SE: Big 12 Play Begins

October 2, 2015

By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

Tomorrow afternoon K-State football (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) will kick off its Big 12 slate with a matchup against No. 20 Oklahoma State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) at 3 p.m. inside Boone Pickens Stadium.

“We’re very hungry. We’re ready to get back out there and get out into Big 12 play,” said senior defensive tackle Travis Britz earlier this week. “It’s going to be a measuring stick as to where we’re at, especially with this great opponent in Oklahoma State. They have some great athletes and they’re at the top of the conference right now, so it’s going to be great as far as seeing where we need to be and what we need to improve on.”

The Wildcats enter this weekend’s matchup coming off of a bye week. Rested and ready to go, K-State is prepared for the upcoming road contest.

The team has spent the past two weeks focusing on cleaning up its game, getting some much needed rest and preparing for the Cowboys.

“I think we made some headway,” said K-State head coach Bill Snyder when asked about the bye week. “We wanted to get some rest and I think that’s what we accomplished. We got a little healthier, and I think some of the bumps and bruises have healed a little. We put a great deal of attention on some of the issues that we’ve had, the areas that we needed to improve, and I think a substantial amount of improvement has been made in those areas.”

The Wildcats’ toughest opponent to date, Oklahoma State enters tomorrow’s matchup coming off a 30-27 comeback win at Texas last Saturday.

Oklahoma State boasts the Big 12 Conference’s top-ranked defense giving up an average of just 299.8 total yards per game. The Cowboys also have the Big 12’s current leading sacker and leading tackler in Emmanuel Ogbah (5.5 sacks) and Jordan Sterns (40 tackles).

Similar to the atmosphere in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Boone Pickens Stadium is among the league’s toughest venues to play. Overall, Oklahoma State holds a 20-8 record over K-State in games played in Stillwater; the Cats haven’t won at Boone Pickens Stadium since the 1999 season.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult,” said junior quarterback Joe Hubener. “It’s obviously a tough place to play, and we haven’t won there the last few times we’ve played them. We want to end that streak this week.”

Tomorrow’s game will be a tough one; K-State will be put to the test – there is no doubt about it.

But looking ahead, the team’s road doesn’t get any easier.

Four of the Wildcats’ next five opponents – No. 20 Oklahoma State, No. 4 TCU, No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 5 Baylor – are currently ranked in both major polls.

And as usual in this league, the upcoming Big 12 schedule is a daunting one.

“I know the schedule. I know that we have a tough road ahead of us,” said junior linebacker Will Davis. “But that’s the Big 12. Every team is tough, you have to bring you’re ‘A’ game every week or you’re going to go home unhappy. Especially this week with Oklahoma State – they’re a talented football team, a highly ranked team.

“It’s going to be a battle each and every week.”

However, luckily for K-State, the Wildcats have a battle-tested (and hall of fame) coach who holds the key to tackling schedules like these.

“We are not looking to how many road games we have and what the next four or five ball games look like. If we are thinking about that, then we are going to have some real trouble this weekend,” said Snyder. “It is just a matter of being factual with the things that we have to do. The quality of opponent, obviously, gets better now that we are out of the non-conference schedule, and we understand that; we have known that for a long time. But, the rest of it is just really centered on our preparation for Oklahoma State.

“Once you get between the white lines, if you can just pay attention to what you need to pay attention to, you do become oblivious to certain things.”

Tomorrow afternoon Bill Snyder will be oblivious to rankings, to others’ opinions, to the next few games on his schedule and to the stadium his team is playing in.

Rather, just like every week, he’ll be focused solely on the task at hand.

Tomorrow afternoon’s game will be aired nationally on FOX Sports 1, and can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sideline) on the call.

For game notes and more on K-State’s Big 12 opening game, please click here.

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 Kelly McHugh-Stewart or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.