What might have been and might yet be… a night in Aggieville

By Corene Brisendine

Aggieville was packed well before the 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday night in anticipation of the K-State/Oklahoma State football game. Those fans who had been unable to fit inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium gathered around tables filled with beer, chips and salsa, and popcorn. Notre Dame had just beaten Pittsburgh in triple overtime, leaving three other BCS contenders – Alabama, Oregon and K-State — trying to remain undefeated.

In the end, they all did, although Alabama also survived a late scare, rallying to beat LSU in the final minute. Until that moment, it appeared possible that K-State’s 44-30 victory over the Cowboys might thrust the Wildcats into contention for a historic No. 1 BCS ranking.

Notre Dame’s close scare alone — a triple overtime comeback win over the lightly regarded Panthers at home — had Wildcat fans denigrating the team that started the night ranked just behind the Wildcats in the BCS standings.

“Notre Dame doesn’t deserve the third spot,” Mike Dassel, Rose Hill resident in Manhattan visiting his daughter, Kasey. “It’s like a junior high playing a high school.”

Although Dassel was disappointed with Notre Dame’s win, he cheered along with everyone else in Aggieville throughout the first quarter, every time the Wildcats made a first down, field goal or touchdown. The second quarter was much like the first, with K-State dominating, but the crowed also cheered every time a pass was intercepted by the Wildcats. As Oklahoma State would sneak past blocks or complete passes, the bar crowd booed or chanted “KSU” to cheer on the team and boost spirits.

By half-time, the chants and cheers diminished as stools and seats cleared. The Wildcats led by 10 points, and most watching the game felt confident K-State would win.

Kelsey O’Hara, a K-State graduate visiting from Kansas City, said it looked like K-State was playing like…K-State.

“We come out kind of wacky and then we find our ground,” she said. “I think we are going to rock the second half.”

Marcus Habiger, a Manhattan resident and former K-State student, said he thought the offense was doing a great job, but despite the four interceptions the defense caught in the first half, he said the defense needed to “pick it up” in the second half.  Habiger was not alone in that opinion. Many others could not believe the number of points Oklahoma State had scored on K-State’s defense during the first half, but were confident that K-State would come back stronger in the second half to win the game.

While K-State battled it out with the Cowboys, Oregon beat USC, securing the second of the top four teams to remain undefeated. Since almost all of the Aggieville TVs were set to the K-State game, it was hardfor fans to follow the other games until that one ended. Minutes after K-State won, Louisiana State jumped ahead of Alabama . That’s when people inside and outside gathered around the big screens that had been flicked over to the Alabama game. Screams of joy and excitement echoed down Moro Street as LSU scored. But with only seconds left on the clock, Alabama reclaimed the lead and won 21-17, prompting more than a few four-letter words of frustration.

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