By Mark Janssen
Only time will tell how meaningful Saturday's 31-22 victory over UCLA will be, but for now it has to rank as one of Kansas State's all-time game one victories.
While certainly not pristine, the Wildcats did show resiliency in earning a lead to open the second half, and then answering on each occasion after the LA boys' scored.
- UCLA kicks a field goal to cut Kansas State's lead to 14-13, but the Cats answer with a field goal to make it 17-13.
- UCLA boots a field goal to make it 17-16, but K-State scores a touchdown to make it 24-16.
-UCLA scores on a 29-yard pass to make it 24-22, but not only does K-State stop the potential game-tying two-point conversion, the Cats also score a touchdown 21 seconds later for the 31-22 final.
On how the offense responded, quarterback Carson Coffman said, "I'm proud how we got back that finishing attitude. We had a finishing mentality and toughness, and I'm excited about that."
And Coach Bill Snyder said the same could be said on the defensive side in stopping the two-point conversion after the Bruins pulled to within two points in the closing minutes of the game.
"I like the way we responded to adverse situations. That takes something more than being a good football player. What's the old adage? It's how you respond to tough times that tells what kind of individual you are," said the Wildcat coach. "That's why I was proud of our defensive football team."
Snyder would later add of the total victory, "Wins are good for everybody. Wins are hard to come by. I don't care if you're the coach, the quarterback or the water guy. Wins are hard to come by and they're good for everybody."
The victory, Snyder's 18th consecutive first-game win, ran the Wildcats' record to 4-0 in season-opening games played at home against BCS opponents.
So where does the win rank among other significant games that put the Wildcats 1-0 to open the season?
For now, and emphasizing "for now," K-State Sports Extra is putting it in the middle of these previous top 10 season-opening victories of all-time.
Should the Wildcats continue to make something of this season, this one played on Sept. 4, that gave K-State a 1-0 start of the year will carry even more significance.
Let's take a trip back in history for K-State's top 10 game one victories of all time.
NO. 10 - NOV. 1, 1897 - KANSAS STATE 4, CHAPMAN HIGH SCHOOL 0
Yes, Kansas State's first-ever football win came by a unique score and against a strange foe in Chapman High School.
K-State started playing football the year before, posting a 0-1-1 record against Fort Riley.
Oh, seasons were different back in the olden days as this season-opening victory came on November 1, 1897. In the next three weeks, K-State lost twice to Washburn, plus tied Chapman High School, 0-0.
NO. 9 - OCT. 2, 1926 - KANSAS STATE 13, TEXAS 3
Texas wasn't truly Texas back in the mid-1920s, but it was still a program that was winning five to seven games on a yearly basis, while K-State was a decent five-game winner in 1925 and 1926 when it opened with a 13-3 home-field win over the Longhorns.
K-State won its first five games under Coach Charles Bachman, but then lost its last three.
NO. 8 - AUG. 26, 2000 - KANSAS STATE 27, IOWA 7
K-State played in the Eddie Robinson Classic on a day when the field-temperature was 120-degrees at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.
It was a game that put Snyder against his former Hawkeye school. While not enjoying that part of it, Snyder did enjoy playing a game that carried Robinson's name.
"Eddie Robinson was a titan in our profession," he would say.
NO. 7 - AUG. 23, 2003 - KANSAS STATE 42, CALIFORNIA 28
K-State opened the year in Arrowhead Stadium with a two-touchdown victory over California, 42-28, in the BCA Classic, and would later earn a 35-7 Big 12 Championship victory over Oklahoma at the same football venue.
Starting the year 3-0, K-State stumbled with consecutive losses to Marshall, Texas and Oklahoma State before winning its final seven games.
The game marked the earliest date to start a season in K-State history.
NO. 6 - SEPT. 21, 1968 - KANSAS STATE 21, COLORADO STATE 0
It was the debut game for the 35,000-seat KSU Stadium, now known as Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Played before only 25,000 fans, the 21-0 win over Colorado State marked Kansas State's first defensive shutout in 121 games, or dating back to the 1955 season. In addition, the 21-point victory was the widest margin of win dating back to a 36-7 win over BYU in 1957.
NO. 5 - SEPT. 23, 1967 - KANSAS STATE 17, COLORADO STATE 7
Playing in Fort Collins, Colo., the Vince Gibson-era opened with a 17-7 handling of Colorado State. The victory snapped a 0-20-1 Wildcat slump that dated back to the final game of the 1965 season.
On the flip side, it was the only victory of the season for the Wildcats.
NO. 4 - SEPT. 8, 1990 - KANSAS STATE 27, WESTERN ILLINOIS 6
This was the start to Bill Snyder's second season and a building block was needed for an improvement over the 1-10 campaign of 1989.
K-State got off on the right foot with the 27-6 victory and would win four more games for a five-win season ... a five-win season for just the second time at K-State since 1973.
NO. 3 - SEPT. 8, 2001 - KANSAS STATE 10, USC 6
Bill Snyder took his team to LA to open the year at the historic Coliseum, and the Wildcats came home with an impressive 10-6 victory over the storied USC Trojans.
It marked the first true road game against a non-conference BCS-type opponent since a victory over Minnesota in 1993.
NO. 2 - SEPT. 23, 1982 - KANSAS STATE 23, KENTUCKY 9
In 1981, K-State coach Jim Dickey redshirted eight seniors that were projected starters. The concept was one of stockpiling better and older players for the next season. An early 1982 victory was certainly needed to stop all second-guessing on the decision.
Even Dickey said, "People thought I was crazy, that I had flipped my lid. I'm very anxious to see what happens."
K-State defeated Kentucky in the opener, 23-9, got off to a 3-0 start for just the third time since the 1939 season, and the Cats later finished the season 6-5-1 and played in the school's first bowl game - the Independence Bowl.
NO. 1 - AUG. 31, 1996 - KANSAS STATE 21, TEXAS TECH 14
Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes called opening the season with K-State was like "... going to the dentist. You have to do it, so you might as well go get that tooth pulled and get it over with."
K-State won this first-ever game in Big 12 Conference history, 21-14, despite a negative-12-yard rushing performance and netting only 160 yards of total offense. By comparison, Tech totaled 392 yards on an amazing 119 snaps.
The game ball from the Big 12 opener was later delivered to the College Football Hall of Fame.
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