Postgame Thoughts and Player Ratings: Kansas State 74, Oklahoma State 71

Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 74-71 victory against Oklahoma State on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum:

1. This is the type of win that has lasting implications.
Before Saturday, K-State was still fighting for respect in some circles. Even after a perfect December, it was unranked and left out of most NCAA Tournament projections. That is about to change. The Wildcats will almost certainly break into the national polls on Monday. And who could predict them to miss the NCAA Tournament at this exact moment? Their RPI is down to No. 53 after hovering in the high 80s, and they own victories over four quality opponents. K-State is also back in the mix to defend its Big 12 title. A year ago, it defeated Oklahoma State in its conference opener and rode that momentum to a memorable season. The Big 12 is much stronger this year, so there is no guarantee it will happen again. But a win over Oklahoma State puts it in the discussion.
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K-State Q&A: NCAA Tournament chances, keys to beating Oklahoma State and the football season that was

We’ve got a loaded K-State Q&A today, so let’s jump right into your questions.

Thanks, as always, for asking them.

Maybe I’m a bit on the optimistic side, considering the latest Bracketology doesn’t even list K-State on the bubble, but I think K-State has a great shot (maybe 70 percent) of making the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have won eight in a row and they have victories over Mississippi, George Washington and Gonzaga. They are a good basketball team.

I understand that early loss to Northern Colorado will haunt them all year and that their RPI is in the high 80s, but a winning record in conference play should be enough to get them in. The Big 12 is surprisingly a beast of a basketball conference this season. Simply playing league games will boost K-State’s RPI.

There’s certainly no guarantee that K-State can go 10-8 or better in the Big 12, but it’s possible the way Marcus Foster and Jevon Thomas are playing. The key may be beating teams like Texas Tech, TCU and West Virginia. The Wildcats have no room for error. They need to sweep those games, split with teams like Texas and Oklahoma and try to knock off Kansas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Baylor wherever they can.
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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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Kansas State hardly alone in waiting to announce a starting quarterback

Whenever Kansas State has a preseason quarterback competition, Bill Snyder prefers to wait until the opening game is a few days away to announce a starter.

That is once again the plan leading up to this season. Snyder will likely announce a winner between Jake Waters and Daniel Sams at the beginning of next week. Traditionally, he waits until Tuesday.

The routine isn’t new. How it compares to other quarterback announcements across the Big 12 is. This year, Snyder may reveal his starting quarterback before a handful of his fellow Big 12 coaches.

As of Wednesday morning, only four Big 12 teams (Texas, Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State) know who their starting quarterback will be for Week 1. Six quarterback battles remain ongoing. Most of them will likely end in the next few days, but at least two will continue up until opening kickoff. Both TCU’s Gary Patterson and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy have said they won’t announce a starter before gameday.

The way Patterson talks, he might not release an official depth chart until his team takes the field for warm-ups against LSU.
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Kansas State football will benefit from a home-heavy, travel-friendly schedule

If you have access to a car, you can easily attend all 12 of Kansas State’s football games this season.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe just how travel-friendly the Wildcats’ schedule will be this year.

It features eight home games and only three trips across state lines. And it is one of the main reasons many believe K-State will exceed preseason expectations, which have the Wildcats qualifying for a middle-tier bowl and finishing sixth in the Big 12 standings.

Let’s take a closer look at the schedule perks: K-State will benefit from five conference home games, as opposed to four last year, and play all three of its nonconference games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

K-State hasn’t played eight home games since 2006, when Ron Prince had his lone winning season and the Wildcats reached the Texas Bowl. The last time it happened during the Snyder era was 2002, when the Wildcats won 11 games and beat Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.

This is the type of schedule Snyder prefers. He has been building toward it since he returned to the sidelines in 2009 and only played six home games in his first two seasons back.
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Fiesta Bowl Countdown: Oregon’s offense reminds K-State of Baylor

Kansas State safety Jarard Milo was asked to compare Oregon to a team he faced this season in the Big 12.

It didn’t take him long to answer.

“When we look at their film we kind of see Baylor,” Milo said. “We also see of the other teams we faced. They have a very fast-paced offense. They have good players, too, but when we look at them we see some of the other teams we have gone against.”

