September 10, 2006

Wildcats prepare for Marshall by drilling Owls

Moments after he recounted the ways Kansas State slapped, stymied and sank Florida Atlantic 45-0 inside the rain-soaked Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday night, the usually carefree senior quarterback Dylan Meier grew noticeably serious in switching focus to the Wildcats' upcoming opponent: Marshall. He recalled how the Thundering Herd jumped on the Powercat at midfield in 2003. This time, Meier insisted, "We'll protect it."

"There's a vibe they've got at Marshall," he continued. "It's their strut. I'm not here to say any bulletin-board material. They have a strut and you have to respect that. We're building our strut. As we go further and further our confidence and strut is going to come along. It's going to be our strut versus their strut. It's going to be a battle."

After scoring a 24-23 win over Division I-AA Illinois State in the season opener, in which K-State in the debut of its pro-style system won for the first time since 1982 without scoring on offense, the Wildcats made an emphatic statement in their tune-up prior to facing Marshall in an 11:30 a.m. kickoff at home next Saturday.

Watch out. K-State might have discovered its strut just in time for the national television debut of the new-look Wildcats in a contest that will be shown by Fox Sports Net.

From the opening kickoff that Justin McKinney returned 88 yards for a touchdown to smash a 70-year-old school record, to methodical scoring drives of 83, 66 and 66 yards, and even with a 37-minute delay due to lightening between the first and second quarters, the Wildcats left no topic to question. By the time walk-on Terry Petrie capped the performance late in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown run on the first carry of his career, the Wildcats were on their way to their most dominant effort since a 45-0 shutout at Iowa State in 2003.

"We definitely made a statement," said junior cornerback Bryan Baldwin, who made his first interception in 2006.

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