Football Returns with Matchup vs. UTEP
Coming off of a nail-biting loss to the No. 5 Auburn Tigers, No. 25 K-State will look to put the past behind and get back on track.
"We just have to get back to the basics of what we do, go in and executing our game plan and preparing the way we know how," said K-State quarterback senior Jake Waters. "Our season's not over because we lost to Auburn, we just have to use it as motivation and know that we can play with anyone. If we execute the way we do and prepare the way we know how, we have a chance to be successful."
That's no easy task as the Miners come in to Manhattan averaging 314 rushing yards per game, led by talented running back Aaron Jones who is averaging 183 yards per game on the ground. UTEP took Texas Tech down to the wire on Sept. 6, and though the Miners wound up falling 30-26 to the Red Raiders, it proved a team capable of playing with anyone.
"We have a big opportunity this weekend in UTEP," said junior Cody Whitehair. "We just have to go out there and play hard. We're going to prepare as hard as we can. UTEP is a good football team, but I think we're going to go out there and execute. Play hard on offense, defense and special teams."
The Miners are coming off a bye week following a 49-24 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 13, and are led by head coach Sean Kugler.
Overall, the series between K-State and UTEP - dating back to 1947 - is tied at 1-1. The last time the two teams matched up, K-State came out on top with a 40-7 victory (Sept. 18. 1999), while the first time the two teams played, Sept. 26, 1947, the Miners took home a 20-6 win.
Taking the season one game at a time, K-State head coach Bill Snyder knows if his team executes to its full potential today, the outcome should leave Wildcat fans smiling.
"I just want them to play as well as we can play," said Snyder. "My wants are the same week in and week out. You can break that down into eliminating penalties, turnovers and all that type of stuff, but it's always the same: I just want us to play as well as we can. The capacity to do that is always there. It just depends on how you prepare yourself."
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Mixed Emotions for Be Stoney
This weekend, K-State Faculty Athletics Representative BeEtta "Be" Stoney just can't lose.
Though she has worked at K-State as a faculty member since 1999 and the faculty athletics representative (FAR) since 2010, her alma mater is coming to town, and, as a member of the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame for a successful career on the Miners' basketball court, she said regardless of today's football game outcome, she will be happy.
"I am just thrilled," said Stoney about today's game. "I always get excited when UTEP comes. They came here twice with women's basketball, and, well, it's a mixed emotion. Any time your alma mater plays, you follow them. I follow UTEP regardless, and I'm just overly excited at the fact that my alma mater is coming back to the institution with which I work. I have a great pride for both institutions, so it's a lot of mixed emotions."
In the past four years as K-State's FAR, Stoney has become one of the most respected FARs in the Big 12. Her job entails working as a liaison between the institution and the athletics department, as she helps student-athletes excel in both their sport and in the classroom. Her voice ensures academic integrity, and she represents K-State in both Big 12 Conference and NCAA affairs.
"She's done a great job as our Faculty Athletics Representative," said K-State athletics director John Currie. "She has earned the attention and the ear of her counterparts very quickly, and she has become a leader among Big 12 FARs. One thing that is so valuable about Be is that she is one of the few Faculty Athletics Representatives that played high level collegiate basketball. She is able to consider things both from the academic perspective but also as a former student-athlete and as a former intercollegiate coach. I believe she is the perfect person to be representing K-State and advocating for K-State student-athletes in her role."
Proud of her past as both a student-athlete and coach, Stoney has been in the position of the players and the coaches she works with on a daily basis. She said her past athletics experience provides her with the unique ability to relate.
"My job, I love it because it puts me back in the world of athletics," explained Stoney. "I had been away from it for so long, that when the opportunity came to apply for the position I thought, 'Oh, what a great way to give back to student-athletes.'
"That's what I really love about the job: working for the student-athletes and coaches. I want the coaches to know that the person in this position as the FAR, that they understand what they have to deal with. As a former student-athlete and a former coach, I truly relate with what they have to deal with."
Stoney played women's basketball at UTEP from 1977-81 and held the program's career points record for 30 years after recording 1,249 points throughout her career. She is one of only two Miner women's basketball players to record both 1,000 points and 500 rebounds (she recorded 563 career rebounds). After her playing career, she stayed at UTEP as a graduate assistant for the team from 1981-81, and then worked as an assistant coach from 1983-87.
In 2010, Stoney was recognized for her successful basketball career and became the only female member of UTEP's 2010 hall of fame class.
"It was very, very special," said Stoney about her induction into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame. "When I was back on campus, it brought back a lot of great memories that I had when I was there. It was so touching. Being recognized by your institution in such a unique way, that makes you feel very special to know that they were pleased by what you've done in representing their institution and also to know that they're pleased with what you've accomplished since."
So, when Stoney watches the game today, she simply can't lose. Two teams she loves will be on the field and to her, there's no better side to be on than both sides.
"It's going to be a great game on both sides of the ball," she concluded. "I've had so many people ask me who I'm rooting for and my comment is, 'I can't lose either way.' My alma mater is here in town, that's prideful. I work here at K-State and I've been here 15 years, and that's a lot of pride right there.
"So as far as I'm concerned, I can't lose. I'm being represented by two great institutions who respect and support their student-athletes in every possible way."