Kansas State will celebrate the careers of 22 seniors prior to kickoff on Saturday. But coming off consecutive road losses against teams below them in the North division standings, it could take the Wildcats' best outing of the season for them to leave in a jovial mood as No. 6 Missouri rides a four-game winning streak into Bill Snyder Family Stadium with aspirations of competing for the North title.
For the third straight week, K-State will seek the elusive sixth win that separates it from gaining bowl eligibility for a second time in as many years. With only a contest at Fresno State remaining after the weekend, the Wildcats' opportunities are limited and it could require winning both games for them to earn an invitation to a bowl game.
"We tell the players all the time there's no such thing as a bad bowl," K-State coach Ron Prince said. "If you can get into the postseason that's a great thing. That's one of our goals. Right now, finding some solutions and making sure players understand they can play well again is our No. 1 goal."
Iowa State earned its second win of the season with a 31-20 win against K-State and Nebraska last weekend issued a 76-31 thumping as the Wildcats surrendered their most points in a game since 1971. In the pair of losses the Wildcats gave up 1,050 total yards and were outscored 52-20 between the second and third quarters.
The Wildcats' first back-to-back losses were a world apart from the optimism that surrounded the program following the Big 12 opener as a 41-21 upset against then-No. 7 Texas in Austin lifted K-State to its first national ranking since 2004.
"You can't say when you beat Texas on the road that helps your program and then turn around and say when you lose to Nebraska on the road that doesn't hurt," said Prince, who is 2-5 against ranked teams. "Of course it does."
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