Dec. 23, 2013
Kansas State becomes the 146th different opponent to face the Wolverines in 134 years of gridiron action. The Michigan football team has compiled a 116-25-4 all-time record in first-time games with a school. A first-time meeting has taken place in bowl games on 15 previous occasions, with the Wolverines holding an 8-7 record.
The Wolverines are making their 43rd all-time bowl appearance (20-22 record).
This will be the first-ever meeting between Michigan (7-5) and Kansas State (7-5) and the fourth time that U-M has faced a Big 12 foe in a bowl game.
This is the first time that Michigan will play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Copper Bowl) but the second time that the football program plays a bowl game in the state of Arizona. The only previous visit to the Grand Canyon State was the 1986 Fiesta Bowl held at Sun Devil Stadium.
STREAKS TO WATCH
WR Jeremy Gallon tied a program record with a reception 38 straight games. He can become the program leader with a reception in the Dec. 28 bowl game.
Gallon has notched multiple receptions in 18 straight games. He has posted 5+ catches in seven consecutive outings.
TE Devin Funchess has a catch in 13 straight games.
K Brendan Gibbons has converted a program-record 141 straight PATs.
U-M BOWL APPEARANCES AND VICTORIES
The Wolverines list among the top 15 nationally in both bowl game appearances and victories.
This will be Michigan's 43rd bowl appearance, which ranks 11th all-time among BCS conference institutions.
U-M has 20 all-time victories in bowl games and lists tied for 14th all-time in bowl wins.
After starting the season 2-4, Kansas State (7-5 overall, 5-3 Big 12) won five of its final six games to qualify for its 17th bowl game in program history and the 15th under the guidance of head coach Bill Snyder. The Wildcats became just the fourth Big 12 team ever to become bowl eligible after starting the season 2-4.
All five of Kansas State's losses were by 10 points or less, and the Wildcats held fourth-quarter leads in three of those contests.
On offense, K-State is paced by All-Big 12 first team wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who led the Big 12 in all-purpose yards (151.4 per game) during the regular season. Lockett's 104.2 receiving yards per game in 2013 rank second in the Big 12 and 11th in the nation. The Wildcats have consistently used two quarterbacks throughout the season. Junior Jake Waters, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, is the team's primary passer, completing 138-of-233 passes for 2,198 yards this season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Sams has seen action in all 12 games for K-State and has been a difference-maker on the ground, using 148 carries to rush for 784 -- the most rushing yards by a freshman quarterback in program history. Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year Ryan Mueller leads a stout Kansas State defense that ranks fourth in the Big 12 in total defense, surrendering 367.0 yards a game. The Wildcats also rank third in the Big 12 in passing yards allowed (221.8 avg.) and fifth in rush defense (145.3 avg.).
MICHIGAN VS. BIG 12 CONFERENCE
Michigan is 7-2-1 against teams currently in the Big 12 Conference.
The Wolverines' last meeting with a Big 12 school came in 2005, when the Maize and Blue dropped a 32-28 decision to then-Big 12 member Nebraska at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
U-M's last encounter with a current member of the conference game following the 2004 season, when the Wolverines fell to Texas, 38-37, in the Rose Bowl.
Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan will play his final collegiate game in his home state of Arizona.
The bowl location carries extra meaning to Lewan as U-M will practice at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the Big Ten Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the attended his senior year of high school.
Fifth-year wide receiver Jeremy Gallon has posted a reception in 38 consecutive games, tying Braylon Edwards for the U-M program record.
Gallon finished the regular season second in the Big Ten in receiving yards (1,284), receiving yards per game (107.0) and catches (80).
The Apopka, Fla., native led Michigan in receiving yards in eight of its 12 regular-season games.
In total, Gallon has posted seven career 100-yard receiving efforts (four in 2013 and three in 2012).
Gallon also led Michigan in receptions (49), receiving yards (829) and receiving yards per game (63.8) in 2012.
Gallon joined elite company at Northwestern on Nov. 16, becoming only the 10th player in program history to post 1,000 receiving yards or more in a single season.
He is the Wolverines' first 1,000-yard receiver since Mario Manningham (1,174) accomplished the feat in 2007.
Gallon's 2,615 yards rank fourth best all-time in program history.
GALLON CLIMBS ALL-TIME RECEPTIONS LIST
Gallon continues to move up U-M's all-time receptions list in 2013. After posting nine receptions in the regular-season finale vs. Ohio State (Nov. 30), Gallon has 164 career receptions for the Maize and Blue, ranking fourth all-time in the category.
FINDING THE END ZONE
Fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon's nine receiving touchdowns this season are the most by a U-M player since 2007, when Mario Manningham posted 12 touchdown receptions. Gallon's nine TDs also rank tied for fourth in the Big Ten and tied for 28th in the country in 2013.
In U-M's 41-30 victory over Notre Dame on Sept. 7, Gallon became the first Wolverine to record three touchdown catches since Mario Manningham vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 16, 2006.
Dating back to last season's Outback Bowl, the fifth-year wideout has posted 11 touchdown catches over his last 13 games.
