SE: Rested Wildcats Return to Action

Collin Klein

Nov. 30, 2011

By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra

Bill Snyder hopes the trend will continue Saturday when the refreshed Wildcats wrap up regular-season play with Iowa State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

During the Snyder years, K-State has had 17 previous bye weeks with the Wildcats going 12-5 coming off a week of rest. One of those came earlier this season when after surviving a 10-7 scare to Eastern Kentucky, the `Cats thrashed Kent State, 37-0.

Since then K-State has played on nine successive Saturdays prior to having last week off.

"I know it was needed rest, but what kind of impact it will have remains to be seen," said the Wildcat coach in reference to Saturday's 11:30 a.m. kickoff on Fox Sports Net.

For certain there is plenty on K-State's plate to serve as motivation.

With a K-State win and an Oklahoma upset of Oklahoma State, K-State would gain a three-way share of the Big 12 championship.

With a K-State win would come a likely invitation to a major bowl game with the Sugar and Cotton postseason experiences being in that conversation.

With a K-State win would come the eighth season of at least 10 wins under Snyder.

"I would think that it's significant to them. I would be hard pressed to think that it wasn't," said the Wildcat coach. "They understand the implications of this ballgame and I think they deem those things important and are working toward the most favorable end that's available to them."

But when it comes to bowl talk, Snyder is leaving that to the K-State fans.

"I'm not, no," answered Snyder when asked if he was personally tracking the bowl possibilities. "If you talk to the players, I'm sure they're reading what's being put out there, but I'm not."

While the break was timely, another part of Snyder likely wanted to keep playing during a season when seven of the Purple wins have come by seven points or less.

To that fact, Snyder said of the ultra-close wins, "I think it represents the fact that they have a belief and confidence in each other. That they are competitive, that they have a mental toughness that allows them not to give in in trying times. It's a perseverance-type thing."

Never before in K-State history has a Wildcat team played in as many seven-point games, or less (eight), and never before has a Wildcat team won as many seven-point games, or less, (seven), in a single season.

Snyder continued of the 22-man senior class, and overall roster, "There's a trust in each other. Teammates are lined up next to one another knowing the guy to the right and to the left will not give up. That helps allow them to keep fighting."

If nothing else, the week off was needed for Collin Klein, who has not been able to practice prior to the previous two games, but played on Saturday.

"It had to have an impact," Snyder said on whether Klein's down time affected K-State's play. But he added, "He handled it better than anticipated."

The Wildcats are coming off an offensive performance that saw them gain just eight first downs and 121 total yards against Texas when K-State found a way to a 17-13 victory.

Asked about what he told his offense since then, Snyder quipped, "I told them I was going to take them all off scholarship."

He then added, "There are no excuses for them. They understand their issues and they've gone to work to rectify those. It tells you of their mental toughness and perseverance."

Game 1 - K-State 10, Eastern Kentucky 7 - K-State scores 10 points in the fourth quarter, and not the winning points until the 1:39 mark on a 33-yard TD strike to Chris Harper. Defensive stars: Team defense that allowed just 129 yards.

Game 3 - K-State 28, Miami 24 - A video replay nullifies a go-ahead touchdown by the Hurricanes in the final minute of play. K-State fumbled four times, but did not lose any of them. Defensive stars: Team defense that made a four-play goal-line stand in the final minute of the game with Tre Walker making the final stop.

Game 4 - K-State 36, Baylor 35 - K-State scores the final 10 points in the last 5:43, which included Cantele's game-winning 31-yard field goal. BU had 73 more yards of offense. Defensive stars: Arthur Brown's interception set up the game-winning field goal.

Game 5 - K-State 24, Missouri 17 - In this one K-State led 24-3, but then had to hold off a Tiger rally that had Mizzou scoring the final 14 points in the game. The Tigers had 40 more yards of offense. Defensive stars: Ty Zimmerman picked up an interception.

Game 6 - K-State 41, Texas Tech 34 - The Red Raiders had 580 yards of offense to the Wildcats' 339, but K-State won the turnover department 4-0. It marked the fourth game where K-State came from behind to win. Special teams star: Tyler Lockett, 100-yard kickoff return.

Game 9 - Oklahoma State 52, K-State 45 - The Wildcats played the No. 3 team in the nation down to the final play of the game. K-State came from 14 points down in the first half and 10 down in the second half to take the game the entire 60 minutes to decide. Defensive star: Allen Chapman had an interception return for a touchdown; Special Teams star: Lockett had 193 yards of kickoff returns.

Game 10 - K-State 53, Texas A&M 50 4 OTs - K-State never led in regulation play and came from behind a total of five times to secure its first ever overtime victory. Cantele hit on a 41-yard field goal with 2:12 left in regulation to send the game into OT when a total of 41 points per scored. A&M had 71 more yards than K-State, but won the turnover count, 3-1. Special teams star: Cantele had 11 kicking points.

Game 11 - K-State 17, Texas 13 - K-State is out-gained 310-121, but the defense made plays when it had to even while allowing the Longhorns to score the final 10 points in the game. It was another game that went down to the absolute last play of the game. Defensive stars: Tyson Hartman and Emmanuel Lamur with interceptions.

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