November 16, 2007

Five Keys to Victory: Missouri at K-State

When: Saturday, Nov. 17
Kickoff: 11:30 a.m. (CDT)
Location: Manhattan
Venue: Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)

It's Senior Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, which could be a joyous or sad occasion for the Kansas State Wildcats. It will certainly be a happy day if the wounded Wildcats can find a way to beat the sixth-ranked Missouri Tigers. And, of course, there won't be many smiles if the Tigers have their way.

Yes, Missouri is good. The Tigers are arguably the best team in the Big 12 despite their loss earlier this season at Oklahoma. They put up points like the scoreboard is a pinball machine (41.8 per game) and now Missouri's defense is showing signs of excellence.

K-State, on the other, has magically transformed the promise of an eight- or nine-win season into a mad scramble just to get the six wins necessary to become bowl eligible. Back-to-back road losses to Iowa State and Nebraska not only let the season slip away, but also have left a cloud over Coach Ron Prince's program.

Winning will not be easy for the Wildcats, but step one for Prince is simple: "We just need to learn to play better."

If the Wildcats want to win, they need to embrace these Five Keys to Victory.


A big part of Kansas State's problem is mental. The Wildcats clearly are not playing with the same spirit with which they did earlier in the season. The start of the Nebraska game looked promising, but when the Cats gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown, a sense of malaise set in.

Seeing the Wildcats go through the motions in a 73-31 loss at Nebraska makes one want to scream and shout. Defensive end/linebacker Ian Campbell planned to take another approach during this week's practice.

"Sometimes pointing out the bad isn't always the right way to go about things," Campbell said. "Sometimes the best thing to do is to not say anything and work that much harder and hopefully they'll be able to see how hard you're working and want to improve yourselves."

Basically, these Wildcats need to get a grip.

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