Cats Trample the Herd

The Kansas State Wildcats topped the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday, but was the talk of a staunch rivalry leading up to the game overblown? See what Ron Prince and his players had to say following the 23-7 victory.

Wildcats top hated rival? Not exactly...

Much of the top level brass on this Wildcat team had only heard of the see-saw battle between the Cats and the Herd. Many players are new enough to this team that they did not witness the battles that had come before but make no mistake, there is much respect on both sides of this game. And with the budding rivalry and the tradition from both schools on full display, a small battle played itself out Saturady afternoon and when the smoke cleared - The Cats had trampled the Herd.

"To start, I have a deep respect over the Marshall program," coach Ron Prince said following Saturday's victory, "going back to my playing days in 1991."

Deep respect? That does not exactly sound like a phrase that might be used to describe a tough rival.

Truth be told, the Wildcats were naturally pleased with their victory over the Thundering Herd, but found the hype of a rivalry that had developed between the two programs to be a bit overblown.

"Some people make more of it than what it is," wide receiver Jordy Nelson said. "We didn't go into it thinking that (it was a rivalry). We just wanted to get the 'W.'"

"It just felt like another game to me," safety Marcus Watts said. "I don't get too wrapped up in that rivalry stuff."

Despite the fact that both teams had taken turns celebrating on the opposing team's turf in the last two meetings, extra-curricular actions and bad blood between the two programs did not make the trip to Wagner Field.

"I just felt that this was a game where we needed to go beat (Marshall)," offensive guard Greg Wafford said. "They were going to come and try to take the win from us, but we took it and we won."

"You can't fall into anybody else's game-plan," defensive end Ian Campbell said. "You have to do things on your own."

The Wildcat defense did an outstanding job of doing its own thing on that side of the ball. K-State allowed just eight first downs and 142 total yards. With a pair of interceptions, a couple forced fumbles and a blocked punt for good measure, the Wildcat defense looked as strong as it has for a few seasons.

"I couldn't say enough positive things today about our defense," Prince said.

In that assessing the Wildcats' improving defense, Prince was dead on. After allowing 346 yards in the opener against I-AA Illinois, immediate concern surrounded the entire unit. In the two games since, the Wildcats have allowed a combined 342 yards.

With offensive powerhouse Louisville heading to Bill Snyder Family Stadium for an 11 a.m. kickoff next Saturday, the K-State defense will have to be a force if the Wildcats hope to pull the upset.

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