How does one respect a team that hasn't won a game since Sept. 29, and a team that has given up 41, 45, 36, 28 and 76 … that's 76 … points in the last five weeks?
How does one respect a defense that ranks dead last in Big 12 games in total defense (524.7), at the bottom in rush defense (264.5), and 11th in scoring defense (40.5)?
"I'm sure they'll play like cornered animals," said Kansas State's Ian Campbell when quizzed about the 1-5, 4-6 Nebraska Cornhuskers. He added, "I've played Nebraska before and know what kind of athletes they have. I'm not sure what's going on up there, but they have quality players."
With all the Nebraska talk being about having the worst season since 1961, not advancing into postseason play, and chatter about who the next coach might be, it'll be vital for the Wildcats to strike early, and often.
Nebraska has been out-scored 74-48 in the first quarters this season, and 112-78 in the second. On the flip side, K-State has out-pointed its opponents in the first stanza 89-31. The Wildcats need to make sure that trend continues.
And that's the only way coach Ron Prince is looking at matters.
He acknowledges that dreams of a Big 12 North title are out, but still on the line is postseason play and improving on last year's record of 7-6.
"We had a performance last week that was flat, but the only game we can do anything about is the one we have coming up," Prince said. "Right now we need to worry about getting (victory) No. 6."
While the Big Red numbers say otherwise, Prince said it's a Nebraska team that "has shown steady improvement." That's especially true with backup quarterback Joe Ganz taking control of the offense and throwing for 404 yards and four touchdowns last week, while the "D" was giving up the 76 points to Kansas.
It's an offense that also includes Maurice Purify, who's on NU's Top 10 all-time list in receptions and yardage, plus I-back Marion Lucky, whose 61 catches this year are a single-season Cornhusker record.
"They have weapons," said KSU safety Marcus Watts.
And, Nebraska has the 80,000-plus fans that sit in Memorial Stadium. Fans that will be sure to have some verbal jabs ready for K-State quarterback Josh Freeman, who initially committed to the Cornhuskers before signing with Prince's Wildcats.
"I couldn't care less what type of reception I get. I'm just going up there to play," Freeman said. "They're trying to win as many games as they can, just like we are. All of that other stuff happened a long time ago."