"Negative Momentum"

Kansas State's football program seems to be in the same mode as the Red, White and Blue. The Wildcats have hit a recession entering the mid-weeks to the season. Here's a look at the Wildcats by Mark Janssen, Senior Sports Writer of The Manhattan Mercury.

Kansas State football needs a rescue plan — a bailout bill, so to speak.

Not unexpectedly against the high-falutin offense of Texas Tech, Kansas State's defense demonstrated it was no match for the Red Raiders pass-and-catch circus Saturday at Bill Snyder Stadium.

The men from Lubbock found seams, creases and wide-open holes in the Wildcats' defense in scoring a 58-28 Big 12-opening victory.

The game left Kansas State with what football coach Ron Prince called, "Negative momentum. When things are going real well things are hurdles and not mountains, but now we have negative momentum going.

"You can't sit here today and say anything going on here was positive," said Prince of his 3-2 Wildcats, a team that has given up at least 500 yards in five of its last seven games dating back to last year.

K-State seemed to have stocks on the rise — JTF (Josh Tyler Freeman), LBII (Lamark Brown II), ICC (Ian Cade Campbell) — last week, but like the stock market did this week, only a few mini-spikes could be found in a plummeting Bear market.

One of the fears is future ticket foreclosures from fans that bought into the optimism Prince painted for the 2008 season.

One fan shouted at KSU President Jon Wefald as he walked up the ramp to the dressing room, "Who ever hired him should fire him."

Last week, several thousand fans left at halftime and didn't return even when K-State was defeating Louisiana-Lafayette. Saturday, 8,000 tickets were for sale before the game against the No. 7-ranked Red Raiders, and it was more of the same with even bigger numbers leaving the stadium at half time leaving it to look like it did in 1988.

"I don't know if they thought it was already over with or what," Campbell said. "It is what it is. I can't call them up and tell them to come back. I got other things to worry about than whether the fans will show up."

Of the state of K-State's fans, who numbered only around 15,000 at game's end, athletics director Bob Krause said, "Obviously, you don't like to have a blowout like this. It's one of those that you look at and say, 'OK, we'll regroup and keep going.' You can't cancel the season."

Of the halftime departures, Krause said he "didn't notice."

As for Prince's message to the KSU faithful, and the others as well, "Those folks who were there today and stayed, I thank them. It's a very challenging time for all of us. The only thing I can say is that we will fight and compete to get this turned around."

The fact is, however, while our world's economy is aimed at more recessional weeks, it appears the same for K-State's football season. K-State travels the next two weeks to Texas A&M and Colorado, followed by the trifecta of hosting No. 1 Oklahoma, and going on the road to No. 16 Kansas and No. 5 Missouri.

Prince has attempted to package a new rescue package for the program that has seen postseason play just once since 2003. The latest attempt was the short-term fix of massive junior college recruiting. More recently, moving Lamark Brown from receiver to running back, and Tysyn Hartman from third-team quarterback to a starting safety, were band-aids to fix problems.

In reality, in our real world, and in this 2008 Wildcat season, credit card/defensive defaults are rising; jobs/starting assignments are in limbo; and, manufacturing of goods/defensive plays appear to be at a semi-standstill.

As they say about the economy — "This is still an unfinished chapter." — the same can be said for this 2008 Wildcat season with an unknown, if not cloudy future.

"It wasn't our best effort, and we're going to demand better," said Prince of the afternoon of work. "We were beaten soundly on both sides. This is one of those deals if you're a competitor, you get back up and bounce back. You come back and keep going."


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