Friday, November 27, 2015

Winning helps, but Wildcats still have work to do

Sometimes no further explanation is needed. Sometimes it doesn’t need broken down and analyzed over and over again.

If there was any confusion on what’s motivating Kansas State with five games remaining in the football season, B.J. Finney straightened that out Tuesday the only way he knew how.

“Nobody likes to go out on Saturdays and keep losing,” the junior center said.

The Wildcats were winners again last Saturday, snapping their three-game losing skid with a 35-12 victory over West Virginia at home.

But there is much work to be done if K-State still hopes to play in a bowl game at season’s end. At 3-4 overall, K-State still needs to find three more wins in those final five games to become bowl eligible — three of which are at home.

“It was nice to get a win — good to be back in the win column,” Finney said. “It’s good to have this hard work pay off, but we still have a long way to go before we have any kind of relief.

“The relief hasn’t come yet because we’re not bowl eligible. We’ve been very fortunate these past three seasons to go to bowl games and have success. Right now, that’s what we’re stressing as leaders, that nothing is taken for granted, especially in this conference.”

But winning sure does make everyone feel a little better right? Perhapsthere’s a little more hop in the Wildcats’ step this week?

“Sure, I think it boosts morale,” Finney said. “But you have to keep working it and keep chipping away. The work is never really done.”

K-State will get another shot at building its bowl resume this Saturday when it hosts Iowa State at 2:30 p.m. — televised on Fox Sports 1 — at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

The Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) have won the last five in the series by only an average of seven points. No matter how good or bad either team has been in recent years, the game always seems to go down to the wire.

Like K-State, the Cyclones have had their share of struggles this season, losing their last four games, including a pair of blowout losses to Baylor (71-7) and then to Oklahoma State (58-27) this past weekend. The Cyclones, who are just 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the Big 12, have only beaten Tulsa, but played close games against Iowa, Northern Illinois, Texas and Texas Tech.

“If they get you on your heels, you can be in trouble,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “If you take that (Baylor game) out of the mix, they played an awfully good Iowa team… it’s a six-point ballgame. They lost to Texas, a one-point ballgame, and Texas Tech, which everyone is aware that they are a very good football team and that was a seven-point game.

“You just look at how they have played over the course of the year, there are some similarities there between us. We have not, in our own right, been good enough to win those ballgames that were there for the taking. They have had some struggles, but had the opportunities to win those ballgames, too. They could be looking at a far better record than what they have now.”


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