Claremore Daily Progress


December 3, 2013

K-State likely headed to Holiday Bowl

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Nobody was talking about bowl games at Kansas State in mid-October, when the Wildcats were sitting at 2-4 and feeling bruised and battered after a loss to Baylor.

Nobody was giving up on the season, either.

So with the kind of steadfast resolve that has become a hallmark under Bill Snyder, Kansas State flipped the script. The Wildcats ripped off four straight wins to become bowl eligible, and then finished off their regular-season with a 31-10 rout of Kansas on Saturday.

The most likely destination now is the Holiday Bowl, where the Wildcats are 3-0.

''You know, I'm proud of the fact that they've come back,'' Snyder said Saturday, ''that they didn't give into it and move in a different direction.''

It could have easily happened.

There was the disheartening loss to North Dakota State on the same day the school dedicated a massive renovation to the stadium that bears Snyder's name. There was the underwhelming performance at Texas, and the back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor.

None of them were by more than 10 points. But not all of them were close, either.

Yet a team that had to replace nine starters on defense, not to mention Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein at quarterback, somehow managed to turn things around. Part of it had to do with the sagely Snyder, who usually knows how to pull the right strings. But a big part of it had to do with the simple stubbornness that comes from a program that's grown accustomed to success.

''What we can take out of this is we never gave in,'' wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. ''We kept fighting back, fighting back, regardless of the close games we lost. We came back the next game.

''We have a great coaching staff,'' Lockett added, ''and they kept believing in us, and that's all we needed. We just kept pushing and pushing.''

Now, the trick is to finally end a bowl-game losing streak. Kansas State has lost all three that it's played since Snyder returned from a brief retirement, and five straight going all the way back to his first tenure. Ron Prince lost the only bowl game he coached in 2006.

Incidentally, the Wildcats' last victory was in the 2002 Holiday Bowl.

''It's an awesome feeling to be bowl-eligible again, but I haven't won one since I've been here,'' said wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, a senior. ''I really want to go out with a bang.''

Quarterback Jake Waters, who split time with Daniel Sams most of the season, said there's a feeling of confidence as the Wildcats begin their month-long bowl preparation. They may have lost to Oklahoma last week, but they rebounded nicely against the Jayhawks.

Running back John Hubert ran for a career-high 220 yards, Waters accounted for three touchdowns and a defense that went through quite the roller-coaster came up with six turnovers.

''We're going into our bowl game with a win instead of two straight losses. That's huge,'' Waters said. ''Then not playing as well as we want, that's going to keep us hungry for bowl prep.''

Snyder shouldn't have any problem with hunger.

Even as the marching band played the fight song and hundreds of Kansas State fans waited to celebrate a win over their rivals on Saturday, the 74-year-old coach stood in the shadows of the bleachers in Lawrence and lamented the many close calls of this season.

Yes, the Wildcats finished 7-5. But the defending Big 12 champs could have done so much better.

''It's like it would be for anybody, what you really remember, you remember the losses,'' Snyder said. "And the biggest margin was 10 points. There wasn't a ballgame we played that we didn't have our chances, so that's the frustrating experience. One of our players said last night, they asked to define the season in one word, and one of the players said, `Frustrating.'

''It is, but it doesn't take away from how much I appreciate the young people in our program.''

It also doesn't take away from the way they kept fighting, either.


Text Only
  • DSC_0111web.jpg ‘Team behind the Team’

    For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
    Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NAIA WBB: Oklahoma City to face Texas in exhibition

    Defending national champion Oklahoma City University will meet Texas for the first time in women's basketball in an exhibition Nov. 9 at the Erwin Center.

    July 23, 2014

  • OCU softball coaches earn regional honors

    Oklahoma City University softball coach Phil McSpadden and his assistant coaches have garnered NAIA Southwest Region coaching staff of the year for the third consecutive year from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

    July 23, 2014

  • Coshow earns first pro baseball win for Yankees' Class A team

    Former Oklahoma Christian standout Cale Coshow recorded his first professional baseball win on Sunday during a relief appearance for the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.

    July 23, 2014

  • JUCO pitcher Walker signs to play baseball for Oklahoma Christian

    Brennan Walker, a standout pitcher the past two years at Butler (Kan.) Community College, has signed a letter of intent to play college baseball at Oklahoma Christian, OC coach Lonny Cobble said Monday.

    July 23, 2014

  • FOOTBALL: UCO adds Smelser to coaching staff

    Central Oklahoma football coach Nick Bobeck announced Wednesday that Jason Smelser had joined the staff as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.

    July 23, 2014

  • Oologah's Cantwell among UCO baseball signees

    Central Oklahoma baseball coach Dax Leone has followed up a highly-successful 2014 campaign with a banner recruiting haul, adding 14 players to the roster.

    July 23, 2014

  • BIG 12 MEDIA DAYS: Wickline making immediate impact on Texas

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it – former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong's Texas Longhorns.

    July 23, 2014

  • MLB: Rays rough up Wainwright, roll past Cardinals, 7-2

    For a brief second, Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi could swear he was at Tropicana Field.

    Odorizzi, pitching 33 miles from his hometown of Highland, Illinois, allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead the Rays to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014