October 19, 2007

Cats hit the road again in Big 12

Kansas State coach Ron Prince has taken a liking to his black cowboy hat. But it was probably buried underneath play charts and statistics this week as the No. 25 Wildcats prepare to face Big 12 South co-leader Oklahoma State at 6:05 p.m. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. Prince knows his team must be on top of its game as the Wildcats seek their fourth-straight win against a South opponent.

"We're going to play an opponent at a place that is always very tough," said Prince, the second-year coach who will travel to Stillwater, Okla., for the first time. "From what I can ascertain it's getting tougher and tougher with the way they're building their environment."

While Oklahoma State students spent the week pomping floats for their Homecoming celebration, construction crews were finishing up concrete work to connect the newly-erected bowled western section of the stadium with the north stands to form a unified look for the stadium. At 46 percent complete, a project manager told The Associated Press earlier in the week that construction was ahead of schedule, thus making it only a matter of time before the 44,700-capacity stadium grows into one of the largest in the league.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys, 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, who come off a historic win at Nebraska, hope to be on schedule for a massive three-game homestand.

K-State, 4-2 and 2-1, will mark first of three ranked foes as the Cowboys host No. 19 Texas and then No. 15 Kansas.

"Everybody's glad to be home because obviously we enjoy playing here and there's just generally a comfort zone when you're not traveling, not in airplanes, not in hotels," said Gundy, who has won nine of his last 11 home contests. "But when they watch tape of this team, they won't have any problem looking past this team."

K-State has already made two strong showings on the road in a 23-13 loss at then-No. 18 Auburn and in a 41-21 win against then-No. 7 Texas, which marked the program's first-ever road win against a Top 10 opponent and the Longhorns' worst home loss since 1997. The Wildcats will try to do something they have failed to do in their last three opportunities (2005, 2003 and 2001) and beat two South teams on the road in the same season. They last did so by beating a ranked Texas team and Oklahoma State away from Manhattan in 1999.

The Wildcats' three straight wins against South opponents is the longest current streak by a North team. Colorado has won its last two against the South.

K-State has won 10 of the last 11 against Oklahoma State, including four of the last five in Stillwater. After posting a 44-21 victory there in 1999, the Wildcats lost 38-34 in 2003.

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