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Cats Excited About Big 12 Opener in Arrowhead

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Teams don't have to open Big 12 play with a victory to have a successful season, but it certainly is the preference.
 
In fact, in 2003 when the Wildcats won the Big 12 Championship, they were 0-2 after two conference games but then won the next six regular-season league games, plus the title game.
 
But to the K-State players entering Saturday's 11 a.m. league opener with Iowa State, they think this one scheduled for Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium is vital to the success of the rest of the season.
"This is where it all starts," said senior offensive guard Zach Kendall. "This is big-time for us."
 
Offensive tackle Zach Hanson added, "It's always best to start off the season the right way, especially when it's the opening to a conference season. We have a big task ahead of us, but this game can set a trend for the rest of the season."
 
On the subject, linebacker Blake Slaughter added the fact that "... it's a team from the north, and that's the division we're trying to win. This win could create some great confidence for the rest of the year."
 
Dating back to 2001, K-State has won just two of its last nine Big 12 opening games. Those were last year against Iowa State, 24-23, and in 2007 against Texas, 41-21.
 
Of those nine games, seven were true away games, one at home in 2008 against Texas Tech and last year's against Iowa State played at Arrowhead Stadium.
 
This will be K-State's sixth game at the home of the Kansas City Chiefs, with the Wildcats winning four of the previous five, which included the 2003 Big 12 title game victory over Oklahoma.
 
"We all want to get to the NFL one day, so it's exciting to play in an NFL stadium," said defensive back David Garrett.
 
Slaughter added, "I'm not sure last year we knew what to expect, so this year shouldn't be much of a distraction. I mean, last year that stadium looked to go up 10 miles high. This year it shouldn't seem so dramatic."
 
Two who are truly looking forward to their final appearance at Arrowhead are Kendall (Harrisonville High School) and quarterback Carson Coffman (Raymore-Peculiar High School), who are both natives of Peculiar, Mo.
 
"I grew up a Chiefs fan, so it will be fun to play in a stadium where I went to tailgate with my dad when I was a kid," said Kendall.
 
Coffman's father, Paul, played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1986 and 1987, which was prior to Carson's birth, but the Wildcat quarterback does say, "I grew up going to that stadium watching games, so that will have Saturday's game carrying an extra significance for me."
 
It was that fact that made last year difficult for Coffman, who was benched entering the game against Iowa State after starting the first four games of the season. While scores of friends and former teammates were expecting him to start, he didn't ... he didn't even play, which left him to say, "I was embarrassed and disappointed. This year I want to put on a show for them."
 
The show that coach Bill Snyder wants to see is one of "... consistency on both sides of the ball without highs and lows."
 
And he warns K-State fans not to read too much into the Cyclones' 35-7 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes last week. He called the score "deceiving" and called ISU "a very good football team that plays extremely hard."
 
 
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com.