Preparing for a juggernaut offense is nothing new for the Wildcats. That’s part of life in the Big 12. Earlier this season, West Virginia looked so unstoppable behind Geno Smith that Bill Snyder joked his gameplan centered on him being kidnapped. Texas Tech throws the ball as well as anyone. Oklahoma State churned out yards despite three quarterbacks this year. And Baylor became an offensive force behind Nick Florence and Lache Seastrunk.

K-State fared well against most of that competition. It made West Virginia look bad, dominated Texas Tech and only needed Collin Klein for 35 minutes against Oklahoma State. But Baylor got the best of the Wildcats.

The Bears wasted no time between plays, rushing to the line and snapping the ball every few seconds (just like Oregon), and took advantage of Ty Zimmerman’s injury. Baylor threw deep, ran effectively and handed the Wildcats their only loss.

That could mean bad news for K-State in the Fiesta Bowl, but Milo thinks the defense learned a lot from that game.

“They have a good offense, but we aren’t going to get nervous about it,” Milo said. “A lot of the things they do are similar to some of the other teams we’ve already seen. With their spread offense, we are used to that.”
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Semi Ojeleye creates buzz after big game

If you didn’t know Semi Ojeleye scored 50 points in a high school basketball game earlier this week, you need to pay closer attention. Seriously, it was all over the Internet.

But if this is the first you’re hearing about it, here’s the skinny: Ojeleye, a 6-foot-6 junior small forward out of Ottawa who is the brother of Kansas State senior Victor Ojeleye, hit eight three-pointers, made all 10 of his free throws and scored a career-high 50 points during a 103-70 win over Spring Hill.

“I started off the game making my first three or four shots,” Ojeleye said. “My teammates did a good job of finding me. We moved the ball really well. I got into a good rhythm and everything just came together for me.”

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith was reportedly in attendance for Ojeleye’s big game, but college coaches everywhere heard about it. They were already paying attention. Ojeleye says he has scholarship offers from K-State, Wisconsin, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Northwestern, Nebraska, Marquette and Missouri.

With more 50-point efforts, that list will surely grow. But he’s trying not to think about that at the moment.

“A lot of people have been telling me, ‘Good game’ lately,” Ojeleye said. “I’m just trying to stay humble, be positive and stay thankful.”
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Looking ahead to gameday: at Oklahoma State

Editor’s note: In preparation of the upcoming football season, K-Stated will look ahead to all 12 games on the Wildcats’ 2011 schedule. Next up, Oklahoma.

If any team in the Big 12 can seriously challenge Oklahoma for a conference championship this season, Oklahoma State is that team.

The Cowboys return an enormous amount of talent on offense (Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden, Joseph Randle and five starters from last year’s offensive line) and get to play the Sooners at home in the final game of the season. They enter the season as a top 10 team.

Because of that combination, some will say expectations have never been higher in Stillwater.

The Cowboys’ schedule will be difficult, though. Before facing Oklahoma at home, they must travel to Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Texas Tech. On Nov. 12, the will also face Kansas State at home.
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Postgame: OSU 24, K-State 14


A week ago, 42 points seemed like all the Kansas State football team would need to defeat Baylor. Yesterday, holding Oklahoma State to 24 points seemed like all the defense it would need to hand the Cowboys a loss.

As it turned out, neither scenario led to a Wildcats win.

One week, the offense is good and the defense is bad. The next week, the offense sputters and the defense delivers. Clearly, K-State needs both to win games. Here’s a deeper look:
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Gameday Preview: OSU at K-State


Two surging offenses are about to encounter two struggling defenses.

That means those headed to Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday can expect a shootout.

Kendall Hunter will be going up against Daniel Thomas. Carson Coffman and his suddenly efficient arm will be challenged to outplay Brandon Weeden. And Oklahoma State’s wide receivers will be asked to fill in for the suspended Justin Blackmon.

With Kansas State and Oklahoma State’s defenses ranked 100th and 97th in the nation, respectively, forcing punts should mean more than usual. Turnovers will feel like touchdowns. The objective in this game is simple: Score.
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