Snyder: The time has come to take a stand

Riding a two-game losing streak will inevitably define a team's character, and judging by the mood of the Wildcats, they hope to define theirs against No. 2 Oklahoma.

Snyder: The time has come to take a stand
Angry Wildcats looking to rebound against Sooners
By Herbie Teope

Riding a two-game losing streak will inevitably define a team's character, and judging by the mood of the Wildcats, they hope to define theirs against No. 2 Oklahoma.

Senior running back Darren Sproles, who was held to 73 yards rushing on 24 carries against Kansas, summed up the mood of his teammates at Tuesday's press conference.

"We are still mad after Saturday's loss," said Sproles about the atmosphere during Monday's team meetings. "Everyone was still mad."

Head coach Bill Snyder believes that based on the team's anger, they will come out fighting.

"The time has come to take a stand," Snyder said Tuesday about the team's response to the loss against Kansas. "My perception of the way they responded is that it is not a football team that is made up of a group of guys that will give in. They will fight back. There is some determination there. That is the indication I was given from watching our football team and listening to our football team."

Translating that anger to executing as a team on the football field could take place against the Sooners, who enter the game on an emotional high after defeating previously undefeated Texas.

Oklahoma also has extra motivation to avenge last year's 35-7 loss to the Wildcats in the Big 12 Championship game.

"I don't know if anything is easy going against Oklahoma," junior defensive end Scott Edmonds said. "Even if we neutralize [quarterback] Jason White and get to [running back] Adrian Peterson, they still have so many other weapons. We just have to focus on getting three-and-outs and getting turnovers."

Capitalizing on turnovers was something that Kansas State did very well against the Sooners in last year's conference championship game.

The Wildcats turned two of White's interceptions into touchdowns, with one being junior linebacker Ted Sim's 27-yard interception return.

Kansas State has been on the receiving end of nine turnovers through five games, which match the same amount from last year through the same span. However, the biggest difference is the records. Through five games in 2003, the Wildcats were 4-1.

It would be easy for the team to fold the tents and head home, but they have other things in mind. Last season, the team lost three in a row after starting 4-0, and then won six in a row before losing 35-28 to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Breaking the losing streak could happen again against a team that not many in the country give the Wildcats a chance of winning. Recall that it was 10 months ago that many didn't believe the Wildcats could win the Big 12 Championship.

Sproles believes that playing the Sooners after a bitter loss will make the team work harder at beating them.

"I think this is going to make everyone work harder, just because we are playing a great team," Sproles said.

The Wildcats can draw from the fact that they've beaten Oklahoma in six of the last nine meetings, but mistakes will cost them a legitimate chance of pulling off another upset win.

In order to minimize mistakes, the team must find a way to come together and stop beating themselves, which is a point junior fullback and team captain Victor Mann mentioned Tuesday.

"Coming off two tough losses, the main thing right now is to get a win," said Mann. "We are doing whatever we can right now, practicing hard, putting in the time that we need, and just trying to get focused on making things right. We are trying to get to the point where we can take over a game when we get a couple of turnovers to go our way. We also need to stop turning the ball over and beating ourselves."

The Wildcats are mad. If they are able to channel that anger in a positive manner and play with emotion, they could look to surprise many again.

The time to take a stand arrives Oct. 16 for the Kansas State football team.

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