Two Things Give Wildcats A Texas Bowl Advantage

The Kansas State Wildcats are preparing for a big test in Texas on Wednesday when they battle Texas A&M. It should be one of the best matchups of the bowl season. 

The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in college football, winning five of their last six games, including the final three.

Texas A&M is playing in a bowl game for the eighth straight season, which is the longest streak of bowl appearances in program history but they lost 3 of the final 4 games.

With identical 8-4 records, the teams appear evenly matched in a number of ways.

Two items will determine the outcome of this game. Turnovers and special teams. The Wildcats excel at both.

On defense, turnovers and stopping the run were the emphasis, and the Cats were among the nation’s best.

Kansas State enter the bowl game ranked sixth nationally in turnover margin at plus-11.

Texas A&M ranks tied at 20th nationally in takeaways with a 24 total. – Advantage ‘Cats!

The Wildcats have steadily been one of the top special teams units in all of college football under Coach Snyder, and 2016 has been no different.

Dominique Heath and Byron Pringle each have recorded touchdowns on returns this year as K-State continues to lead the nation in non-offensive touchdowns since 1999 (106) and combined kick/punt return scores since 2005 (42).

Aggie Sophomore WR Christian Kirk is the NCAA’s active career leader in punt return average by more than seven yards per attempt and is within shouting distance of multiple SEC and NCAA punt return records, according to media release from the Aggies.

As a team, Texas A&M is averaging 28.6 per punt return on 12 returns in 2016. The season NCAA record for a team (with a minimum of 15 returns) is 25.22 by Arizona State in 1952.

Kirk had three punt return TDs in 2016. However, two of those came against New Mexico State.

Kansas State is not New Mexico State. The ‘Cats will be prepared for Kirk.

The AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl marks the fourth time Kansas State will face an SEC team in a bowl game – including the second-straight year.  

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The Wildcats defeated Tennessee in the 2001 Cotton Bowl, 35-21, and fell to Arkansas in the 2012 Cotton Bowl and 2016 Liberty Bowl.

A Wildcat win in this game could set the stage for a Big 12 title run in 2017.

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