K-state is out to stop string of bowl losses

None of the play­ers have won a game in post­sea­son.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Kellis Robi­nett The Kansas City Star Kansas State coach Bill Sny­der wants to keep his team mo­ti­vated dur­ing a month-long break be­tween games. LM Otero / AP

Be­fore Kansas State’s foot­ball team took the prac­tice field one day last week, coach Bill Sny­der gave the play­ers a pep talk in the form of a ques­tion.

“How many of you have won a bowl game?” Sny­der asked while ad­dress­ing the Wild­cats in the locker room.

“No­body raised their hands,” sopho­more re­ceiver Tyler Lock­ett said. “That’s great mo­ti­va­tion for us, be­cause none of us know what it feels like to end the sea­son with a win.”

It’s been a long time since K-State won its last bowl game, de­feat­ing Ari­zona State 34-27 in the 2002 Hol­i­day Bowl. So long that some of its cur­rent play­ers hadn’t started play­ing or­ga­nized foot­ball. The Wild­cats have lost four bowl games since.

Sny­der coached in three of those. The se­niors on this ros­ter played in two, fall­ing 3634 to Syra­cuse in the Pin­stripe Bowl two years ago and los­ing to Arkansas 2916 in the Cot­ton Bowl last sea­son. Their mo­ti­va­tion stems only from re­cent de­feats, but that is more than enough to pro­vide added in­cen­tive as they pre­pare for Ore­gon in the Fi­esta Bowl.

“No­body here, my­self in­cluded, has won a bowl game,” se­nior quar­ter­back Collin Klein said. “That’s an­other huge thing. We talk about be­ing tough and fin­ish­ing off all the time, this is our chance to prove it. It’s huge.”

A bowl vic­tory would also put the fin­ish­ing touch on one of the best sea­sons in pro­gram his­tory. The Wild­cats have won 11 games six times, but they have never won 12 in a sea­son.

“We are ready to do what­ever it takes to make K-State his­tory,” sopho­more cen­ter B.J. Fin­ney said.

Sny­der has re­minded his team of all th­ese pos- sibil­i­ties lately, hop­ing to keep ev­ery­one mo­ti­vated dur­ing a month long break be­tween games.

That’s al­ways the hard­est thing about pre­par­ing for a bowl game.

“Whether or not you can get whole heart­edly into the prepa­ra­tion when you know you’ve still got 15 prac­tices left be­fore the ac­tual event it­self (is dif­fi­cult),” Sny­der said. “Dur­ing the course of the sea­son, you’re look­ing at . . . four prac­tices, maybe five at best. There is a sense of ur­gency that ex­ists at that time. Now it is a mat­ter of cre­at­ing that same sense of ur­gency. Not nec­es­sar­ily just in their prepa­ra­tion for Ore­gon, but ad­dress­ing each and ev­ery prac­tice and meet­ing as an op­por­tu­nity to truly im­prove your­self.”

Texas Tech pulls 3 from bowl: A schoolof­fi­cial says three Red Raiders won’t be play­ing against Min­nesota in Fri­day’s Meineke Car Care Bowl be­cause they vi­o­lated team rules.

Foot­ball pro­gram spokesman Blayne Beal on Mon­day would not di­vulge the rules vi­o­lated. He says Red Raiders start­ing de­fen­sive back Cor­nelius Dou­glas, Chris Payne, a line­backer who played mostly on Texas Tech’s spe­cial teams, and backup de­fen­sive tackle Leon Mackey won’t play in the bowl game.

The Red Raiders (7-5) take on the Go­phers (6-6) about three weeks af­ter Tommy Tu­berville un­ex­pect­edly left to take the head coach­ing po­si­tion at Cincin­nati.

As­so­ci­ated Press contributed to this report.

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