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Fiesta Sunday: Bowl Day 3


View Sunday's photo gallery | Watch video recap from Sunday

By Mark Janssen

PHOENIX, Ariz. - For the first time in a long, long time, a K-State press conference was thrown and Collin Klein was not the man in the spotlight.

At Sunday morning's gathering of the media it was Chris Harper that gathered the most microphones and poised pens as the Wildcat wide receiver was asked and re-asked to reflect on his days as an Oregon Duck in 2008.

"I didn't remember any of the names, but some of the faces were familiar," said Harper of the Oregon media types. "I think some of them wanted to stir up some bad blood, but I have no hard feelings about Oregon. I had already committed to K-State, but Oregon was a place where my parents wanted me to go, so that's where I went. But I liked (Chip) coach Kelly and I don't regret my one year there one bit."

A PrepStar All-American out of Wichita Northwest High School as a quarterback, Harper was a hit with the Ducks becoming the first player in eight years to run, pass and catch a touchdown in the same season.

"It only came down to being around family and going where I wanted to go in the first place," said Harper.

Of going against some old friends and his former school, coach Bill Snyder said, "Chris is Chris. I don't think he will be overwhelmed."

And as Harper said, "I don't care who we're playing. If I'd be playing my mom and dad, I'd be out to beat them, too. It's not about me trying to get revenge at all. I hope I'm a marked man (by Oregon) because I'm making plays on the field, but for no other reason."

After redshirting at K-State in 2009, Harper took to the field in 2010 when he caught 25 passes with four of those being TDs, and followed with a 40-catch year in 2011 with five scores, and now improved to 50 snares for 786 yards and three scores.

HERE'S OREGON DEFENSIVE CORRIDNATOR NICK ALIOTTI ON COLLIN KLEIN: "He's the catalyst, that's for sure. I'd say a lot like two years ago with Cam Newton and the offense that Auburn ran through him. But the bottom line is you know that the offense is going to run through Collin Klein. He's their best player and the ball is in his hands every play. He's the guy that's the general."

BOWL GAME FUNK: Bill Snyder says he has no explanation for K-State's current four-game slump in bowl games, which includes losing to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, Rutgers in the Texas Bowl, and, Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

"I have no explanation," said the Wildcat coach, who has a personal 6-7 record in postseason games at K-State. "Will we try to do anything different? I can't tell you I'm smart enough to figure that out."

BOWL GIFTS: K-State players were given a gift catalog by the Fiesta Bowl with six points to use on a variety of gifts.

B.J. Finney said he used five points on a home theater system, plus a sixth point on a blender.

Others picked from a variety of watches, cameras, headphones, and even a six-point recliner.

In addition, each player received two Fiesta Bowl warm-ups, shoes, a handful of t-shirts, and in the words of several players, "... a lot of other stuff."

WHAT'S HAPPENING MONDAY: There will be a "team" media gathering this morning followed by practice at 12:45.

For the women will be a fashion show and brunch sponsored by Nordstrom's, and for the kids of the travel party a trip to Jake's Food and Fun.

Monday night the Fiesta Bowl is throwing a New Year's Eve party for the administration.