SE: K-State Pride is Evident

Collin Klein

Jan. 9, 2012

By Mark Janssen

This final postcard on the Cotton Bowl really is coming from back home in Manhattan as a recap on some of my thoughts and observations, plus cleaning out some unused tidbits from the ‘Big D.’
With my role over the last three years changing from a sportswriter for nearly 40 years, to today’s in-house writer for the Wildcats, what I see, and how I see it, has changed a bit.
To me, what stood out on the trip was a huge dose of Wildcat pride in so many, many areas.
• Chatting with KSU semi-driver John Brown, with passion he said it was a goal of his to have bowl decals stretching from one end of his silver trailer to the other. And looking at the care he took with his rig, nothing in Dallas shined brighter.
• There were the 15,000-plus K-Staters showing up for the pep rally that even caught the attention of Hall of Famer and Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan, who said, “I thought this was supposed to just be a small deal.”
• With $75 million worth of pride, President Kirk Schulz and AD John Currie unveiled K-State’s new West Stadium Center.
• One-by-one K-State’s dignitary took their turn speaking to the crowd with K-State Alumni Association President Amy Button Renz speaking for all when she said, “I have the greatest job in the world.”
• It was Collin Klein, before the loss and after the defeat, giving his thanks to God and how proud he was to be a member of the K-State family.
• And, there was Dr. Russell Hardin, who was one of 60 or so Golden Cats treated to a luncheon on Friday. Hardin is 92 years young and had made the trip from Florida. Wearing his worn Wildcat letter jacket from mid-1940s, Hardin admitted that he was a “nothing” as a player. But to the room filled with ex-Cats, tears streamed down his weathered cheeks as he explained how as an Indiana farm boy he always wanted to be a vet, and Kansas State answered that dream. And while not much of a 150-pound lineman on losing Wildcat football teams, it was K-State that gave him the opportunity to play. Friday, nearly 70 years later, he openly wept with Wildcat pride.
WHERE KLEIN ENDED UP: At the end of the 13-game season, the numbers say what Collin Klein put up will not be forgotten anytime soon.
• 27 rushing touchdowns, topping the former K-State record by seven and tying Ricky Williams’ all-time Big 12 record.
• 33 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks No. 3 in KSU history.
• 1,141 rushing yards for the year ranking first among all quarterbacks in KSU history and seventh among all Wildcats.
• 5 games rushing for at least 100 yards ranking seventh in KSU history, but first for a quarterback.
• 317 rushing attempts, which rank first in K-State history.
• 3,021 total offensive yards ranking sixth in K-State history.
• 142 points scored ranking first in Wildcat history.

COACH SNYDER’S SUMMARY ON THIS 2011 TEAM: “I have a great appreciation for them. They possess the values we talk about and they’re a determined group with a ‘never give up’ type of attitude and approach to each and every ballgame they play. They try to play snap-after-snap as hard and as well as they possibly can and are not prone to taking plays off. I love the determination they possess, but I also greatly appreciate their willingness to do things a lot of young people in this day and age don’t like to do and don’t want to do. Intercollegiate football takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. You get a chance to step on a field and really do what you love doing 13 times out of the year and yet you’re involved almost 365 days a year trying to prepare yourself for those 13 opportunities. I appreciate the fact that they’re willing to do that without complaining and they understand what they need to do to achieve success over a period of time. They diligently work to do what is the foundation of our program and that is to prepare themselves to get better. I really appreciate them and they are good young guys.”

THE FLIP SIDE OF SNYDER: Asked about having a stretch of highway leading into Manhattan that carries his name, Snyder quipped, “They make me go out on the highway and pick up the trash. I’m the guy who walks with a bag for 20 miles or so.”

We’ll wrap up the 76th Annual AT&T Cotton Bowl with that.

No, the game didn’t have the outcome the Wildcat Nation wanted, but the week was one to remember and that single loss to Arkansas did nothing to take away from the 2011 K-State season that will provide long-lasting memories.

Indeed, it was a season of great pride.