One last time

Just days ago, this author wrote about how fans need to make sure they send coach Bill Snyder out "the right way" in his final game at the helm. Following the victory over Missouri, there's only one thing to say: mission accomplished.

So many different factors seemed to mesh perfectly, that all involved were left with something they will never forget.

The fans did their part-
Although the crowd of 46,039 fell short of the desired sellout, those in attendance were phenomenal. Whether it was the signs thanking Snyder for all he has done, the chanting of his name, or the decision to remain in their seats when the clock reached 0:00, the Bill Snyder Family Stadium crowd did exactly what they were expected to do - support their team, and honor their coach.

The athletic department did their part-
Upon entering the stadium before the game, fans were treated to highlight packages of the Snyder era throughout the years. At halftime, a special video tribute to Snyder was shown, with messages from president Jon Wefald, Kansas Governor Kathleeen Sebelius, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, former "Voice of the Wildcats" Mitch Holthus, athletic director Tim Weiser, former Wildcat Players, opposing coaches, including Bob Stoops, Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, and various Wildcat coaches.

Following the game, when Snyder was coming back out to address the crowd, "Stand up for the Champions" played along with video highlights. All fans were informed of the post-game address multiple times, so they all knew to stick around.

The players did their part-
Despite falling behind by 14, and suffering some of the same mistakes that you have read about every week, the Wildcats played inspired to the end, and pulled out a victory for their coach.

When the Wildcats failed to score from their own 1-yard line three straight times, it seemed the momentum had fallen in the Tigers' favor. On the ensuing play, the Wildcats had their third safety in the last two games, and a new lease on life. K-State drove down the field following the safety, but again looked like they were going to be stuck without points when they hit a fourth-and-four situation from the Missouri 10-yard line. Allen Webb, subbing for Allan Evridge, stepped up the next play and found Jordy Nelson streaking across the field for a ten-yard touchdown, giving the Wildcats the 29-28 lead.
A 29-28 victory might have been fitting, considering that was the final score of on the biggest wins in the Snyder era (KSU 29 -NU 28, 2000), but Brandon Archer decided it was better to be safe than sorry, picking off a pass and returning it for the final score of the game with just under one minute left.

The players took their customary lap around the field, shaking hands with fans, as they always do after the final game, but then also stuck around for Snyder's post-game speech. Listening to their leader, many with tears welling in their eyes, the players then gave Snyder a hero's exit. Nelson and senior Jeromey Clary carried Snyder to the locker room atop their shoulders.

Coach did his part-

As he does with most everything, Snyder approached the day with humble graciousness. He paused to allow students to chant his name before beginning his post-game address, all the while knowing he would prefer to not be remembered. He waved and blew kisses to the fans, knowing the true importance of this team to all of them. He explained the reasoning behind Bill Snyder Family Stadium, letting the fans know that they are included in his family, and that it was their stadium as much as his.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Snyder allowed himself to be recognized. All familiar with K-State football know Snyder would prefer to remain nameless when it comes to taking credit or receiving accolades. With all he's done for the program, and the reactions of some fans towards the news of his retirement, Snyder connected with the fans. When he exited the field, he left just as so many fans have pictured him throughout the years: head and shoulders above everyone else.

It is just one man's opinion, but Snyder's send off seemed perfect. So, from one family member to others, thank you! Thank you, fans! Thank you, athletic department! Thank you, players! But, most importantly, thank you Coach Snyder!

Notes:

Huddle? Who needs a huddle? Showing a bit of slyness in the finale, K-State opened the game running a no-huddle offense. The Cats ran a two-receiver set, with Jordy Nelson and Davin Dennis. Victor Mann alternated between fullback and tight end, Thomas Clayton manned the halfback spot, and Rashaad Norwood played tight end. The Cats ran the offense with reasonable success, getting in range for a field goal on the first drive, and setting up the Wildcats first score on the second.

Temple finally in Manhattan
Tony Temple, a former prep star in Kansas City and back whom the Wildcats were in a tight recruiting battle for, made his Manhattan debut, returning kicks and seeing time as a second string running back for the Tigers. He totaled X yards.

Watts injured
Marcus Watts was escorted off the field in an ambulance in the first quarter with a hip injury.

Schwerdt still the man
After kicking the potentially big field goal for the Wildcats against Nebraska last week, sophomore Tim Schwerdt remained K-State's kicker for field goals and extra points. He missed his only field goal attempt, but was successful on all four of his extra points. Junior Jeff Snodgrass was still booting the ball on kickoffs.


Purple Pride Top Stories