Tuesday's in Vanier | A Look at Week Four
The upcoming matchup between No. 20 K-State and No. 5 Auburn in Bill Snyder Family Stadium is among the biggest non-conference matchups Manhattan, Kansas, has ever seen. Auburn is the highest ranked non-conference opponent to travel to the Little Apple since the Wildcats faced then-No. 2 Penn State in 1969, and the Tigers are only the second nationally-ranked non-conference opponent Bill Snyder has faced in his 23 years as head coach (the first was then-No. 11 USC in 2002).
Here's a look inside what was discussed at yesterday's press conference leading up to tomorrow evening's game:
COACH BILL SNYDER
While the excitement surrounding Thursday's game may be felt in every corner of Manhattan, in K-State football head coach Bill Snyder's office, that's just not the case. Taking this week's game just like any other game and looking at Auburn like any other opponent, Snyder said he looks past the hype and simply at the task at hand.
"This (game) isn't the season. Thursday night is not the season. Thursday night is another game and it's the most valuable game that we will play so far this season, but then the following week will be the most important game that we will play over the course of the season," explained Snyder. "It's just a step at a time and I never tried to make it any different than that."
The Tigers' versatile offense will be led by quarterback Nick Marshall. Marshall led Auburn to its SEC Championship last year and is only the third player in Auburn history to throw for both 2,000-plus yards and rush for 1,000-plus yards throughout his career. When asked who Marshall reminded him of, Snyder used names of K-State greats Ell Roberson (2000-03) and Michael Bishop (1997-98). No stranger to the play of Marshall, Snyder took interest in the talented quarterback during his years at Garden City Community College (2011-12) before Marshall committed to Auburn.
"He's a talented young guy and he can do both, he can throw the ball and he can run it," said Snyder. "His numbers indicate exactly that, they say that it's a team that likes to run the football, that's their first emphasis, but they'll throw the ball and they'll try and cast it downfield, he has the ability to do that, he has a strong arm."
With Marshall at the reigns, the Auburn offense will, no doubt, be among the toughest offenses K-State will face this season. Yet while its offense will post a challenge, so will the Tigers' defense.
"They're physical and they're fast," Snyder said. "They're fast, physical and quick with their front people. They make it a very physical game and I would anticipate that's what we'll see."
Overall, Snyder said he knows if his team prepares well this week - which he noted he has seen so far - they will come out ready to play on Thursday evening in front of a sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
"To me things get blown out of proportion, what (this game) is to us is that we get better and that we prepare ourselves as well as we can," said Snyder. "Any football coach in the country wants their players to honestly believe that they will win and can win, and I want our players to do exactly the same thing with the understanding that you have to do certain things to win...but I think our guys are focused at the task at hand. If you ask them, probably what they would say is they're anxious to play, and I like to think that that anxiousness is really excitement to play."
FROM THE PLAYERS
Thursday's game is the type of game K-State football players dreamed about as kids.
Primetime on ESPN, a sold-out crowd under the bright stadium lights, a big-time, ranked opponent - it was games like these that kept these football players up at night thinking about football.
"When you watch these games on TV and you're little, you're thinking, 'Man this is big deal,'" said senior linebacker Jonathan Truman. "So being a part of it now is really special. We're just excited to get it going."
While the players are focused and try not to buy into the hype surrounding the upcoming game, there's still a part of them - perhaps it's the kid in them - that looks at opportunities like Thursday night with excitement.
"I'm just getting so excited, so anxious to go out and play knowing the type of environment, they type of game and the type of challenge it's going to be," said senior quarterback Jake Waters. "That's the stuff you live for as a player, and growing up, you dreamed about games like this in your bed before you go to sleep. We're just so excited and we can't wait to play."
Along with Waters and Truman, junior offensive lineman Boston Stiverson and sophomore wide receiver Deante Burton also agree these are the games they imagined themselves playing in when they were young.
"I'm really excited for this game - a Thursday game, the SEC, ESPN - as a kid you want these opportunities," said Stiverson, "and now it's here, so we've just got to step up and play to our best advantage."
"This is what you look forward to when you start playing the game," said Burton. "Especially when you're younger (you look forward to) playing on a big stage like this. It'll be all eyes on us and it's definitely something we've dreamed about."
EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT THURSDAY FROM K-STATE ATHLETICS
- Fans Encouraged to Arrive Early for Auburn Game
With a sellout crowd of more than 50,000 descending upon Manhattan for Thursday night's nationally televised football showdown against No. 5 Auburn, fans are asked to arrive as early as possible for the 6:30 p.m., kickoff to ease traffic congestion in the Manhattan area and around Bill Snyder Family Stadium...Click here to continue reading.
- You can click here to read K-State athletics director John Currie's letter to Wildcat Fans with tips and reminders before Thursday evening's game.
- To check out stadium information, ticket information, team stats and more you can visit http://www.kstatesports.com/gameday/ for all your game day needs.