Saturday, November 6, 2010

Struggling KSU, UT do battle today on gridiron


— Kansas State wants to get bowl-eligible. Texas just wants to get well.

One game will do it for the Wildcats (5-3 overall, 2-3 Big 12). All they need is six wins and they’ll have enough to qualify for a postseason game that fans will see as a sign of better days ahead.

One game will not be enough for the Longhorns (4-4, 2-3). A year after losing to Alabama in the national championship game, Texas has fallen upon hard times.

The Longhorns will have to win two of their last four to have enough wins to qualify for the postseason. After Kansas State tonight, they will face No. 19 Oklahoma State, Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M.; And there’s nothing automatic about a victory over Kansas State even though the Wildcats have lost two in a row and three of their last four.

“We are 1-4 in Manhattan,” said coach Mack Brown. “It has not been a game that we have played well. They have played well in the ballgame, so this team really has a chance to step up and do something in Manhattan that very few other teams have done, and that is come out of there with a win.”

The Longhorns’ biggest challenge defensively will be running back Daniel Thomas. The rugged senior led the Big 12 last year in rushing and this year trails only Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter on the conference charts, averaging 124.5 yards per game.

“We are going to have to be a really tough football team on Saturday night,” Brown said. “They are very tough. They are going to run the ball. They have tight splits. There is not much dodging.”

It will be the final home game of the year Kansas State, which closes out with three in a row on the road. The Wildcats are expecting the full wrath of a Texas team that’s in a hurry to get things turned around.

“My job’s been easy the last two years because we’ve won a lot of games, and I wasn’t needed,” Brown said. “Right now I’m needed, because I have to step up and get things turned back where the kids are playing hard each week, (and) they’re playing with confidence but they’re also having fun with each other and those are all gray things. They’re things that are hard to get fixed.”

Texas fans probably find it hard to believe they’ve lost four of their first eight games. In the previous two years, they were 25-2.

“You watch film, and they’ve got a lot of athletes on the team, and they always do, so it’s kind of hard to understand why the record is the way it is,” Kansas State center Zach Kendall said. “They’re just kind of in a little rough spot like we are. I think they’re a better team than what their record shows.”

The Longhorns have lost four of their last five games and are fresh off a 30-22 loss to Baylor, a team they usually pound.

“We’re going to get the best of Texas. They’re fighting for their identity right now and so are we,” Kendall said.

One of the teams Texas lost to was UCLA, which K-State beat in the season opener.

“That means nothing,” said Kansas State linebacker Blake Slaughter. “I know UCLA’s a lot better team today than they were at the beginning of the season, and I think Iowa State is a better team today than they were when we played them. So to sit here and say, ’This team beat this team, so we should be able to beat this team,’ that wouldn’t be accurate.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.