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TMP falls just short of semifinals -10/31/2014, 5:01 PM

Logan, Sharon Springs advance at 1ADII tourney -10/31/2014, 4:12 PM

Tigers travel to face Lopers -10/31/2014, 11:10 AM

Tiger women's soccer rallies for win at UNK -10/31/2014, 10:05 AM

Closing stretch will be crowded at the top for Big 12 -10/31/2014, 11:07 AM

Hays High heads for Wamego -10/31/2014, 11:08 AM

Norton runs by TMP, now 9-0 -10/31/2014, 11:09 AM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 30 -10/31/2014, 10:05 AM

Area high school football scores, Oct. 30 -10/30/2014, 9:26 PM

MVP Bumgarner steps up -10/30/2014, 10:43 AM

District up in the air for HHS -10/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Area prep football district standings, scenarios -10/30/2014, 2:28 PM

A look at the area's state volleyball qualifiers in 1A Division I & II -10/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Dream season ends for K.C. -10/30/2014, 10:33 AM

TMP turns it around, headed to state -10/30/2014, 10:33 AM

Tiger volleyball falls to UNK -10/29/2014, 3:28 PM

Monarchs rally for regional win -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

One win away for K.C. -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Kansas State No. 9 in first football playoff rankings -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Hays High soccer sees season end -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

Tigers look to finish strong -10/29/2014, 10:10 AM

1989 WSU baseball champs reunite -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

KC's Yost still confident -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Romo hurt as Redskins upend Cowboys in OT -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Big second half leads to HHS win -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

CFB notes: TCU and WVU ready to take center stage -10/28/2014, 10:21 AM

Royals down, not out -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Earnhardt wins at Martinsville -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Romo showing smarts, backbone as Redskins visit -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Chiefs defense hammers Rams -10/27/2014, 10:57 AM

Tiger men draw, women win Sunday -10/27/2014, 10:48 AM

Hays High rallies for district win -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

Tigers fall to No. 10 Bearcats -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

XC roundup -- Hays High boys, girls qualify -10/26/2014, 10:57 AM

Friday's area prep football roundup -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

K-State shuts out Texas -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

Volleyball roundup -- TMP headed to state -10/26/2014, 8:35 PM

HHS, TMP begin regional play -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Phillipsburg remains unbeaten in district play -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Hays High volleyball sees season end -10/26/2014, 8:26 PM

Russell nabs second win, beats Monarchs -10/26/2014, 1:00 AM

Area prep FB scores, Oct. 24 -10/24/2014, 10:45 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
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'Cats kick things off with Bison

Published on -8/30/2013, 9:54 AM

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By ARNE GREEN

Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN - If anybody knows first-hand how far Kansas State's defense has come since the spring, it's B.J. Finney.

As Kansas State's starting center, going against a completely rebuilt front seven daily in practice, he has had a front-row seat.

"We do get to see them every day and we get to see them improve," Finney said of a defensive unit that will put nine new starters on the field when they open the season at 7:30 tonight against North Dakota State at sold-out Bill Snyder Family Stadium. "They're extremely hard-working guys, they know the task before them, they have their work cut out for them and they're just trying to be the best they can.

"From the spring to this point, there's been vast improvement in our defense."

That's good news for Wildcat fans who have stressed over a defense with no starting experience up front and a linebacking corps that lost Big 12 defensive player of the year Arthur Brown. Especially facing North Dakota State, which is not your typical first-game Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

The Bison are two-time defending national champions and ranked No. 1 again in the preseason polls. They have won six of their last nine games against FBS opponents, including three straight on the road.

"There are a lot of things that stand out," K-State coach Bill Snyder said of the Bison. "I think number one, this is a faster football team than people want to envision.

"Sometimes on tape you can't really identify that, but they run well. Secondly, they're probably as aggressive and tough a football team as you'll line up and play."

Though the Bison were best known for their defense last year, they also return nine starters from an offense that ranked 21st in rushing with two individual 1,000-yard rushers and a quarterback, Brock Jensen, now in his fourth season.

"They're a really good team," said K-State sophomore defensive tackle Travis Britz, who outside of junior end Ryan Mueller is the Wildcats' most experienced lineman. "They run the ball really well and they're pretty good passing, too, so we really have to be on our game."

The Wildcat defense has the added burden of proving itself to a skeptical audience eager to see how it will perform as a unit.

"I think that every defense would have some kind of pressure opening the season and making a statement," said Britz, who will start on the inside next to senior nose tackle Chaquil Reed. "We want to show that we really can compete in college football and this conference.

"Yeah, we have a new stadium and a good opponent coming in, but I feel that it is just like every other year. We'll reload and keep working hard to prove to people that we are a great defense."

Practicing against an offense that returns its entire line, leading rusher and a veteran group of receivers not only has helped the defense improve, but also to gauge its readiness.

"It has definitely helped us grow as a team and as a defense especially," said redshirt freshman Will Davis, a backup linebacker getting ready for his first game as a Wildcat. "There are a lot of veteran guys on the offensive side of the ball and we try to battle every day and we're trying to win against our offense every day."

Britz especially has benefited going against a battle-tested offensive line.

"It's so much help this fall camp and in the spring, knowing that these guys are a pretty good offensive line, maybe the best in the Big 12," he said.

Joining Britz, Reed and Mueller as first-time starters on the defensive line is sophomore end Marquel Bryant. Junior Jonathan Truman will make his starting debut at weak-side linebacker.

Senior middle linebacker Blake Slaughter redshirted last season and was a backup two years ago, but started four games as a sophomore in 2010. Strong-side starter Tre Walker, another senior, started 11 games as a sophomore and four of eight last year before going down with a season-ending knee injury.

In the secondary, senior free safety Ty Zimmerman is a fourth-year starter who earned all-Big 12 honors last year. Sophomore strong safety Dante Barnett started two games in place of an injured Zimmerman last season.

Junior Randall Evans, who started seven games as a nickel back last year, returns at that spot but also could start at cornerback in the Wildcats' base defense. The other corner, making his first start, is senior Dorrian Roberts.

Like Finney, Bill Snyder said he has seen the defense get better over time.

"I see the steady improvement that I think we're making," he said. "Ask me Saturday morning and I'll probably have a little better answer, but I think they're getting a feel for each other (and) I think there's a greater continuity right now then there was at the outset.

"I think they have a better understanding of the global concept, so to speak."

On offense, junior college transfer Jake Waters will make his first appearance and first start at quarterback against a North Dakota State defense that ranked No. 1 overall in the FCS, both in yards and points allowed.

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