Cats to face a BU team giving up 520 yd/game

MANHATTAN, Kan. - On the line Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff in Waco, Texas, will be a Big 12 championship and a No. 1 national ranking for the K-State Wildcats. Coach Bill Snyder says it's all about maintaining focus and consistency.

Baylor can score the ball with the best of teams, but through nine games of the season, that is about it.

Kansas State can score the ball with the best of teams, can stop the score with the best of teams, and are special on special teams.

That's why the Wildcats are 7-0 in the Big 12, 10-0 overall, and, ranked No. 1 in the nation, and why the Bears are 1-5, 4-5, and floundering with just one victory since Sept. 21.

Still, K-State coach Bill Snyder says, "I do not know of a team that has struggled from the won-loss standpoint that has been as effective and dynamic on offense as this football team."

While in ninth-place in the Big 12, Baylor leads the league in total offense at 564 yards per game – 196 rushing and 368 passing – and is second in scoring at 42.7 points per game. Yes, 42.7 points per game, but also giving up 39.4 by giving up a national high of 520 yards per game – 199 rushing and 321 passing.

Plus, in special teams K-State leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns (29.0) and punt returns (23.8), while Baylor is eighth in kickoff returns (19.7) and 10th in punt returns (6.9).

While heavily favored, KSU receiver Chris Harper says, "We have to go 1-0 every week to get where we need to be. You have to win every game, and this game is huge because of what is at stake."

What's at stake is:

• Maintaining its No. 1 ranking in the BCS poll as the Wildcats are just two wins … eight quarters away from playing for the national championship.

• With a win, K-State will wrap up the Big 12 championship … only the second in the Bill Snyder era, and only the third football league championship in the history of the program.

"We try not to think about it," said senior Braden Wilson of the Wildcats' perfect record.

"Everyone deals with pressure differently," said Snyder. "The most significant thing is to be consistent with the things that you do. I know young people have these electronic devices and read about things, but it's how you respond to that material that's important. You can't spend your entire day thinking about those things.

"If you're going to spend your time and energy focusing on what you ready, your time in the spotlight is going to be short lived," said Snyder.

K-State's defensive attention will be on CU quarterback Nick Florence, who leads the Big 12 by passing for 355 yards per game. Florence has rifled 25 touchdowns, which is third high in the league, but also thrown 11 interceptions, which is the most in the league.

His favorite target is Terrance Williams, who has a Big 12 leading 96 passes caught for 108 yards per game and 11 touchdowns. By comparison, Chris Harper leads K-State with 36 catches for 604 yards and two scores.

Heisman Trophy favorite Collin Klein will counter with 202 passing yards per game, with 12 touchdowns, but only three interceptions. In addition, Klein rushes for 75 yards per game with a Big 12-high of 19 touchdowns.

Of the pressures of playing as the No. 1 unbeaten team in the nation, Klein said, "I have been very blessed. God has provided by upbringing in a way that I have had parents and coaches who have provided a foundation to show me what is really important. Success is fleeting in this world.

There are bigger things at stake, an. d I recognize that we are human and we do make mistakes and are susceptible to complacency or whatever you want to call it. But that is the first step to be able to identify, attack it and go against that sin nature every day."

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