Chad May might be Kansas State's poster boy, but those people who think he's the beginning and end of the Wildcats' football offense aren't getting the whole picture.
At least, that's the opinion of K-State coach Bill Snyder.
KSU and Kansas will meet for their annual Sunflower Showdown on Thursday. Kickoff is 7:05 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN.
The primetime tilt will be a showcase for May, the fourth-best quarterback in the nation according to USA Today, and, Snyder is quick to point out, the beneficiary of a solid team.
"I like to think everybody understands that he's a fine player," Snyder said. "But I've seen a lot of fine players, and they don't get it done without a good supporting cast."
- Running back J.J. Smith ranks fifth in the Big Eight in rushing (103 yards per game) and second in all-purpose yards (176 yards per game).
- A re-tooled offensive line -- the 'Cats graduated everybody between the tackles -- has allowed just five quarterback sacks.
- Two KSU receivers -- Tyson Schwieger and Kevin Lockett -- rank in the top 11 in the conference in receiving yards per game.
- The K-State defense has allowed just 339 total passing yards through three games -- best in the Big Eight -- and it ranks No. 1 in the league in total defense, with 238.3 yards per game.
And then there's May, who arrived at KSU two years ago as an unheralded transfer from woeful Cal State-Fullerton.
"Back at Fullerton, my support cast wasn't the best," May said. "I always said, 'If I had the right people around me, I could succeed.'"
Last year, May proved it, completing 185 of 350 passes (52.9 percent) for 2,682 yards, the third-highest total in league history and the most ever by a Big Eight junior.
"I wouldn't say he surprised us or surprised me," Snyder said. "I knew he was very capable of what he did."
May and the rest of the Wildcats have proved capable again this year, a season removed from the best in school history. Last season, the 'Cats went 9-2-1 and capped the best season in school history with a 55-17 rout of Wyoming in the Copper Bowl.
This season, they're 3-0 -- with wins over Southwest Louisiana (34-6), Rice (27-18) and Minnesota (35-0) -- and ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press poll, 13th by CNN/USA Today.
"They look awful darned good to me," said KU coach Glen Mason. "There's a reason they're undefeated and nationally ranked."
KSU returned 15 starters from last year, 10 of whom earned some sort of all-Big Eight honor. The 'Cats returned players who accounted for 97.9 percent of their rushing, 100 percent of their passing, 60.3 percent of their receiving yards, 58.3 percent of their scoring and 61.1 percent of their tackles.
"I think they're a better team than they were a year ago," Mason said. "Top to bottom. They lost a lot of awfully good guys in their secondary, but they haven't missed a beat. Their front seven's back, a year older and a year better. They're awfully good."