Silence. That's pretty much what Dan Hawkins heard as Colorado rolled to a 43-23 win against Baylor last weekend in Waco, Texas, which ascended the Buffaloes to the top of the North division. In fact, earlier in the week the second-year coach didn't exactly deny that it seemed like the Buffaloes played the Bears at a neutral site. But Hawkins knows what could await his team as it travels to meet Kansas State on Saturday.
"It'll be tremendously louder, tremendously wilder with a lot more people, a lot more noise and a lot more excitement," Hawkins said.
Hawkins forgot to mention one thing. With K-State coming off a 30-24 loss to Kansas at home that knocked the Wildcats out of the rankings and propelled the Jayhawks into the Top 25, the crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium will also be tremendously anxious to see the Wildcats take a step.
Take a step, as in showing that an emotional loss to Kansas cannot beat them twice.
Take a step, as in not suffering back-to-back losses. And not just avoiding consecutive losses (K-State lost two straight games on three different occasions a year ago), but not dropping two-in-a-row in Manhattan - something the Wildcats have done just three times in the last 17 seasons.
The contest will kickoff at 8:15 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. It will mark the latest game for the Wildcats in recent memory.
K-State defensive end Ian Campbell knows the perfect way to pass the time. He said he would watch football and take a couple naps. Oh, and K-State coach Ron Prince said the team would also utilize the time to have a couple position meetings.
No doubt, K-State understands the urgency of the contest. It must win to remain in the picture for the division crown, which would be the Wildcats' first one since 2003.
"You never want to lose back-to-back games when you're trying to win anything," said senior Jordy Nelson, who on Thursday was selected as a first-team midseason All-American by Sports Illustrated.com. "The Big 12 North is open but there are some teams that are going to be dominant and aren't going to lose very many games. You can't put yourself in that hole.
"We've got to win a majority of them if not all of them to keep ourselves in the race."
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