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The Season: Part Two
So now, heading into the second half of the 2013 season, K-State football has put the past behind in order to create the future it knows it can achieve.
While in the beginning of the season K-State didn't foresee hitting the halfway point at 2-4 (0-3 Big 12), today's game against West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) gives the Wildcats the opportunity to turn around this season and finish the year in the top half of the Big 12.
Though the team is coming off three consecutive conference losses and a bye week, there are a few things about head coach Bill Snyder's preparation that just never change. One of those things is the team's outlook on each opponent.
"We are just ready to be 1-0," sophomore linebacker Mike Moore said. "Coach (Snyder) always talks about being 1-0 and taking it one game at a time. We are putting West Virginia first and Iowa State second."
And it's not just Moore who buys in to Snyder's method of taking the season one game at a time. Redshirt freshman fullback Glenn Gronkowski relayed the same message and said there's no looking back now.
"We certainly can (put our conference losses behind)," Gronkowski said. "That is what you have to do. Right now, we are just looking to be 1-0 against West Virginia, and we will move on from there."
Seeing its share of ups and downs this season, the Mountaineers three conference losses came to Oklahoma (16-7 on Sept. 7), Baylor (73-42 on Oct. 5) and Texas Tech (37-27 on Oct. 19), while its solo conference win came on Sept. 28 as they defeated then No. 11 ranked Oklahoma State, 30-21.
Last year K-State traveled to Morgantown, W.Va., and came home with a 55-14 victory. From last season to today, K-State's football team has seen tremendous change while Snyder said this season's West Virginia team has stayed relatively the same.
"I do not see a substantial amount of differences. They do not have the (Tavon) Austin youngster quite obviously, or Geno Smith, but the other young guys play well," Snyder said. "I think they have good schemes on both sides of the ball, and I just think they are trying to get new guys and young guys that have not worked together to fit into the system. So, I do not see a great deal of change.
"We played them reasonably early last year, so we have seen all of the ballgames since then, but we're not totally familiar with their tendencies so to speak, what they are doing the most of. You are going to repeat the things that you do well and they certainly have found a few niches that they like and are having success with."
With six games to go, the Wildcats are ready to enter the second half of this season taking each game as it comes, starting today with West Virginia.
"We are at the halfway point of the season and even though we did not have a good first half of the season, we feel like we can pick things up at the second half and finish the season strong," sophomore defensive back Dante Barnett said.
A week of festivities capped with yesterday's parade and pep rally, the second half of the football season has been kicked off with excitement. Along with the Wildcat homecoming festivities, K-State continues to celebrate its 150th birthday celebration at today's games.
The game, scheduled to kick off in a sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 2:45 p.m., will be the Mountaineers first ever visit to Manhattan and will be aired on FOX Sports 1.
After four consecutive home-sellouts this season, K-State football is on track to have sellout attendance at every home game this year. So far this season, K-State is on target for an all-season attendance of 400,000 - a number that would break the Wildcat all-time attendance record.
"I think we have amazing people that are invested in caring about Kansas State, its football program, the young people involved in it, and the program in general," Snyder said. "They demonstrate that in so many ways, certainly filling up the stands and the kind of vocal support during the course of the ballgame. In so many other ways as well."