Monthly Archives: November 2013

Blake Slaughter helped bring the Governor’s Cup back to Kansas State as a freshman. He is focused on keeping it there as a senior

Kansas State has won four straight Sunflower Showdowns, so very few active players know what it feels like to walk by an empty trophy case on their way through the lobby of the Vanier Football Complex.

But senior linebacker Blake Slaughter, who made the unusual decision to redshirt last season so he could be a major contributor in his fifth year, does.

As a freshman in 2009, he was part of the team that ended a three-game losing streak to Kansas with a 17-10 victory.

He helped bring the Governor’s Cup back to Manhattan, and it hasn’t left since. He hasn’t forgotten the significance of that victory.

“I remember it being special for that team, because of the struggles it had gone through and how hard that season had been,” Slaughter said. “I remember that being a turning point for our team and our defense. It was special.

“We hadn’t had it the three years before that. That was huge, being on your own turf with so many guys from Kansas, you definitely wanted that win for the guys who live here.”
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The Week Ahead: Sunflower Showdown continues to be a rivalry of streaks

Sunflower Showdown? More like Sunflower Beatdown.

Kansas State has won four straight football games against Kansas by a combined score of 191-54. Bill Snyder has owned this rivalry since he came out of retirement before the 2009 season. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Though K-State has won 16 of 20 in the series, it has won 15 of 16 with Snyder as coach.

Former KU coach Mark Mangino reeled off three straight against Ron Prince, but he only beat Snyder once, in 2004. K-State blew away Kansas twice when Turner Gill was its coach. Charlie Weis lost 56-16 in his introduction to the series last year.

There is a reason why K-State is favored by 17 points on the road this week.

What makes the Sunflower Showdown unique is that things get reversed during basketball season. Kansas has won five straight and 47 of 50 on the hardwood. Year in and year out, this is a predictable rivalry.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: Oklahoma 41, K-State 31

A look back at Oklahoma’s 41-31 victory over Kansas State:


1. This game showed the importance of a balanced offense.
Tyler Lockett didn’t just play the game of his life. With 440 all-purpose yards, 278 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, he played the finest game of any K-State receiver … Ever. When he went off in the second quarter, catching touchdown passes of 48, 30 and 90 yards, the Wildcats looked unstoppable. But when Oklahoma adjusted and put top cornerback Aaron Colvin on him in the second half, K-State couldn’t adjust back. Jake Waters threw two devastating interceptions, while Daniel Sams and John Hubert were essentially bystanders. Sams attempted three runs and no passes. Hubert touched the ball nine times. K-State rushed for 24 yards.

The Wildcats didn’t have a balanced offense, and, much like a loss at Texas when Lockett went crazy for 237 receiving yards while the rest of the offense was quiet, they lost by double-digits. Oklahoma, meanwhile, ran for 301 yards and threw for 171 yards. That balance kept K-State’s defense guessing. That was the difference in this game.
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Football Friday: Previewing Oklahoma and examining three early basketball losses

It’s time for another Football Friday. Who else is excited?

Before I get to your questions, I have an interesting K-State football stat to pass along.

If you add up the records of the four teams K-State has lost to (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas and North Dakota State) you are left with a sparkling mark of 35-4. If you add up the records of the six teams K-State has defeated (Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State, TCU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Massachusetts) you get a not-so-sparkling record of 25-38.

That places a little extra meaning on K-State’s upcoming game against Oklahoma. Wile there is absolutely no shame to losing to four teams with four combined losses, the Wildcats have only beaten two teams with winning records. The Sooners, at 8-2, could be the third.

I am expecting a close game with home field potentially playing a key role. My prediction is K-State 28, Oklahoma 27.

Anyway, onto your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Though Oklahoma will be without three players on offense (QB Blake Bell, RB Damien Williams and WR Lacoltan Bester) and K-State will be down one player on defense (Zimmerman) I think the Wildcats face the more difficult transition. Zimmerman is the leader of K-State’s defense and the eyes and ears of its secondary, always helping his teammates line up in the correct spot and formation. He has been playing at a very high level recently and K-State struggled in its first game without him last year. Oklahoma, meanwhile, would have probably played Trevor Knight at quarterback anyway. He was great against Iowa State. And Brennan Clay is the team’s leading rusher. Not Williams. I’m sure the Sooners have other receivers who can fill in for Bester. That being said, Oklahoma rarely tries to beat defenses deep. The losses might be about even.
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Reports: Oklahoma will be down three offensive starters against Kansas State

News out of Oklahoma is not good for the Sooners today.

