Snyder and Cats Shoot For 10

No one predicted Kansas State would seek a 10-win finish when it rolled into the last game of the regular season. Actually, the Wildcats were picked eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll.

But Bill Snyder pays no attention to such blather and does not put up with poor performances, even in victory. After the Wildcats pulled out a 17-13 victory at Texas, Snyder was in no mood to offer praise and instead ripped his offense after it generated 121 yards and averaged 2.2 yards per snap.

"Our defense had to stand up all day because our offense didn't," Snyder said. "It's that simple. They beat the tar out of us."

Still, Kansas State cashed in on enough opportunities to improve to 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12, keeping alive hopes for a share of the conference title and a potential bid to a Bowl Championship Series game if it closes the regular season with a victory over Iowa State on Dec. 3.

Quarterback Collin Klein threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Chris Harper late in the first half to give the Wildcats a 10-3 lead at the break. They scored again on a three-yard run by Klein, who managed only four yards on 26 carries and added but 83 yards through the air.

The fast, physical Texas defense hounded Kansas State's gutsy quarterback throughout the game, although Snyder conceded afterward that Klein has been too beat up to practice the last two weeks.

"It's been all mental reps, really," Klein said.

The two-week preparation for the Iowa State game will give the battered quarterback a chance to heal, and do the same for the remainder of the Kansas State squad, which has mounted its surprising run despite being perilously thin on talent.

The Texas game could have been a much-needed breakthrough for the Wildcats defense. They came in allowing more yards through the air than any Big 12 team in conference play, but the Longhorns are limited in that capacity and eventually replaced starting quarterback David Ash after he threw two interceptions.

Both picks were converted into valuable points by Kansas State, but any suggestion of offensive prowess was quickly dashed by Snyder.

"We need to learn how to play offense," he said when asked to address the break the Wildcats get before their next game.

NOTES, QUOTES

--With bowl prospects beginning to line up for Kansas State, representatives from the Fiesta, Cotton, Alamo and Holiday bowls attended the 17-13 victory at Texas on Nov. 19. The victory kept the Wildcats' hopes alive for a share of the Big 12 title, and thus the possibility of playing in the Bowl Championship Series. The Fiesta Bowl is generally the tie-in to the BCS for the Big 12. If not in the BCS, Kansas State figures to be a strong possibility for the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 6, as long as the Wildcats win their last regular-season game against Iowa State on Dec. 3.

--Several performance incentives are available for Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, who is in his third year of a five-year contract he signed after agreeing to return as the Wildcats coach in 2009. Among incentives available is a $75,000 bonus for playing in a BCS game and a $100,000 bonus if Kansas State is in the top 10 of the final Associated Press or BCS ratings. Snyder's compensation this season is $1,925,000.

--Kansas State entered the Texas game averaging slightly more than 34 minutes of possession time this season and enjoyed a slim lead over the Longhorns in that category. However, they held the ball for only 28 minutes against Texas, the first time all season the Wildcats possessed the ball for less time than their opponent.

KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Adam Davis --

Considered a key transfer before the 2010 season, Davis missed the entire year because of a severe back injury that threatened his career. He overcame the problem, but has been a spotty performer for the Wildcats throughout the season. Against Texas, however, he was in on a critical sack to end a fourth-quarter drive and also made a big tackle to help stop the Longhorns on their final possession. The sack was the first for Kansas State since the Oct. 22 game against Kansas.

LOOKING GOOD:
Kansas State could not rely so much on the arms and legs of versatile QB Collin Klein, who was successfully contained for most of the game against Texas. Facing an opponent that bases much of its attack on the ground and did not run a hurry-up system, the Kansas State defense enjoyed one of its strongest performances. The Wildcats allowed only one touchdown and prevented Texas from driving any farther than midfield on its last two possessions. The best individual performance for the Longhorns was 80 yards passing by backup QB Case McCoy.

STILL NEEDS WORK:
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said it to begin his post-game remarks and reiterated his biggest concern numerous times, repeatedly mentioning the need for his offense to improve. The Wildcats managed only 121 yards and eight first downs, proof that if an opponent can bottle up QB Collin Klein in the running game and also hound him in the pocket when he drops back to pass, trouble lurks. The Kansas State offensive line, which has been serviceable all season despite losing two starters in the first two games, allowed five sacks.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I was very frustrated that we weren't able to get anything going and weren't able to support the kind of performance our defense gave. We're just going to come back to work and keep getting better." -- Kansas State QB Collin Klein.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER NOTES:

--P Ryan Doerr, a semifinalist for the Guy Award, usually is an unsung performer for the Wildcats. Against Texas, however, he averaged 42.7 yards on 10 punts despite a strong south wind. Two punts were pinned inside the 20 and only three punts were returned.

--WR/KR Tramaine Thompson impacted field position with 86 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 39-yarder. Thompson was not a factor on offense, losing three yards on his only reception and gaining two yards the one time he was used on an end-around.

--SS Ty Zimmerman made an interception that gave Kansas State 17 for the season, its best total since 2007. Zimmerman was also in on six tackles.

ROSTER REPORT

--QB Collin Klein did not participate in practice the last two weeks, according to Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, but still played in narrow victories over Texas A&M and Texas. The nature of Klein's ailments was not disclosed, though it could be the accumulation of the hits he's absorbed throughout the season.

--WR Brodrick Smith, who started the first five games, yet has missed the last five for undisclosed reasons, did not make the trip to Texas. One player the Wildcats inserted into four- and five-wide sets was WR Torell Miller, a sophomore with one reception.


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