MANHATTAN — Kansas State’s 27-24 come-from-behind victory over South Dakota last Saturday was fraught with red flags, though not as many as the 13 penalty flags thrown against the Wildcats.
But history has shown, at least during the Bill Snyder era, that lackluster debuts against a lesser opponent don’t necessarily mean the sky is falling.
In 2011, the Wildcats barely got past Eastern Kentucky in their opener, 10-7, and went on to finish 10-3 with a 7-2 Big 12 record. Two years later, they lost to FCS power North Dakota State, 24-21, yet still went 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the league.
But with No. 18-ranked Mississippi State visiting this Saturday, there is no time to spare.
“I think the capacity is there. That never varies,” Snyder said Monday on the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference. “The opportunity is there, the capabilities are there, now what do we do with it?
“It’s like I’ve said on many occasions about many different things, if we just take for granted because we have done so in the past, that it’ll automatically happen again, then we’ve got some real issues.”
Most of the issues against South Dakota, necessitating a 12-point fourth-quarter comeback, were mental not physical, according to Snyder.
“By and large, it was just a matter of the self-discipline and focus to be able to guard against certain things that cost us dearly,” he said. “We’ve addressed what that is.
“The penalties, to have 13 penalties (for 129 yards) during the course of a ballgame, I can’t remember during my tenure here having 13 penalties in one ballgame.”
Then there were the turnovers — two interceptions and two lost fumbles — that led directly to 10 South Dakota points.
“It goes to that old adage of ‘Don’t beat yourself,’ and that’s probably been the byword at Kansas State for an awful long time,” Snyder said. “It jumped up and bit us this time.”
The good news, Snyder added, is at least the mental errors are correctable.
“If we go out and create a determination that we’re going to get our mistakes corrected and recommit ourselves to the discipline that is necessary to eliminate the mistakes that we had that cost us a poor performance, and if we expect more of ourselves along those lines, then I think we’ll be fine,” he said.
Big 12 agrees: Zuber special
K-State wide receiver Isaiah Zuber was named Big 12 special teams player of the week for his performance against South Dakota after his game-changing 85-yard punt return sparked a double-digit Wildcat comeback.
Zuber subsequently caught the 10-yard touchdown pass from Skylar Thompson that put the Wildcats in front. For the game, he returned three kicks for 108 yards and caught five passes for 68, giving him 176 all-purpose yards.
The offensive player of the week was West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, the defensive player Oklahoma’s Curtis Bolton and the newcomers Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard and TCU’s Derius Davis.
A total of 11 former K-State players survived the final cuts as NFL teams finalized their final rosters and practice squads Monday.
Leading the way is running back Darren Sproles, starting his 14th NFL season and fifth with the Philadelphia Eagles. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is in his 11th season but his first with the Oakland Raiders, where he’s joined by seventh-year linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett is back for a fourth year with the Seattle Seahawks.
Offensive linemen B.J. Finney (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Cody Whitehair (Chicago Bears) are starting their third seasons. Defensive end Jordan Willis (Cincinnati Bengals) starts his second year, as does linebacker Elijah Lee, who is joined on the San Francisco 49ers roster by rookie defensive back D.J. Reed.
Former wide receiver Deante Burton, now a defensive back, is on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad and rookie receiver Byron Pringle is on injured reserve with the Kansas City Chiefs.