October 14, 2007

Prince's Wildcats battle to needed win

A week after falling to rival Kansas, the Kansas State Wildcats (4-2, 2-1) entered Saturday night's match up with the Colorado Buffaloes (4-3, 2-1) with one mission: A win at all costs. "We basically told the players that this was a hill that we had to be willing to die on," Coach Ron Prince said. "We just said we were going to dig in and our season might hinge on this game."

The Wildcats achieved their goal with a 47-20 victory over the Buffaloes at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and they did so with two things that were largely absent in the loss to Kansas -- a productive rushing attack and a defense able close the door on an opponent.

Attempts earlier in the game to disrupt the chemistry of the Buffaloes' offensive attack fell short, and as a result, Colorado was still within 10 points of K-State with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Wildcats found the right formula in the late third and the fourth quarters. Following a Wildcat field goal and a Buffalo three-and-out, a bobble by Colorado punter Matthew DiLallo allowed Daniel Gonzalez time to break through the line and block the punt. Courtney Herndon scooped up the loose football for a Wildcat score, and a 40-20 lead.

"We can't win with an absence of (special teams) plays," Prince said. "In the games that we haven't won, we have not done much in those areas."

The blocked punt combined with a fourth-quarter interception by safety Chris Carney, his third in two games, and a strong stand in the red zone helped seal the victory for K-State. A Bryan Baldwin interception with 4:10 remaining disposed of the Buffaloes' last semblance of hope.

"We knew we had to shut them down at the end," Carney said. "They were killing us with the run all day, and that's something that our coaches did a great job on, changing the schemes that we had to do."

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