Big One But Not a Giant One

Kansas State goes mid-week in play this week playing at Louisville in a 7 p.m. Wednesday at Papa John's Stadium in Louisville, Ky. The "test" will be the Wildcats' first of the year after opening the year 2-0 against under-manned North Texas and Montana State.

A big win? Yes.

A make or break game to the 2008 season? No. Let's just call it a "statement" game to the season.

First, Kansas State needs to prove it can win on the road. In the two Ron Prince seasons, the Wildcats are just 2-8 in games away from home. That's one win at Colorado in 2006, and that dandy against No. 7 Texas last year.

K-State has games to come at Texas A&M, at Colorado, at Kansas and at Missouri, and there's no reason to believe that any of those can/will be won if the Purples can't beat the 1-1 Cardinals on Wednesday.

Second, the Wildcats must figure out how to muster some type of running game against the ground-stingy Cardinals.

The Wildcats will be going against a Louisville team that has allowed just 48 yards per game, and 1.7 ... that's 1.7 yard per attempt. Teams have scored just one ground TD against the Cardinals this year.

K-State will counter with a 1-2 attack of Keithen Valentine, who has totaled 104 yards, but only 39 of those on 12 carries came in the last outing against Montana State. W

hether it be with the runners, or the line, Valentine said, "Everybody is taking it personally. We need to get more yards and be a balanced team. Even though we have good reeivers and a great quarterback, we need a rushing game."

One thing to look for Wednesday is more passes in the flat aimed at Valentine. This year, running backs have caught just one pass all season.

A Wildcat win will likely send the team into Big 12 play at 4-0 and feeling positive approaching an October stretch of Texas Tech, at Texas A&M, at Colorado and Oklahoma.

A Wildcat win and there's reason to believe that others could follow in College Station and Boulder.

A Wildcat loss will leave the team, and its fans, in wonderment if they will be no more than mediocre for the third straight year when the Wildcats went a collective 2-8 on the road.

"My mindset is just that we're playing Louisville. It's not that we're going to Louisville," rationalized senior defensive end Ian Campbell. "That just happens to be the location of the game, but all that matters is that we're playing Louisville."

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