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Friday, September 15, 2006

KSU foe Marshall not dwelling

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— When Marshall made the flight to Kansas State today, last year's last-second loss to the Wildcats wasn't be among the baggage that coach Mark Snyder was carrying.

Snyder said Kansas State doesn't resemble the 2005 team that escaped from Marshall with a 21-19 victory despite not scoring in the game's final 41 minutes.

"They are different on both sides of the ball and on special teams," Snyder said. "They do a good job of keeping you off balance. They have done a really good job of mixing it up on offense. It's hard to say until we play just how different they are."

The schools that will meet Saturday for the third time since 2003 have built an intriguing nonconference rivalry.

Last year's game was decided on the next-to-last play, and Marshall's 27-20 victory in Manhattan in 2003 was decided on the final play.

Graham Gochneaur threw the winning three-yard touchdown pass to Jason Rader and added a two-point conversion with just over 31â2 minutes left. Kansas State drove to the Marshall two, but a pass fell incomplete in the end zone as time ran out.

Snyder, a Marshall alumnus, was an assistant at Ohio State at the time and still remembers the talk surrounding that victory, Marshall's first over a ranked major-college opponent. The outcome broke then-No. 6 Kansas State's 41-game home nonconference winning streak.

"It was the talk of college football that weekend," Snyder said. "ESPN showed highlights of it and everyone was talking about it. It was the talk of the day."

Kansas State (2-0) is starting over with new coach Ron Prince following the retirement of Bill Snyder. Mark Snyder is in his second season at Marshall (1-1) after going 4-7 a year ago.

Under them, Marshall and Kansas State seem to have traded styles.

Marshall used to be known for pure passing quarterbacks such as Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich while Kansas State's stable included elusive scrambler Ell Roberson.

Kansas State has moved to the pro-style quarterback. Dylan Meier has completed 25-of-46 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

Marshall's Bernie Morris has become a double threat. He's 32-of-49 passing for 321 yards, three touchdowns and an interception while rushing for 188 yards.

Morris was injured in the first half last year against Kansas State and did not return to the game. Backup quarterback Jimmy Skinner came in and led a Marshall rally, only to throw an interception with three seconds left.

"Coming into this game, we know we had a good shot to beat those guys last year, there was just some miscommunication at the end of the game," Morris said. "We hope to correct those mistakes this year and come back home with a win."

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