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

BlakeSlaugher
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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Sunday Rewind: Kansas State finds passing groove in 35-12 victory over West Virginia

Kansas State put Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson to good use on Saturday. The Wildcats’ top two receivers combined for four touchdowns.

This was definitely a crossroads game for Kansas State. A loss would have made it very difficult for the Wildcats to keep their spirits up and to reach bowl eligibility. Instead, they pounded West Virginia in the second half for a 35-12 victory and now go into their final five games with momentum.

Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett were back on the field together for the first time in a month. Jake Waters looked like the quarterback who originally won the starting quarterback job in the preseason. And K-State looked like a new team.

Here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Football Friday: Mid-season awards, healthy receivers, a starting 5 and Halloween advice

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

I thought about handing out some mid-season awards as a build-up to the questions this week, but then someone sent along an e-mail asking for a mid-season MVP. So, no intro needed. Let’s get to the questions.


That’s a tough one. It’s hard to name a MVP with K-State off to a 2-4 start, quarterbacks coming in and out and key players suffering injuries. A case could be made for Tyler Lockett, Daniel Sams, Blake Slaughter, Ryan Mueller and maybe even a few others.

I’m inclined to choose Lockett. Even though he has missed two games with a hamstring injury he ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 475 receiving yards and set a single-game program record with 237 receiving yards at Texas. Those numbers are too good to ignore, plus he has developed into a strong leader.

On the defensive side of the ball, I would narrowly choose Mueller over Slaughter. Mueller leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three quarterback hurries. And when he makes a big play, it is highlight worthy.
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Sunday Rewind: Okla. State 33, K-State 29

Kansas State lost another close game at Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Wildcats committed penalties left and right and turned the ball far too often. In the end, they couldn’t overcome those mistakes and lost 33-29.

There will be some soul-searching after this one. The Wildcats feel like they let one slip away, which they couldn’t afford to do after losing to North Dakota State and Texas. Next up is Baylor, a team that appears unstoppable on offense. It will be interesting to see how K-State moves on from another agonizing loss and prepares for the toughest opponent of the season.

And with that, here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Football Friday: How K-State might use Daniel Sams, D-line expectations, potential breakout players and the Arrowhead rumor

Well, here we go. As promised on Twitter, here is the debut of our new weekly mailbag. Hope it is worth the $50 and case of beer I promised Sam Mellinger for copying Twitter Tuesday.

At the moment, the mailbag is called Football Friday. Lame name, I know, but the questions are all about K-State football and it is Friday, so at least it’s accurate. We might change the name later on. We’ll see.

For now, let’s focus on tonight’s game between Kansas State and North Dakota State at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and get to your questions. Just a reminder, if you have a question that is too long for Twitter you can also ask questions via e-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Here we go.


Bill Snyder said Daniel Sams could see as few as five snaps or as many as 50. That’s a huge gap, so the final number will almost certainly end up in the middle. My guess: About 15. It really depends on how well he moves the ball. If Snyder puts him in and he goes three-and-out each time his snap count won’t get very high. If he guides the offense into the end zone, his snaps will rise. I think Jake Waters will end up getting roughly 75 percent of the snaps if he plays well. He was the clear winner of the quarterback competition, and his strong arm might take K-State’s offense in a new direction. He deserves lots of playing time. That being said, Sams is too gifted an athlete to keep him on the bench all night. They will both get meaningful snaps.
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Position Preview: Linebacker


Of all the positions on Kansas State’s football team, the Wildcats should be most improved at linebacker.

By a wide margin.

Instead of rotating between a veteran, two underclassmen and a converted safety at two spots on the field, K-State coaches will have six players with experience at the position to turn to.

With Miami transfer Arthur Brown leading the way in the middle, many expect the Wildcats to be a completely different defense in 2011. His presence allows K-State to switch from a 4-2-5 formation, which hasn’t worked at all against explosive opponents, to a more traditional 4-3.

Along with the return of Alex Hrebec, a senior who is coming off a season in which he made 77 tackles, and Tre Walker, who looked good making 47 tackles as a freshman, K-State should have a solid group of starters. Maybe even a group the defense can lean on.
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New linebackers give K-State depth, options

One of the most important needs of the Kansas State football team in 2011 will be improved play from its linebackers.

The Wildcats were weak on defense a year ago, and a lack of depth and experience at linebacker was a big reason why. Alex Hrebec was the only proven player at the position to start the season, and underclassmen Jarell Childs, Blake Slaughter and Tre Walker all had to play major roles.

That entire group returns this year, along with Emmanuel Lamur, a converted safety, and Arthur Brown, a former high school All-American.

Lamur’s athleticism, Brown’s upside and the rest of the unit’s experience has created hope. K-State coach Bill Snyder already sees improvement.

“The group as a whole, we run better,” Snyder said. “I think we’re probably going to be a little more physical. I think we’re going to be a little bit better defending against the pass, because we’re probably a little more athletic than what we were.”
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