John Currie explains why K-State benefits from occasional Thursday football games

The wait is over. This afternoon, Kansas State announced that it will play Auburn on Sept. 18, a Thursday, next season. With that, the Wildcats’ 2014 football schedule is finally set.

K-State had been waiting on ESPN, which will televise the Auburn game nationally, for a decision on the date of the game.

When asked in December about the possibility of moving the Auburn game to a Thursday, Wildcats football coach Bill Snyder had this to say: “It’s the last thing in the world I want to do.”

Weekday games are always met with mixed reactions in Manhattan. While some are excited about playing in front of a large audience, others complain of inconveniences such as rushing to the game after work.

On Monday, K-State athletic director John Currie explained why he supports (occasionally) playing football games on Thursday in a letter to fans.

From the letter:
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The Week Ahead: Kansas State looking for confidence-boosting win vs. West Virginia

Kansas State’s hopes of a second-half turnaround begin on Saturday against West Virginia.

The first half of the season didn’t go the way Kansas State hoped it would.

First came an unexpected loss to North Dakota State. Next came narrow defeats against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. The result is a 2-4 overall record and three-straight losses in Big 12.

With a favorable closing schedule, the Wildcats are hoping for a stronger second half and another trip to a bowl game. Both certainly seem possible. They have the look of an improving football team (fourth-quarter leads over ranked teams in back-to-back games and solid defensive numbers) but they need to learn how to win close games.

The journey begins on Saturday against West Virginia, a team that has looked excellent at home and shaky on the road.

Here is a look at that and everything else you need to know about the week ahead:
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Football Friday: Can Kansas State go 7-5?

It’s time for another Football Friday. Thanks again for all the questions. Let’s get right to them:


I think K-State’s final record will be 6-6. This is a team that has held a fourth-quarter lead in five of its games. This is a team that came close to pulling off upsets against ranked teams in back-to-back weeks. This is a team that isn’t far away from 4-2 or even 5-1. I think the Wildcats are getting better and will finish the season much stronger than they started it.

But they also haven’t won a close game yet, which is sometimes the hardest thing for young teams to learn how to do. So it’s not like a bowl game is assured. Best case, I see the Wildcats finishing 7-5. Worst case, I see 4-8.

Anything could happen. For fun, let’s breakdown the remaining schedule.
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Sunday Rewind: Baylor 35, Kansas State 25


The regular season has reached the halfway point for Kansas State, and the Wildcats sit at 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12 play. That is a thoroughly disappointing start for a team that was upset about being picked sixth in the preseason conference poll and has possessed a fourth-quarter lead in five of its games.

Losing close is clearly frustrating to this group. Each loss has come in slightly different ways. The defense couldn’t get off the field against North Dakota State. A horrible start doomed K-State at Texas. Fourth-quarter turnovers hurt K-State at Oklahoma State. And a missed field goal and another interception cost K-State the game against Baylor.

After Saturday’s 35-25 loss, I asked several players if they had spotted a common thread in those losses.

“We had the game in our hands and just coughed it up,” quarterback Jake Waters said. “I had fumbles at Texas. Daniel (Sams) had some picks (against Oklahoma State) and made some mistakes too. We just have to figure out how to win at the end. We will. We have some great players on this team.”

“I’ve got to finish,” Sams said. “Coach (Bill) Snyder says we all make mistakes, but the type of player I am I put this on me. I’ve got to finish.”

“Anytime you get a lead you just can’t get comfortable,” added receiver Curry Sexton. “You have to put your foot down. If you’ve got a lead in the fourth quarter you have got to find a way to kill the clock, take the ball and go down and score and put the ballgame away. that’s something we haven’t done this year. It’s something we have to learn how to do. I don’t know what it takes, but we will find a way. Hopefully you won’t see us losing anymore tight games in the fourth quarter, because that’s not what we do.”

And with that, here is a look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
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Football Friday: Tre Walker, John Hubert, a schedule switch and Bill Snyder in a visor

Kansas State takes on Massachusetts at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

That means it’s time for another Football Friday.

The Wildcats are favored by 39 and should win easy. They will play two quarterbacks. Backups should see time in the second half.

That’s all the introduction we need. Let’s get to your questions:


Many have second-guessed the timing of the North Dakota State game. Looking back, I’m sure K-State would have preferred to open with someone else. The Bison, despite their affiliation with the FCS, were the strongest nonconference opponent on K-State’s schedule. UMass would have been a much softer opening opponent. In an ideal world, K-State would have switched those games and be preparing to face North Dakota State as we speak. But those dates are planned years in advance. That being said, I think the Wildcats would probably beat the Bison if they played now. They generally start slow (barely beating Eastern Kentucky and UMass in past openers) and improve with each week. But it would still be a difficult game. North Dakota State is a fine football team that out-played K-State three weeks ago. One computer poll ranked it 35th at the end of last season, and a senior-laden roster returned. That team is dangerous. It would have been a competitive game regardless of when it was played.
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TCU quarterback caught wearing Kansas State sleeve during game vs. Texas Tech

If you look closely at Trevone Boykin’s wrist, you can see a K-State logo. (photo credit: Dave Smoller)

Kansas State football apparel has apparently become so popular that other Big 12 teams are now sporting the powercat during games.

Several K-State fans caught TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin wearing a K-State arm sleeve while playing against Texas Tech last night and flooded social media with screen grabs of the uniform snafu.

It is hard to spot from a distance. Both TCU and K-State wear purple, so the purple-and-white sleeve doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But look close and you can definitely see powercat logo.

And you probably thought the strangest thing about last night’s game was a fox running loose on the field.


Have a comment or future story idea for K-Stated?
E-mail: krobinett@wichitaeagle.com
Twitter: @KellisRobinett

Bill Snyder’s latest hand-written note is well-received at North Dakota State

Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder loves to write notes, and his latest one was a classy gesture that is now being shared across the Internet.

Following a loss to North Dakota State, Snyder mailed the following letter to Bison quarterback Brock Jensen. Apologies if you’ve already seen it.


On Monday, Snyder was asked about the note.

His reply: “I do it after virtually every ballgame.”

Sunday Rewind: K-State 48, Louisiana 27


It was an up-and-down game for Kansas State. The Wildcats raced to a 34-3 lead early in the second half, but had to hang on in the fourth quarter after Louisiana-Lafayette pulled to within 14.

The result was much better than a week ago, and players think it was a step in the right direction. There was a lot to like. With lowly Massachusetts up next, K-State will almost certainly enter Big 12 play at 2-1.

Question is: can it become a more consistent team by then? K-State played poorly at times on Saturday, so there is plenty of room for improvement. As Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudpseth pointed out afterward: If you take away the three touchdowns that came on special teams and defense, it was a fairly even game. The Wildcats should remain motivated during practice this week.

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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Glenn Gronkowski is K-State’s new fullback, and he couldn’t be more excited about it

Glenn Gronkowski is an intriguing football player. Everyone recognizes his last name, he has a famous family and he is now Kansas State’s starting fullback as a redshirt freshman.

He is also refreshingly honest.

Case in point: his answer to a question about how much he has learned since arriving in Manhattan and spending a year on the sidelines.

“To be truthful, I wasn’t really paying attention that first year, because I knew I was going to redshirt,” Gronkowski said. “But this last year I have been in and out of this place a lot, watching film, meeting with the coaches as much as I could, learning the playbook and getting it down.”

It shows. Gronkowski began improving the moment he switched gears and realized he could take over for former fullback Braden Wilson in K-State’s backfield. Coaches had nothing but good things to say about him during Fiesta Bowl practices, and Gronkowski had a big spring game.
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