, 164), who each have 10 receptions. Smith leads the way with 191 receiving yards and three touchdowns while Quarles paces the team with 16.4 yards per catch and two scoring receptions. Thompson added a 73-yard catch-and-run against UCF in the last outing, marking nearly half of his 154 total receiving yards this season. Thomas is fourth on the team with four catches for 16 yards out of the backfield.
On the Line: The Wildcats list three seniors and two juniors as offensive line starters on the depth chart and the veteran group has paved the way for 377.8 yards of total offense per game. While the unit has opened holes for All-America and Doak Walker Award candidateThomas, the group-which boasts 83 combined career starts--has also struggled in pass protection at times, allowing 11 sacks (96th nationally) for 57 yards through four games. The projected starting group includes: LT Manase Foketi (6-5, 300), LG Zach Kendall (6-2, 317), C Wade Weibert (6-4, 303), Kenneth Mayfield (6-4, 349) and Zach Hanson (6-8, 305).
Kicking It Around: After Anthony Cantele (5-10, 186) went 1-of-2 in the first two games of the season (including a 26-yard miss against Missouri State), Josh Cherry (6-0, 190) has handled the place-kicking duties the past two games. Cherry has connected on all three of his field-goal attempts this year, making kicks from 37 and 42 yards against Iowa State and 27 yards vs. UCF. Last year, Cherry was third during league play with 11 field goals while hitting 12 of his last 15 attempts on the season.
Return Game: RB William Powell paces the Wildcat return teams with eight kickoff returns for 255 yards, including a long of 54 yards. He ranks second in the league and eighth in the country with 31.9 yards per kickoff return and was the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 20 after averaging 29 ypr on four kickoff returns, including a 45-yard return that set up a touchdown in the seven-point win. WR Tramaine Thompson owns all 11 punt returns this season and is averaging 6.1 yards per return with a long of 20. His average ranks sixth in the conference.
They Said It: "Offensively, we laid a massive egg during the first half of the ball game and a good portion of the second half, but yet when we had to have it we were able to get it and that speaks favorably for the young people in our program. I sure am proud of the fact that we came back to win the ball game."
--- Head coach Bill Snyder following his team's last-minute comeback win over Central Florida on Sept. 25.
Quick hits
***KSU is 4-0 for the first time in seven seasons and looks to move to 5-0 for the first time since 2000 when the Wildcats won the first six games of the year before finishing with an 11-3 mark.
***The contest against Nebraska will mark the fourth home game in KSU's first five contests of the year, with the other game played just down the road in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. The Wildcats, however, have only two more games at home after facing the Huskers, as five of the last seven contests are away, including the last three games of the regular season.
***Since 1990 when he took over the program the first time, Bill Snyder ranks fifth among active FBS coaches with 146 wins entering the Nebraska matchup. In that span, he trails only Mack Brown (198 wins), Frank Beamer (178), Joe Paterno (177) and Steve Spurrier (160).
***KSU is 3-0 this year when scoring first and is 126-23 since 1990 when putting the first points on the board.
***The Wildcats went 5-1 at home last year and are 3-0 this season playing at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Since 1990, K-State holds a 97-22-1 record at home under coach Bill Snyder.
Kansas State Wildcats 2010 Schedule
Sept. 4 UCLA, W, 31-22
Sept. 11 Missouri State, W, 48-24
Sept. 18 vs. Iowa State (in Kansas City), W, 27-20
Sept. 25 UCF, W, 17-13
Oct. 7 Nebraska, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Oct. 14 at Kansas, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Oct. 23 at Baylor
Oct. 30 Oklahoma State
Nov. 6 Texas
Nov. 13 at Missouri
Nov. 20 at Colorado
Nov. 27 at North Texas