This is it. It's all ending Saturday for the Kansas State Wildcats. And they have two directions they could go. Either win and start next year's version of the Cats off on the right foot, or lose and have to think about until August.
Head coach Bill Snyder has already said this is the game
that he thinks will define this year's team. This is the game they'll be
remembered for, how they responded to the loss at
With that in mind, here are the final five questions of the
season. These are the five areas of concern going into Saturday's kickoff against
- How involved will senior running back Darren Sproles be against the Cyclones? Sproles has had an unbelievable talent for K-State for four years and you should look for him to get quite the sendoff in his final game as a Wildcat. Getting him involved will be a key to winning this week, as it is every week. Like a broken record, how Sproles goes, so do the Cats. And if the weather is bad, which could be a problem in the passing game, getting the running game going will become even more important.
plays quarterback? Will it be Dylan Meier or Allen Webb? Who knows? Webb
played reasonably well last week against
and we all know what he did against Colorado just a week earlier. Meier was however, impressive in the Wildcats' final drive against Missouri when Webb went down with an injury. However, if K-State is to run the ball, it will have to do so with Webb at the helm. Having Webb in the game give K-State that double-run threat with Sproles on the option. That changes the entire makeup of the option play. With Meier in the game, look for K-State to throw more. But Meier continues to run the option, and as I said, doesn't work unless there is a viable threat to run the ball, like a Webb-Sproles combination. Both quarterbacks have shown real poise and resiliency this season and K-State has a plan for both of them, but the performances and actually play selection could have a real impact on the game. Colorado
- The defense. Will the defense find an answer to the big play and not give any more up? That's been a killer this season for this group. Just when it seems the defense is starting to come around, an offense breaks a monster play against the Lynch Mob. It's got to stop. And what a better time to do it, in the last game of the year to end the Cyclones' Big 12 North Division hopes.
teams. This unit has made some strides in recent weeks, getting more consistent
on the punts and on punt returns. That has to keep up. Both Reyer and
have contributed in the last few weeks and while splitting the duties, have managed to make the K-State special teams seem more "special." The Yamon Figurs-led punt return unit has too made up some ground from the early fumble problems the unit had in early conference play, and that too will be a key to the victory. It's all about field position. K-State found that out against Martinez . The Wildcats have to be able to punt the ball downfield and keep the Cyclones on their side of the field. And in turn, K-State has to be able to create good field position on punt and kickoff returns. Fresno State
K-State has to have heart. I know it's an overused concept that often gets
dragged into sports, but in this case, I think it's real. I think the
Wildcats are a far more talented team than
. But the difference that could hold K-State back or put them over the top is heart. K-State has to be able to put the struggles of this season behind it and focus on defeating Iowa State . If it can't do that, it could be a very long day. Remember 2001? That was a case where K-State simply let one loss beat over and over and over again. They can't let that happen. Iowa State