MAKING HIS MARK
Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess leads all Big Ten tight ends in catches (47) catches, yards (727) and touchdowns (six). Through 12 games, he has already tripled his 2012 receiving output (15 catches for 234 yards).
The Farmington Hills native ranks third among FBS tight ends in receiving yards and receptions.
Funchess' 961 receiving yards through 25 games already rank seventh among U-M tight ends on the program's career receiving yardage list.
Funchess is one of just two tight ends in U-M history with three 100-yard receiving efforts, joining Jim Mandich (1967-69).
Funchess, who earned Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2012, is averaging 15.5 yards per catch.
Funchess has been a big-play threat all season for the Maize and Blue, posting 12 20+-yard receptions through 12 games. He posted four of those 20+-yard catches vs. Minnesota (Oct. 5), three of which came on third down.
With six touchdowns during his sophomore campaign, Funchess ranks tied for second all-time among receiving touchdown leaders by tight ends. Eric Kattus boasts the record in the category with eight in 1985.
Fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (1,284 yards) and sophomore tight end Devin Funchess (727 yards) have combined for 2,011 receiving yards this season. That total ranks as the second-best mark for a pair in program history, and the most since 2007, when Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington became the first U-M teammates to combine for 2,000 yards (2,056).
LEADING THE WAY
In his first full season at the helm of the U-M offense, senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner has showcased his dual-threat ability, completing 208-of-345 passes for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushing for 483 yards and 11 touchdowns on 165 carries.
Gardner's 3,443 yards of total offense through 12 regular-season games rank second on U-M's single-season list, behind only Denard Robinson (4,272, 2010). During the regular season, Gardner averaged 286.9 yards of total offense, which ranked second in the Big Ten and 24th in the nation.
The Inkster High School product set a program record with 503 passing yards against Indiana (Oct. 19) and finished the regular season by passing for 451 yards against Ohio State (Nov. 30). Both outputs rank as the top two single-game passing records in program history.
The junior signal caller owns 12 200-yard passing games in his collegiate career, tying him for fifth place on U-M's all-time list in that category with Jim Harbaugh (1983-86) and Denard Robinson (2009-12).
Gardner passed for 200+ yards in six of eight conference games.
After throwing four touchdown passes against Ohio State, Gardner now has 34 for his career, which ranks ninth on U-M's all-time list in that category. He needs one touchdown to tie Tom Brady (35, 1996-99) for eighth on Michigan's all-time list.
Gardner finished the regular season second in the Big Ten and 20th in the country in points responsible for per game (16.2 avg.). He has accounted for at least two touchdowns in 14 of his last 17 games.
Gardner, who has appeared in 17 consecutive games for the Maize and Blue behind center, currently ranks first on Michigan's career efficiency rating list (149.2).
PASSING HIS COMPETITION
Senior/junior quarterback Devin Gardner upped his season passing yards to 2,960 to move to second among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category. He trails only record holder John Navarre, who passed for 3,331 yards in 2003.
Gardner's 4,440 career passing yards already rank ninth all-time in U-M history. He is one of only 11 players in U-M history to post 4,000 career passing yards.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
Junior defensive end Frank Clark has established new career highs in sacks (4.5), tackles-for-loss (12.0), total tackles (42) and fumble recoveries (two).
For his efforts, Clark was recognized as an All-Big Ten second team selection by the coaches and received the Richard Katcher Award as U-M's top defensive lineman in 2013.
Clark registered the first scoring play of his career at Penn State on Oct. 12, returning a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown on the first offensive play of the third quarter for Nittany Lions. Clark finished U-M's conference road opener with two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
COUNT THE PICKS
Junior/sophomore cornerback Blake Countess ranks tied for first in the Big Ten -- and tied for fourth in the country -- with six interceptions this season, while defensive back Raymon Taylor is tied for second in the conference with four picks in 2013.
An All-Big Ten first-team selection by the media, Countess is the first Wolverine since Todd Howard (6) in 2000 to record at least six interceptions in a season. With one more pick, Countess can become the first U-M player since Charles Woodson (8 INTs) in 1997 to have at least seven interceptions in a season.
The first two interceptions of Countess' collegiate career came against Notre Dame on Sept. 7. Prior to Countess, the last Wolverine player to record two interceptions in a game was James Rogers at Purdue on Nov. 13, 2010.
Countess' 72-yard INT return for a touchdown against Minnesota (Oct. 5) marked the sixth-longest interception returned for a touchdown by a Wolverine since 1948. His 162 return yards this season rank third all-time on U-M's single-season list.
Earlier this season at Iowa (Nov. 23), the Maize and Blue posted three interceptions in a game for the first time since notching three picks in a 28-24 victory at Notre Dame on Sept. 11, 2010.
SPECIAL TEAMS STANDOUT
Sophomore kick returner Dennis Norfleet ranks second on Michigan's career list with 1,677 yards on kickoff returns. Norfleet has posted 850 kick return yards in 2013, good for second on U-M's single-season list in that category.