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Wildcats coming back strong


Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN -- Bill Snyder has been through enough heart-wrenching losses in his coaching career that he knows the drill.

Difficult as Kansas State's 52-24 loss at Baylor last Saturday was to swallow, he was trying to give his players the time to get it out of their systems.

"I'd guess it's probably a little different with each individual to a certain degree," Snyder said before Tuesday's practice, the Wildcats' second of three this week before they adjourn for a four-day Thanksgiving break. "Mine has turned into anger and I would hope that our players and coaches follow suit.

"(Monday) we practiced and they were focused during the course of the practice. It wasn't as matter-of-fact, but rather businesslike. That's a positive sign."

Barring an improbable confluence of results involving the new frontrunners over the next two weeks, the Wildcats probably saw their national championship hopes crumble in Waco, Texas, as they fell to 10-1, No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and sixth in the latest BCS standings.

But a victory at home in the Dec. 1 regular-season finale against Texas still would secure a Big 12 championship and probably a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

"We're not fully bounced back from it but we still have a lot to play for," senior linebacker Jarell Childs said.

With the open date Saturday, Wildcats also have some extra time to let the loss simmer.

"I think we all have a sense of anger, but like Coach said, it's good that we have it, there's nothing wrong with it," linebacker Arthur Brown said. "We just have to channel it in the proper way and continue to do what we need to do in order to prepare for the game in two weeks."

Tight end Travis Tannahill plans to hold onto his for as long as it's productive.

"It's got to be controlled," he said. "You can't be going out there taking shots at your teammates in practice and hitting guys late on Saturday."

That said, it does serve a purpose.

"Anger is not a bad emotion to have at all, especially in the violent game of football," Tannahill said. "Anger can fuel you.

"It'll get you out of bed in the morning, it'll motivate you during practice when you're tired. It's a natural response to have after a loss."

Eventually the Wildcats will have to turn their full attention to a dangerous Texas team that has won four straight heading into Saturday's home finale against TCU.

"It's just something we've got to do," quarterback Collin Klein said. "Heartbreaking doesn't even begin to describe, but at the same time we've just got to make sure that we don't want Baylor to beat us twice.

"We just have to go back to what we know and that's trying to be the best we can be and contributing and helping each other and being a good teammate. It starts today and we just can't waste any days."

Senior kicker Anthony Cantele has observed the different phases of handling defeat and thinks the Wildcats are on the right track.

"I think at first there was definitely disappointment and then it turned into kind of anger, and then more real focus right now, especially with all the seniors we have on this team," he said. "This is the last time we play at home and we want to go out the right way."

Tannahill also was encouraged.

"I would say that we have gotten past the sad stage and more into the mad stage," he said. "We had a good practice (Monday).

"We came out and were ready to work, and I think that showed a lot of maturity for our team because there's nothing you can do about it now. We need to go out and prepare like we do every week."

2013 schedule set

K-State announced its 2013 football schedule Tuesday, complete with eight home games, as it unveils its new $75 million West Stadium Center.

The Wildcats will start with three straight nonconference games -- North Dakota State on Aug. 31, Louisiana on Sept. 7 and Massachusetts on Sept. 14 -- and play their first two Big 12 games on the road.

They open at Texas on Sept. 21, have an open date and play Oct. 5 at Oklahoma State before entertaining Baylor on Oct. 12. K-State will leave the state of Kansas just twice in October and November.

The five-game home conference slate will feature the first visits from newcomers West Virginia on Oct. 26 and TCU on Nov. 16. The Wildcats finish the season on the road Nov. 30 with the Sunflower Showdown at Kansas.

2013 schedule

August --31 North Dakota State.

September --7 Louisiana; 14 Massachusetts; 21 at Texas; 28 Bye.

October -- 5 at Oklahoma State; 12 Baylor; 19 Bye; 26 West Virginia.

November -- 2 Iowa State; 9 at Texas Tech; 16 TCU; 23 Oklahoma; 30 at Kansas.

Finney up for award

K-State sophomore center B.J. Finney is one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, presented to the nation's top football player to begin his career as a walk-on.

Finney, a two-year starter, is the only sophomore on the list, which includes seven seniors and two juniors.