Big 12 football notes: Kansas State leaned on Snyder’s old-school preparation for rebound

Posted Monday, Nov. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Big 12 Players of the Week Offense RB Shock Linwood, Baylor: The redshirt freshman filled in for two injured starters and had 182 yards on 23 carries, all coming after the first quarter. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry and picked up eight first downs in the Bears’ 41-12 win over Oklahoma. Defense DE Ryan Mueller, Kansas State: He leads the nation with 10.5 sacks after collecting three in the Wildcats’ 49-26 win over Texas Tech. The junior finished with five tackles against the Red Raiders. Co-Special teams KR Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: The senior returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score in the Cowboys’ 42-6 win over Kansas. It was Gilbert’s sixth kickoff return for a TD in his career, the most for any player in Big 12 history. He’s the nation’s active leader and only one TD return shy of the all-time record. K/P Anthony Fera, Texas: The senior made all four of his field goal attempts, including a 24-yarder with 13 seconds left to send the game into overtime. He’s made 11 consecutive field goals and 15 of 16 this season. Key stat 38Consecutive wins for Kansas State when leading at the half. Quotable “We’ve used eight different offensive lines. Nobody in America has done that. Yet, they’ve improved considerably as a unit. One position group you can’t get decimated at is the offensive line and we’ve been completely decimated there.” — Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on his team’s positives despite its 1-8 record “I don’t think the program as a whole has done a great job of handling adversity in the last few years. And we haven’t done a great job this year so far. The effort is good, I just think mentally we need to approach it the right way.” — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on his team’s three-game losing streak

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After a 2-4 start, including a season-opening loss at home to Football Championship Subdivision North Dakota State, Kansas State has rebounded to win its past three games and is one win from earning its fourth consecutive bowl berth.

After starting 0-3 in the Big 12, with all three losses being decided by 10 or fewer points, the Wildcats (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) have rallied to win their past three games, all three in relatively dominating fashion.

Kansas State is coming off a 49-26 win against previously ranked No. 25 Texas Tech.

“It’s a very positive thing that these young guys have overcome the disappointment of ballgames they had opportunities to be successful at and learn,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “That’s not anything I would not have expected from the young guys in our program.”

The Wildcats lost by 10 at Texas, four at Oklahoma State and 10 at home to Baylor.

“Our youngsters are not taking anything for granted,” Snyder said. “Their discipline with which they prepare and practice has gotten better. And probably just the normal happenstance of the more you practice certain things, if you practice them well, the better you get at it.”

For a team predicted to finish sixth in the league, the resurgence isn’t surprising.

K-State was picked to finish sixth in 2012 before winning the league. The Wildcats host TCU (4-6, 2-5) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and then finish at home against Oklahoma and at Kansas.

“It was quite a win against Texas Tech so we know we have our hands full,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We understand we’ll probably have to play our best ballgame of the season.”

Both teams are looking to keep their bowl berths alive. K-State can clinch a bowl with a win. The Horned Frogs must win their final two games.

With the Wildcats’ remaining schedule, an eight-win regular-season is possible.

“The environment we’ve tried to create has been incremental improvement throughout the course of a year regardless of whether the outcomes of the ballgames happen to be.”

Kliff high on Art

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury played quarterback for the Red Raiders when Art Briles was the team’s running backs coach.

That was from 2000-02 before Briles left to take the head coaching job at Houston. Kingsbury said he noticed then how well players responded to Briles, who came to Tech’s staff after 11 championship-churning years at Stephenville High School.

“He’d already been a legendary coach in the state of Texas and was renowned for that,” Kingsbury said. “You could see the way players gravitated towards him and how much respect and admiration they had for him. His positive energy, football knowledge. You could tell he was going to go a long way in this profession.”

Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3) has lost three consecutive games entering its 6 p.m. Saturday meeting against Briles’ undefeated fifth-ranked Baylor team at AT&T Stadium.

“I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he’s done there,” Kingsbury said. “To see where he’s taken that program and done it brick by brick and step by step and now they’re at the top of the college football world and that’s a credit to him and his perseverance and type of man and coach he is.”

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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