Blake Bell, Damien Williams and Lacoltan Bester — three regular starters — will miss Saturday’s game against Kansas State, according to multiple media outlets.

Bell, a Wichita native who has served as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback for eight straight games, has been ruled out with a concussion. The Oklahoman, citing a source, reports that Trevor Knight, a freshman who opened the season as the starter, will take the first snap against K-State. Kendal Thompson will be the backup. He played last week during a win over Iowa State and may see some time as a change-of-pace option this weekend.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said earlier this week he was unsure whether Bell would be healthy enough to play against K-State. So his absence is no big surprise. Stoops also said he would wait until Saturday morning to name a starting quarterback. But it appears Knight is the guy.

Williams, a senior running back, and Bester, a senior receiver, will not play for unspecified reasons. reported Wednesday morning that both players will sit against K-State, according to a source, but didn’t explain why.
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The Week Ahead: Kansas State hosts Oklahoma, tries for fifth-straight victory

Baylor and Oklahoma State are the two hottest teams in the Big 12, but Kansas State isn’t far behind.

The Wildcats have won four straight games. They have become bowl eligible after a 2-4 start. And they are now four-point favorites over the No. 22 Oklahoma Sooners.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: Kansas State 33, TCU 31

A look back at Kansas State’s wild 33-31 victory over TCU:


1. Tyler Lockett is matchup proof.
This is a term fantasy football experts use to describe the best wide receivers in the NFL. They are so good that you can count on them putting up big numbers every game, even against talented cornerbacks. Lockett proved he was matchup proof on Saturday by grabbing eight passes for 123 yards and a touchdown against Jason Verrett, the best cornerback in the Big 12. He did most of his damage on a beautiful stop-and-go route, in which he convinced Verrett he was coming back for the ball and then turned up field for a 74-yard touchdown. Jake Waters also found Tramaine Thompson for a 79-yard touchdown in the first half. So K-State had a big day against TCU’s strong secondary.

Lockett, though, was the main reason why.

“What more can you say,” Waters said. “He is going up against one of the best cornerbacks in the country one-on-one and he got open. When you have a receiver like Tyler you want to get the ball to him no matter who is guarding him.”
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Football Friday: TCU’s strong defense, Kansas State’s successful walk-on program and small crowds at Bramlage Coliseum

It’s time for another Football Friday. Who else is excited? Let’s get to your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

There’s no easy way to attack TCU’s defense. The Horned Frogs rank 19th nationally against the run (125.2 yards) and 10th nationally against the pass (224.2 yards). Verrett might be the best shutdown corner in the Big 12, so you don’t want to challenge him. Tyler Lockett will really have to work to get open on Saturday. But you can’t exactly run the ball 45 times against a stacked front seven, either. This is the best defense K-State will see all year. Nothing will come easy. My guess is K-State will favor the run, because John Hubert has been on a tear lately and Daniel Sams can create something out of nothing on the ground. But the Wildcats will try to stay as balanced as possible. If they can complete passes over the middle to Curry Sexton, Tramaine Thompson and Kyle Klein that could open up other things.
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The Week Ahead: Kansas State prepares for TCU and its strong defense

Kansas State is a rapidly improving football team. It is also a red-hot football team. The Wildcats have won three straight blowouts and are now within one victory of becoming bowl eligible.

They will try to keep their winning streak going against TCU on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium. The oddsmakers have labeled them as 10-point favorites, and if they continue to play the way they have recently they could easily win by double digits. Then again, the game could be a challenge. TCU is unlike most teams in the Big 12. Its offense isn’t anything special. But its defense is among the nation’s best.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Sunday Rewind: K-State 49, Texas Tech 26

A look back at Kansas State’s most dominant game of the season, a 49-26 road victory over Texas Tech:


1. Kansas State could finish the regular season on a six-game winning streak.
After a 2-4 start even the most optimistic of K-State fans couldn’t envision the Wildcats ending with anything better than a 7-5 record, but after three straight blowout victories an 8-4 finish is now on the table. K-State will be favored against TCU and Kansas and it might be favored against Oklahoma. Bill Snyder’s team looked flat-out impressive on Saturday, pummeling a ranked team on the road in front of more than 54,000 fans. It won’t be easy, but if the Wildcats keep executing the way they recently have there is no reason why they can’t win their final three games and head into the postseason the same way Baylor did last year.
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