Snyder, Kansas State roll back the clock

Posted: October 27, 2011

IN BILL SNYDER'S first tour of duty at Kansas State (1989-2005), he took an absolute nothing and made it nationally significant. Much like John Calipari once did with basketball at Massachusetts.

They might be the two greatest college turnarounds. But even Coach Cal never returned to do it again.

After his successor, Ron Prince, went 17-20 in three seasons, Snyder (who'd gone 9-13 in 2004-05) unretired. Now, having just turned 72, he's got the Wildcats back to where he once had them, after going 6-6 in 2009 and 7-6 last year.

They're 7-0, ranked 10th (eighth in the BCS standings), heading into Saturday's home game with No. 11 Oklahoma (6-1), which was just upset at home by Texas Tech. The Sooners are two-touchdown favorites. Before last week's 59-21 win at Kansas, the Wildcats had won four straight as underdogs (at Miami, home against Baylor and Missouri and at Texas Tech).

K-State hasn't beaten OU since the 2003 Big 12 title game (35-7), when the Sooners were No. 1. Snyder is 6-10 in the series.

Nobody's suggesting the Wildcats are going to win the national title. Or even get to a BCS bowl. After this they're at No. 3 Oklahoma State (7-0), before hosting No. 16 Texas A & M (5-2). Then they're at 4-2 Texas.

But it is something that one guy can have such an impact twice at one place.

That 2003 title, by the way, remains only the second in program history. The other came in 1934, in what was then the Big 6. That team played Fort Hays State, Manhattan College, Marquette and Washburn.

For the longest time, Snyder's MO was to play nobody out of conference. He finally did a home-and-home with Southern Cal in 2001-02. The last 2 years he did the same with UCLA. And now Miami.

Who says an old dog can't adapt? And continue to get it done.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT

East Carolina's Dominique Davis just set an FBS record by completing 26 straight passes in a game. Which two players had shared the old mark of 23? Hint: One won a national title, the other an NFL title, both in the last 15 years. See Answer man.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

They're not always lasting.

Maryland opened with a narrow home win over Miami, which was missing a bunch of bodies thanks to NCAA issues. The Terps have won once since, against FCS Towson. They just lost by 25 at Florida State, whose other wins came against Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern and Duke.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have lost two more. One was by four at home to unbeaten Kansas State, the other by three on a late score at once-beaten Virginia Tech. In the last 2 weeks they handed both North Carolina and Georgia Tech their respective second losses.

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH

Utah, in its BCS debut, is 0-4 in the Pac-10. It just lost to Cal, which had been 0-3 in the league.

ANSWER MAN

Tennessee's Tee Martin (1998) and California's Aaron Rodgers (2004).

HAVE YOU NOTICED?

Texas lost six home games from 1998-2009, all to Texas A & M or Kansas State. Now the Longhorns (4-2) have lost five straight Big 12 games at home, dating back to a 51-20 win over Kansas 23 months ago.

This week they host Kansas (2-5), which for the first time this year won't be facing an unbeaten team.

SPOTLIGHT ON CASE KEENUM

IN JANUARY, THE NCAA granted the Houston quarterback a sixth season of eligibility, after the school argued that he'd redshirted as a true freshman because of a shoulder injury and not voluntarily.

His 2010 season ended with a knee injury in the third game. Now he's putting a hurt on the record book.

Last week Keenum became the FBS all-time total offense leader. He now has 17,173 yards. The mark belonged to Hawaii's Timmy Chang (16,910 from 2000-04). With 16,271 passing yards, Keenum needs 802 to pass another Chang standard.

He needs five more touchdown passes to surpass Graham Harrell's (Texas Tech, 2005-08) career 134, and 92 completions to erase Harrell's 1,403. The number that's out of his reach is Chang's 2,436 attempts. Keenum needs 645 more. So another year might not even get him there.

But his next TD accounted for (he's rushed for 20) takes him past Dan LeFevour's (Central Michigan, 2006-09) 150.

This season Keenum's 194-for-266 for 2,685 yards, with 23 TDs and two picks. Last week he tied a career-high by throwing for six scores in a 63-28 home win over Marshall, his 19th in a row as a starter.

Last year the Cougars finished 5-7, after winning 11 times in 2009. They're ranked 18th, and if they beat Rice tonight they'd match the best start in program history (8-0 in 1979 and '90) for fourth-year coach Kevin Sumlin. It would also give them eight wins for the third time in 4 years, something they've only done once (1976-79).

Can it get Keenum a Heisman Trophy? Probably not. But if the Cougars keep dominating Conference-USA it should certainly make him a finalist.

SIDELINES

MAC ME UP

The MAC East is the only division among the 17 in FBS that doesn't have at least one team with fewer than two league losses left. And of those other 16, 12 have at least one team that is unbeaten in the league.

The only certainty is that Bowling Green would finish first if it wins out. That's hardly a given, even though its two toughest games (Northern Illinois, Ohio) are at home.

SMALLS STUFF

Widener has scored more than 50 points in its last four games, a program first. Sophomore defensive back Laquan Robinson has seven career touchdowns, on interception or kick returns. He had two last week.

COUCH POTATO

TODAY

8 Virginia at Miami, ESPN

TOMORROW

8 BYU at Texas Christian, ESPN

SATURDAY

Noon Syracuse at Louisville, Channel 6

Noon James Madison at Old Dominion, CSN

Noon Michigan State at Nebraska, ESPN

Noon Purdue at Michigan, ESPN2

Noon North Carolina State at Florida State, ESPNU

Noon Missouri at Texas A&M, FX

Noon Albany at Wagner, Fox College Sports

Noon Lehigh at Colgate, CBS College Sports

Noon Northwestern at Indiana, Big Ten

12:30 p.m. Virginia Tech at Duke, Phila. Nonstop

3:30 Florida at Georgia, Channel 3

3:30 Illinois at Penn State, Ch. 6

3:30 Navy at Notre Dame, Channel 10

3:30 Southern Methodist at Tulsa, TCN

3:30 Baylor at Oklahoma State, ESPN

3:30 West Virginia at Rutgers, ESPN2

3:30 Wake Forest at North Carolina, ESPNU

3:30 Fordham at Army, CBS College Sports

3:30 Iowa at Minnesota, Big Ten

6:30 Colorado at Arizona State, Fox College Sports

7 Delaware at Towson, TCN

7 Mississippi at Auburn, ESPNU

7:15 South Carolina at Tennessee, ESPN2

8 Wisconsin at Ohio State, ESPN

8 Stanford at USC, Channel 6

8 Southern Mississippi at UTEP, CBS College Sports

10:30 Arizona at Washington, CSN

10:30 Iowa State at Texas Tech, TCN

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